Naked Beneath the Midnight Sun (Olympia, UK)
Author: Kamalini Natesan
Released on: 26 September, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Naked Beneath the Midnight Sun is a picturesque novel. It narrates the journey of Suchu, a young girl who grows into an adult during her stay in Norway, beautifully-written with vivid descriptions of the people, the places and emotions. The beauty of the book is in the comparison Suchu constantly makes, between India and Norway, be it the roads, the mornings and the way young people think and act. It takes us to Snow-filled pathways in Norway and also to simple noisy, chirpy mornings of an Indian household.
Suchu goes to study at Folmo Folk High School, Vestby, Norway. The relationship with her parents and housekeeper/confidante, Beenu is narrated to us through strong-emotional letters, which is something I loved about the book. The truthful letters I call them.
In Norway, she makes friends who become her family. The description of the students, their introduction gives us an insight about the heterogeneous crowd at an educational institution. The questions they ask her give her an insight about herself. Talking to them, sharing her stories with them, forces Suchu to discover herself. The decisions she takes are all hers, she is all grown up, but vulnerable. Sometimes she takes the wrong decisions, but has the confidence to face it. Her alter ego is something I enjoyed reading about and you must grab a copy immediately to discover yours.
The writing is woven into images, each character is deep, be it Christine, Suchu’s room-mate, Sam, Christine’s boyfriend, who Suchu felt drawn towards initially. Her friends, the Indians at Norway, are well-described. I particularly liked the visit Suchu made to the Indian family in the end. “After all, back in India, with all the help in the world, would they have been content?” Suchu had grown up and “she asked herself, what choices would be the right ones for her? There was no way she could foretell where it might lead.” The language is simple and it flows right from the author’s heart, it is real, this could be anybody’s thoughts.
This book is a must-read for all parents, students especially the ones wanting to study away from home. I suggest the book be discussed at the various literature and book-clubs at the educational institutions to help students understand themselves better. It acts a guide to parents who are caught up in the daily grind. Counsellors too must read this book; it offers a myriad of emotions.
I read Naked beneath the Midnight Sun twice and will go for another read soon. There is enough in the novel that talks about the kind of life one leads, and the choices one makes, inadvertently or consciously. I was thrilled that it ended well.
You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.in/Naked-Beneath-Midnight-Kamalini-Natesan/dp/1788303725
You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Beneath-Midnight-Kamalini-Natesan-ebook/dp/B07XYF4T5N