Book Review: Stars from the Borderless Sea

Book – Stars from the Borderless Sea

Author – Shalini Mullick

Genre- Light Fiction

Sometimes some chance encounters in life lead to pleasant surprises, and because they are unexpected, they bring greater joy than the everyday happenings. I had one such encounter the other day, which helped me make a new friend and discover a good read.

I walked into this new bookstore in town, which has become my favourite haunt since I discovered it. I had gone there to attend a book launch, and as luck would have it, I bumped into this lovely woman with an equally charming smile. She had also come for the book launch, and since we were both there for the same reason, we naturally gravitated towards each other and started talking. During the conversation, I realised that she was an author and had recently come out with her first book. I was naturally curious about her book and asked the bookstore attendant to show it to me. 

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The book’s cover seemed interesting, and when I read a few lines, I knew I had to pick it up as the book’s subject was right up my alley. The book contained short stories based on women and their lives. This subject is close to my heart, so I had to have the book. I found the title a tad long, but when I finished reading the book, I realised it was a well-thought-out title with a profound meaning.

The book consists of three stories about three women and their lives. The stories have contemporary themes, so the reader finds it easy to relate to them. The stories are about life, relationships and the complexities involved in them. The book has a realistic touch, and the reader can identify themselves with the protagonists.

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Geetika, Rachna and Mahima are women from amongst us with their struggles and challenges. Often life seems unfair and unjust, but all three fight it out and emerge winners. And one thing that binds them is that they believe in love. Not only that, they find it but not in a conventional way. The stories are not fairy tales; they are tales of courage, grit and determination. The issues women face are real and familiar to most of us. They are about misunderstandings in relationships, brushes with unfortunate circumstances, difficult spouses, societal pressures, responsibilities, emotions, and so much more. Yet, despite touching on the lows of life, the book has a positive feel, as all three women don’t let the challenges get the better of them.

What I loved about the book was the highly inspirational aspect. The stories, with their next-door appeal, want you to fight every kind of injustice. You can’t give up in life. You have to fight it out.

The stories also make you think and reflect upon life as we know it. Ultimately what is life? What is love? Who defines what is right or wrong for us?? The book gives you a lot of food for thought. 

Though the author touched upon issues like infidelity, there is no judgment and no questions. Instead, she narrates the story matter-of-factly and realistically. Shalini’s approach is honest and from the heart. The stories are captivating and hold your interest. That’s the reason why I finished reading the book in a day.

The language and characterisation are simple, which adds to the book’s appeal.

The book reiterates some life lessons. We are familiar with them, but sometimes we forget about them and need reminders.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Hard work always pays.

Love stories don’t always have happy endings.

Lovers don’t have to meet. 

Life is not always black and white; there are shades of grey, especially in relationships. 

There is no happy ever after in life.

One of the best parts of the book is; each story begins with a beautiful quote by Rumi, which touches the reader’s heart.

Despite being close to reality, the protagonists come across as traditional Indian women for whom life is bound by norms and practices. Despite all the challenges, it doesn’t occur to them to leave their husbands, which nowadays seems a bit unrealistic and impractical. This is especially true of Mahima, who could have and should have done that. She is a financially and emotionally independent woman and therefore had no reason to stay in the marriage. If she had been brave enough to have an affair, she could have been bold enough to leave her husband. But she doesn’t.

Overall the book is a good read for the urban Indian woman, many of whom could be facing similar situations. The book is sensitively written, and even the topic of infidelity has been handled with care and sensitivity. The women are strong, courageous and ambitious. The book clearly shows women’s ability to stand up to challenges and turn them around.  It is a quick read that I finished in one day, and I would give it a rating of 4/5.

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Hello! I’m Sangeeta Relan. Aside from being an educationist teaching at the university level for the last 28 years, I have been a corporate wife and a mother to two boys who have now flown the nest. I love cooking, singing, travelling and exploring new places.

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