The Storyteller’s Secret: A Novel by Sejal Badani
“Permit me to be a vessel for the tales that are in your keeping. Entrust them to me, and I promise never again to dishonor them.”
Again I unknowingly picked another book with a female character who writes. I enjoyed the reading and was immersed in the story the whole time. It was an easy, enjoyable read. I finished this book in a week, reading it on Kindle on my phone during any downtime I had: waiting for Uber or my food to arrive. The usage of the Kindle app that week was quite high, I felt proud and productive!
the not so good
• I haven’t been to India but some of the reviews said the description of the country is far from reality which was a disappointment.
• Love between Stephen and Amisha developed rather suddenly for me as a reader since the letters between them were not in the book. So it felt like it came out of left field.
• It is not hard to guess how the story will unravel but once it does, it seems abrupt since it lacks a detailed description of how and why characters have developed the way they have.
• All women would feel Amisha’s struggle to a certain degree. It depicts social/cultural prejudices about what women should and not do at that time in rural India. It was heartbreaking to imagine all those bright, intelligent women who might have changed the world had instead sacrificed their dreams because they had no other way or were told there was no other possibility.
• The tragic yet beautiful love story of Stephen and Amisha made me want to write romances and think about how complicated love is.
• I found many sentences and descriptions delicate and beautiful.
• It was kindle unlimited, so it was basically free. And I mostly read it in my downtime but it sucked me right into the story, even in between playing ping-pong matches.
“Whatever is in their young hearts, I will tell them to write about. If their stories transplant them to faraway lands, I will encourage them to take the journey.” Amisha offered the unyielding woman a smile. “I will also advise that when they travel in their stories, they respect the people they meet and the values they hold. Their way of life is not for us to judge but our opportunity to learn.” She ignored the widening of the teacher’s eyes and ended with, “And to never forget that when you offer a hand of respect, you will in turn be welcomed.”
“Where do stories come from?” “From our minds,” a student called out. “From other stories we hear,” said another. “From our dreams.” It was a girl’s voice.
“A dream may be the only window to the unknown.” She fiddled with her paper. “Maybe to a different life.”
“To have the strength to accept all that life offers—good and bad.”
The warmth his touch elicited warred against the expectations ingrained within her.
When night fell, the girl sought out the shelter of the moon.
If I deem something important, I put the words on paper. They are safer to me than speaking words aloud.
Walking away was wisest, but for once she wanted to keep her own counsel.
“Our memories will always be a part of you.”
The part of me that wants to hold on to belief is overridden by the facts and logic.
“It is believed that meditative energy flows from the feet upward,” he says. “Only with bare feet can you feel God within you.”
“Ravi Dada says that if something is too perfect, God can’t let it go.”
I was frustrated with his response for days. Maybe I thought he didn’t care enough to work at it, or his inaction was a betrayal of my pain. No matter the reason, I put distance between us. Now, hearing about my grandmother’s sacrifice on the night of Karva Chauth, her willingness to show Stephen love with no guarantee of a future, I can’t help but think when we have nothing else, when there are no answers, faith is our greatest ally. Maybe for Patrick, it was the only answer he had to hold on to.
She knew he would give her anything—all she had to do was ask.
When I asked her the secret, she said to find peace in that moment, you have to cede control of life.