In Search of The Lambs: Book delves deep into complexities of love, hope and peace

Prof Dr Shiv Sethi

Storytelling is a universal human activity that involves kaleidoscopic variations across time, culture, form, and personality. From prehistoric pictograms to current computer networks, people have cast their stories in countless ways: as verbal narrative in the oral, print, and electronic traditions; as music, dance, and graphic image; and as film, television, and theater productions. The fact cannot be refuted when an acclaimed psychologist Sigmund Freud remarks that human mind is a story making machine which pertinently throws light on the standpoint that man has an innate willingness and eagerness to weave and relate tales. Catering to his basic instincts, author Divyank Jain has brought forward one of finest collections in the genre of short stories with quite an engaging title “In Search of the Lambs and Other Stories”. The book  is indubitably a deeply profound journey which delves deep into the  complexities of love, hope and peace amid the tapestry of ordinary lives. 

Here the author can rightly be compared with the Mighty Storytellers from all ages who so elegantly wielded their pens to paint a slew of subtle emotion on the canvas. The book at hand which is a remarkable collection of ten deeply riveting stories  succeeds fully well in presenting the most vivjd and convincing  picture of humanity against the vibrant backdrop of India which rather provides an ample amount of opportunity even  to the  Western readers also to decipher the different dynamics of   the Eastern world.

Reflecting over the meanders of human mind, an Amrican Psychologist William James has aptly described in his book “The Principles of Psychology” that humans beings hanker for variety to derive pleasures and keep insipidity and ennui at bay. The mind of a man reaches its saturation point very soon with a single emotion and it hence starts craving for change, the very change which can only be experienced by tapping on to diversely varied rainbow of  emotions. Therefore, It will be absolutely correct to state that the author of this book fully understands the mechanics of human mind and hence introduces the subjects which offer the readers  a diverse range of narratives such as from a soldier navigating the Indian-Pakistani border to a couple facing the defining moment of their marriage through their dog’s separation anxiety. 

Each story has its own class and sheer elegance which warm the cockles of the readers’ hearts. The sincere endeavour of the raconteur yields fruit as he scintillatingly  succeeds in  exploring the human condition through characters grappling with love, loss, and critical decisions. The yard stick of measuring the success of a book can not afford to be lopsided.  Like diverse emotions about which we have talked above, there are several other elements which we have to take into consideration when are engaged in process of examining a work of literature. Here, the Touchstone Method invented by Mathew Arnold comes into play. Arnold’s concept of the Touchstone Method is a critical literary approach that he proposed in his book “Essays in Criticism”. Matthew Arnold, a renowned Victorian literary critic and poet, presented the Touchstone Method as a means to evaluate the quality and worth of a literary work. Similarly, when we apply the Touchstone to analyze and examine this book, we draw a few comparative analogies and deduce the conclusion the Divyank Jain has certainly got a sharp edge over many a modern day storyteller. When it comes to the idea of literary stylistic which is the hallmark of a quality literature, it will not be hyperbolic to state that Divyank has made himself fully familiar with the niceties and nuances of stylistics which is a branch of Linguistics that every writer must master. His writing style exudes enormous  simplicity, lucidity and profundity. 

Aristotle is of the opinion that plot is the soul of a narrative. According to Aristotle, plot is the most important element of a story or a narrative. It is what unites all of the components together and allows us to follow the future course of a  narrative. He defines plot as “the arrangement of incidents” within a story. Aristotle stresses that plots should be structured logically and in a manner that follows a beginning, middle, and end. Here as a literary critic, while flipping through the pages of this brilliant book, the fact can be aptly articulated that the author of this book has been a daft and skillful creator of highly gripping  plots. His plot construction is so engaging and engrossing that readers remain  completely riveted throughout all the narratives with rapt attention. There are no loose-ends hither and thither. All threads have been woven so well which  intensify the beauty and impact of all of the stories that  are essentially supported by well-cohesive plot structures. The Three unities “ The Unities  of Time, Place and Action” have also been properly adhered to by the author. 

If plot is the bones upon which the meat of your story hangs, then surely characters are the heart and soul. “A writer creates a character as a way to reveal and emphasize consciousness — to extend the pitch of human possibility,” as the novelist Don Delillo so perfectly put it. In quite a same fashion, the author of this collection of stories  has very consummately  and sensibly created all of his characters. It will be fully prudent to mention here that the author has, to a large extent, adhered to “ The Theory of Probability and Relatability” expounded by great Greek master Aristotle in his magnum opus work “Poetics”. The characters of Divyank are from us. It appears as if they walk with us shoulder to shoulder in our real world. If Art is not a mere blind imitation of ideas, it is rather reality recreated, It must be sagacious to remark that the author has commendably recreated this reality through this heart- touching stories which speak volumes about  his fecund imagination. With quite an excellent skillfulness, the writer transports the readers inside minds of his chief protagonists and the moment of catharsis is achieved to the utmost satisfaction of all. 

What makes this collection irresistibly charming is its candidness. The author seems to be influenced by the exponents of Art For Life’s Sake movement. He has painted a candid picture of the society with the craft of her mighty pen. At no juncture he appears to be buckling down under any societal pressure and thus does not hesitate to call spade a spade nay shovel.

David Crystal says language charged with meaning is literature. Here, a literary critic will fain conclude that language in which the author has conveyed the subtle essence of his stories is inexplicably impactful and meaningful. While deliberating in more specific details on the language aspect  one is again tempted to quote Mathew Arnold who is quite sanely  of the opinion that  sublime and subtle emotions can only be expressed satisfactorily in an equally sublime and subtle language. Somewhat akin is the thought process of John Milton. Indubitably, the author seems in an absolute agreement with Mathew Arnold as the language he chooses to unfold the various aspects of his greatly  sensitive stories  reveals the linguistic competence of its creator. The selection of morphological items, stylistics, and overall sentence formation is superbly splendiferous and bears testimony to the fact  that this book is indeed flawless  in every fashion . Shorn of all the complexities of a pedantic scholar, each line flows like a sounding cataract directly from the author’s heart. Certainly a must read for all the aficionados of literature!

Title:                     IN SEARCH OF THE LAMBS

Author:                 Divyank J.

Genre:                   Shortstories/Literary Fiction

Publisher:              Lighted Lake Press, Kansas, USA

Publication date :  17 Oct. 2023

Pages:                    130

ISBN-                    978-0-9969627-3-5

Price:                     Rs. 504/- Paperback and Rs. 149/- Kindle

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