An insightful meeting with seventy-three-year-old Ivan in Ukraine inspired Pramudith D. Rupasinghe to pen down this Biographical Historical Fiction named Bayan. The book is an exquisite amalgamation of history, human sentiments, music, and philosophy. In over seventy years, Ivan — the protagonist — has witnessed, suffered, and enjoyed numerous ebbs and flows of the circumstances. As a result, he holds not only an ocean of memories but also a treasure of wisdom and awe-inspiring experiences. Living a life of solitude, accompanied by only a bayan, he plays and sings melodies reminiscent of the days long gone. Then, in a turn of events, a stranger enters his house and stays as a guest with him for a few days. What begins as a cultural and philosophical monologue eventually turns into a walk down a memory lane that was too personal and too emotional.
“We are frightfully concerned with our own deaths, sometimes so much so that we forget the real purpose of our lives.” – Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.
If you do not pay enough heed to the profound wisdom of the book, then The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho is just a fiction written in a documentary style. We follow the life of Athena as told by people who knew her: her mother, her ex-husband, a lover journalist, an actress who despised her, her teacher, and others. We are made aware of the fact that Athena was murdered; however, the cause of murder is unknown. This could very well appear to be a murder mystery, but the plot quickly establishes that The Witch of Portobello would not fit into any conventional genre.
Sometimes, when I am deep in my thoughts, I wonder, did the Almighty wished for us, humans, to walk in the fog of uncertainty or he wished to challenge us to find our way out of this fog? My response varies from time to time. Occasionally, I feel that our creator knows us inside and…