A Thousand Dreams Within Me Softly Burn by Sahil Sood
Siddharth, a middle-aged school teacher, struggling with an unfinished manuscript, leads a solitary existence in a remote village in Shimla. Gautam, a twenty-two-year-old writer, burning with a desperate longing for romance, finds solace in Siddharth's old essay on Thumri and spends years in search of him. Phil, a young Jewish traveller from Missouri, beset by a difficult alliance with his Christian girlfriend in the face of orthodoxy, travels around the world and meets Siddharth at a cafe in Manali. The answer to their longings resides in Siddharth's letters and manuscript--the silent witnesses of the fate of two men and their love for each other. A Thousand Dreams Within Me Softly Burn explores the depths of love and the power of writing that helps the human soul triumph over loneliness, alienation, and shame. "Soul-searing. A Thousand Dreams Within Me Softly Burn epitomizes and celebrates love as the ultimate source of inspiration and passion, taking the reader on a poignant journey of healing through writing. Intricately structured with a non-linear narrative consisting of letters and memories, the book exemplifies true transformative storytelling. Read it to be enthralled, moved and inspired." - Erandi Palihakkara, Blogger, The Huffington Post "A deep and thoughtful work of literary fiction. A testament of love for the written word, and art in general. I enjoyed the storyline as it highlighted the author's commentary on classic novels while searching for meaning of self and human connection. Thought-provoking!" - J.M. Northup, author of The Wounded Warrior series
“A Thousand Dreams Within Me Softly Burn” is the first novel by Sahil Sood, a dear friend who gave me the privilege to read the pre-release version.
The book has a very unique structure. It includes essays, letters, and chapters—all woven together beautifully into a warm blanket. There are not many books about homosexual relationships in India. It’s the subject we try best to avoid and feel uncomfortable to talk about. And when we do talk at all, we try to psychoanalyze, rather normalize it. The book deals with it in a frank, sympathetic, and intimate style that is hard to find in contemporary Indian writing and is likely to win over many prejudiced mindsets.
For me, the highlight of the book is the well-thought-out essay, “Saaransh: A Voyage Through Literature and Cinema”, which talks about the search for self-identity and understanding human relationships through reading and viewing artistic representations--themes which find their way into the chapters that follow.
The writing is nuanced, and the stories of main characters are elegantly written, as they struggle to find the answers to their longings. It's a passionate love letter to literature and cinema, and life in general