Book Review: ‘Afternoon’ by Nidhi Dalmia

Emotional and antiquity combined with love and honesty in a story.

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Book Title: Afternoon
Author: Nidhi Dalmia
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-9357021111
Date Published: May 06, 2023
Price: INR 299

Afternoon by Nidhi Dalmia Book Cover

Book Review

Nestled within the vibrant and transformative landscape of the late 1960s, “Afternoon” by author Nidhi Dalmia transports readers to the enchanting locales of the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Kashmir, and Delhi. This enthralling novel intricately weaves a tale of love and self-discovery, entangling the destinies of three young souls whose lives intersect at different junctures. At its core, “Afternoon” is a poignant celebration of the profound changes that swept the world during that era, where cultural, sexual, and student revolutions resonated from the charming streets of Paris and the lively campus of Berkeley to the enigmatic lands of Warsaw, Tokyo, and Delhi. With delicate strokes, the book captures the essence of hope and idealism that permeated the 60s, leaving an indelible mark.

Published by Rupa Publications, this 240-page book captures the zeitgeist of an era. It reflects the evolution of human relationships, defying societal norms and embracing the many forms of love that were once considered taboo. In his second book, “Afternoon,” following the success of “Harp” in 2016, Nidhi Dalmia appeases the readers with his evocative storytelling that resonates deeply with the audience, as evidenced by the warm reception and glowing reviews garnered by the 400+ page epic previously. (Harp).

The story’s heart revolves around Rajiv, the protagonist, whose journey through life is characterized by profound connections and life-altering encounters. Love graces his life twice; each encounter uniquely captivating readers’ hearts. The first, with Ayesha, unfolds in a manner that readers connect with on a deeply personal level. Dalmia skillfully paints the growth of their chemistry and the blossoming of their bond with masterful strokes, rendering a matured beauty to their story.

The engaging narration, brimming with raw emotions, draws readers into the characters’ hearts, allowing them to empathize with every twist and turn of their fates. In the novel’s second part, Rajiv’s path crosses with Catherine, and the narrative shifts to explore the unyielding affection that binds them together, surmounting all obstacles that stand in their way. Their love knows no bounds, transcending cultures, and time zones, setting the stage for a profound cross-continental relationship that is brilliantly examined and conveyed.

Nidhi Dalmia’s writing style is characterized by its solidity and engaging nature. He possesses an innate ability to infuse even the smallest details with profound meaning, leading readers to interpret them as poignant reflections of life’s intricate tapestry. His portrayal of the various locales is an ode to his meticulous research and understanding of their unique aesthetics, seamlessly intertwining them with the narrative. Historical events are not merely forced into the tale’s framework but rather seamlessly blended, offering readers a parallel journey through the significant events of that era, all of which enrich the primary narrative.

Including poetry and song lyrics add a mesmerizing layer to the story, crafted with such delicacy and artistry that they become a natural extension of the character’s emotions and experiences. Moreover, “Afternoon” thoughtfully explores the complexities that arise when individuals from different cultures and time zones fall in love, delving into the challenges of long-distance relationships. The book’s appeal lies not only in its exploration of Indian culture but also in its universality, resonating with readers from diverse backgrounds who can relate to the intricacies of real-life incidents portrayed in the novel.

With an honest and emotionally charged approach, Nidhi Dalmia delivers a story that touches readers’ minds with its profound premise. The nuances that pepper the narrative, such as the exchange of books between the protagonists and their musical encounters, add an enchanting allure to the overall reading experience.

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Throughout the pages of “Afternoon,” a rich blend of characters plays pivotal roles in exploring the multifaceted themes woven into the story. As the tale unfolds, their potential contributions gradually come to light, leaving readers spellbound by the touching portrayal of human emotions. The novel evokes a poignant and nostalgic mood, mirroring the turbulent times of the 1960s. Nidhi Dalmia’s writing style is a symphony of symbolism and imagery that deepens the emotional resonance and imbues the book with profound meanings. Through metaphors, symbols, and vivid imagery, the author masterfully paints a vivid canvas of beauty, longing, and melancholy, endowing the story with layers of emotional depth.

For those who cherish stories that delve into the intricacies of love, emotions, and relationships, “Afternoon” stands as an exquisite choice. However, the book navigates mature themes with vivid exploration, prompting readers to approach it with an awareness of its depth.

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