Here’s my take on Visions of a Summer Past by Avishek Gupta.
In 1946, Prafulla Sen, a lawyer of Dhaka High Court, meets Asmani Bibi, a magical woman, who bestows a special power upon him. It changes Prafulla’s life forever and he is smitten by this intriguing lady. Soon, however, the partition of India compels him to shift to Kolkata. He never saw Asmani again. In 2016, USA,Rohit meets Celeste, a stranger who seems to know all about him. Intrigued, Rohit delves deeper, and the striking revelation blows his mind. Soon, they are in love; but work commitments compel Rohit to return to India. He starts getting visions of his past life and maintains a long-distance relationship with Celeste, until she goes missing one day. Will Rohit be able to find her back? Why is he getting those visions? How is their story intertwined with Prafulla and Asmani? To know all this and much more, read this magical tale of estranged soulmates.
The author, Avishek Gupta, has narrated two stories from two timelines of the same family in Visions of a Summer Past. Prafful Sen is a responsible family man who is always worried about his family and its well-being; not only in the present but in their future too. Later in the story, Asmani Bibi – a magical woman – gives Prafful some magical powers through which he can see his next birth as Rohit, who’d be born in the same family. There are several characters introduced along the way, like Celeste, which pose many curiosities. Will Prafful be satisfied with his family future and safety? Will Rohit and Celeste unite? Will Celeste Find her true love? Read the book to find everything and more.
Coming to the review, let me start with the cover of Visions of the Summer Past. The cover is simple and elegant, which makes it attractive as well as intriguing at first sight. The vocabulary used in the book is easy to understand. One doesn’t have to constantly look up for the words to understand the meaning. Writing style is up-to-mark.
The book is connectable for the people who have history with division of India and know the horrors of pre-independent India. Avishek Gupta has written that part really well. I had goosebumps at few places while reading. Prafful Sen’ story is emotional. I felt it is the epitome of the book. I enjoyed reading it more than the 2016 time-phase.
The bond between the family members, be it of Prafful with his father and son or Rohit with his parents, are something that show Indian values and make you love the characters a little more.
The ending of the book is perfect. I enjoyed the little Easter egg which Avishek Gupta has hidden in the end of the book. It made me smile.
The effort put in the book by Avishek Gupta is remarkable. The genre of the book is something other than fantasy. I enjoyed the book more than I expected.
When I was done with book I felt satisfied because I knew Prafful’s family was saved and they are doing better each day.
I would like to give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
I felt everything in the book was messed up at one point. The parallel time-phase made me a bit confused. I had to constantly turn pages because I felt that I missed something in last chapter. Prafful’s part of the story is better and on a heart-touching side but Rohit’s part of the story could had been narrated better.
Also, Visions of the Summer Past came with nearly were no surprises. I already knew about the whole story from blurb itself. The lack of suspense could not make it a page-turner. I already knew more than half of the story from blurb and prologue.
I was intrigued with the added-fantasy-part in the story and was really interested to read about the magical part but it ended sooner than expected. What I found really odd was how Rohit took all those things were normally, no disbelief, no questioning, no saying that it all was a scam to loot him or horror or hesitation when Celeste told him about that magic and rebirth stuff. For all, he is a well educated man of the 20th century and lack of all of these emotions from Rohit’s side in the book made the book a little less real for me.
Rohit Sen’s story looked rushed. He goes abroad, meets Celeste once or twice and is already in love with her. There love story isn’t connecting. It only made me turn pages.
I feel that Avishek Gupta did really well with 1946 part and put his 100% efforts in it to make a heart-touching story. However, I was not able to connect with Rohit and Celeste as I did with Prafful and his family.
To everyone who likes to read about family-bond and love or even fantasy, Visions of a Summer Past is for you. This book will leave you with more love and appreciation for your family. I would recommend it as a one time read. If you pick up this book you might not love it but you will not regret it either because ultimately it’s about family.
Ending the review with some beautiful lines from the book which are my favorite:
“I believe that even today, there are more people in this world with love in their hearts than hatred, and it is love which will give us the hope for a better tomorrow, the hope for staying alive in this wonderful world, even in the darkest of hours.”
See you all soon with my next review!
Thank you and regards,