Sunday, July 06, 2014

Halfway Up The Mountain - Review

Maya hails from a village and belongs to a traditional family. Although she comes across as a simple girl, Maya fights adversities and many-a-heartbreak with conviction and an unassuming courage. The men in her life that she gets the closest to abandon her but she lives through all these trying times as an independent, free and successful human being. What strikes the most about her is the humane side and how she manages to live in a society which doesn't appreciate the integrity of single independent women. While unraveling the story of Maya, the author subtly brings out other elements like homosexuality, sexual politics, painting, poetry and music, and all this in an Indian context. Although we like the idea of a modern India, certain insensitive practices and mind-set still seem to prevail in our society and the book deals with them all in a brilliant story-telling elegance.

About the Author
Kiran Khalap is an Indian writer and author. He co-founded Chlorophyll Brand Consulting. His travel writing is publishing in Man’s World. Kiran Khalap won the Indo-UK Asian Age short story competition in the year 1995. He has also authored the book Two Pronouns and a Verb.

If there is a book that deserves to be rated alongside the modern day classics, then ‘Halfway Up The Mountain’ surely grabs that honor.

Kiran Khalap’s masterpiece is not just a story, nor another book on the shelf, but rather a conglomeration of feelings draped in the form of a paperback, revolving around the various questions encompassing life and death, love and relationship, tears and joy, and good and bad, attempting to answer the mysticism of the world, breathing tales that are inked not in syllables but which beat and resonate with the rhythm of the human heart.

‘Halfway Up The Mountain’ is the tale of Maya. Born in a village, Maya is raised in a conservative manner, learning the chores and the daily rituals of life. However, the loss of her father haunts her always, and she yearns for his missing love. She gets married to Ravindra, an artist, and encourages him to continue with his passion and try to shape his life with the aide of his colors. However, a misunderstanding on a storm and rain-infested night leads to her marriage life falling apart, and before she can absorb the severity of it all, she soon finds herself out of the place that she called home. With her new born child, Sharan (who Ravindra refuses to accept as his own), she trudges along the cross roads of life, braving the tides and finally emerging into a strength that overcomes all obstacles.

The first feature of the book that grabbed hold of my attention was its brilliant and innovative narration. I have read stories that follow the first and third person narrative style. However, here, the author resorts to an invisible narrator, who addresses ‘Maya’ as ‘you’, telling her story, and often throwing hints regarding her future. Who is the narrator then? Is it Destiny, or Time, or some other entity who silently watches our steps, walks with us, knows our stories, but we fail to identify it? Yes, this style of telling the story certainly added an ethereal charm to it, making it all the more attractive and intriguing.

The plot is neatly woven, and thanks to the beautiful story-line, there isn't a single dull moment in the book. The story at times seems real, and you are able to relate to the events. That makes reading a lot friendlier and easier, as the imagination guides you into the plot, and makes you witness the actions as one of the characters. The words are intricately laid, at times powerful, and on other occasions, sublime, perfectly swinging with the mood of the narration.

And what should I say about the characterization? Right from the protagonist, Maya, to her husband, Ravindra, her family and in-laws, her friends, her acquaintances, and her son, Sharan, the author has successfully inducted life and blood to each one of them. They hold stories of their own, walking on secrets bare-foot, hurt by thorns and pacified by hope. A common thread binds them all together – uncertainty. Yes, just like in real life, they too are not sure about their journey, but each one of them harbors a dream, a destination they wish to reach, resulting in a fresh tale of success and failure, falling at times and rising again.

‘Halfway Up The Mountain’ is one of the best novels I have come across in recent times. An heartfelt account, it traverses through your sensibilities, rendering you numb on various occasions, as you sail across its waves, an adventure that’s soothing to the soul. I wish this book had never ended. Maya and her story definitely have made a lasting impression on my mind, and heart.

Title: Halfway Up the Mountain
Authors: Kiran Khalap
Publisher: Amaryllis
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Literature, Contemporary Women
No. of Pages: 238
Price: Rs 295
My Rating: 5/5 

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to


  1. Amrit, been so long i visited your blog! And the change is commendable! Liking the new layout. And, I am going to be reading the novel soon! Great review. :)

  2. I could see that you enjoyed the book a lot...
    Heartfelt review...
    Eager to read it!!!!