The Mystery Mountains by Aurijit Ganguli is a mysterious book, different from the common murder mystery novels. It is not a murder mystery, first of all. And secondly, it is a book that is fiction from its face, but its core contains the elements of a non-fiction book. Why did I say so? To present a detailed and authentic version, authors of non-fiction books go over the selected subjects with a fine-tooth comb before they write and publish their books. The theme demands so. However, do you know any author who does painstaking research for a fictional work? I guess the name of Ashwin Sanghi should come to your mind if you read Indian English fiction regularly! However, make room for one more name in this category of authors from India, Aurijit Ganguli. He has done quality research before his first book came, The Shambala Sutras. He has done the same before his second, the most recent, publication – The Mystery Mountains. Though the comparison between Ashwin Sanghi and Aurijit Ganguli might appear a bit bland to many who observe Indian English fiction, you should read Aurijit’s novels first. You will, then, surely agree with the enthusiasm.
The book has four prominent characters who drive the story and make it move forward at a steady pace to the end. The author has given them vivid backgrounds. Lisa is a chef, Arjun is a botanist and Marcos and Miguel are anthropologists and archaeologist. Where Arjun and Lisa are in their thirties, Miguel is a retired professor and Marcos happened to be his younger brother and still working with the University of Sydney, Australia. Each of them is thorough in their disciplines and together they make a perfect team to resolve a mystery designed for them. This vividity of characters brings distinct perspectives throughout the story. It is more like a movie where oddly paired characters are put together by the director and scriptwriters to offer the audience something new, different and entertaining. And, eventually, this combination of characters breaks the monotony that might create a hurdle in your exciting journey. I am sure, it wouldn’t be difficult for you to get along with Lisa, Arjuna, Miguel and Marcos as they are simple, knowledgeable and goal-oriented like many of us.
It is not one or two things in the novel that make it exciting. Aurijit Ganguli has discussed many things in this book that are usually uncommon because of lack of attention. I am glad that the author has genuinely thought about them and presented them before for us. You won’t be prying to know what happens with a character or two at the end like you might have done while reading contemporary thriller fiction. Here, The Mystery Mountains offers the readers a chance to know the antediluvian tribe living in the distant landscape, far from the city life. The novel also provides the readers with an opportunity to think about our existence from a few different perspectives that we could seldom have worked out on our own… well, that is why the world needs novelists from time to time! The storyline takes the readers to meet ‘Uros or Uru’ from the region of Lake Titicaca near Puno. Marcos and Miguel are descendants of this tribe. As we move in the story, the author has introduced some different and unique species of plants (at least I have heard about them for the first time) to give it an angle of Botany as Arjun is a botanist. The further layers of the novel reveal the Neanderthals, an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans. Besides this, it talks about people with higher consciousness and Vaman Avtaar of Lord Vishnu. The book also draws the lines of connection between Indian history, mythology, and religious beliefs with the same in other parts of the world. With this, the author has involved the spiritual perspectives in the book in a manner that’s not conventional. Last but not the least, anthropology and archaeology are at the centre of the storyline.
Lastly, The Mystery Mountains draws its inspiration from high values of Mythology, Theology and Ecology. The author’s writing style, composition and narration style take a rather classical approach in describing every possible detail. The language is simple, coupled with a writing style that every reader can understand and enjoy. He believes readers should not only connect with the characters but with the context and content too. Although simple in style, the intriguing plot and sub-plots of the novel challenge readers to figure out ‘what it is’ and ‘how it is, using the clues the author drops in frequently before the story ends.
Moreover, the book tries not only to engage readers with the help of an intriguing story but also to connect them to the times they could not live in the past. Aurijit offers the readers a tour into the past through this book. It is amazingly awesome. I will recommend this book to the readers who seriously want to enjoy an excellent fiction book that offers entertainment and information together.
You can get a copy of this novel from Amazon India by clicking the link below.
Review by Devendra for The Book Blog