Book Title: The Best of Halfway To Asphodel
Author: Vishvaraj Chauhan
Total Number of Pages: 214
Publication Date: 17 Jan 2018
Genre: Literature and Fiction / Philosophy
This book contains the major and best works of Vishvaraj Chauhan under the umbrella of his blog, ‘Halfway To Asphodel’ (www.halfwaytoasphodel.com). It consists of five sections – Contemplative Philosophy, Personal, Romance, Letters To Silence, and Poetry.
Contemplative Philosophy consists of articles that choose one topic and discuss it philosophically, in a way that is contemplated by the author’s mind.
Personal articles have a touch of intimacy and relation, which are extremely easy to relate to.
Romance contains essays about Chauhan’s idea of love, it’s associated despair and other feelings.
Letters To Silence are Chauhan’s letters addressed to silence, which make you consider Silence like never before.
The Poetry section are amateur poems, which are often of the rhyming variety.
REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY
The first thing which noticed about the book was its title. The title really intrigued me and that is one of the reason why I accepted to to review the book when the author first approached me.
Part of the title has been inspired from the final installment of Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of The Olympus Series, The Blood of Olympus as is mentioned by the author in Author’s Note. Asphodel is a place where the spirits keep wandering aimlessly because they had never been brave enough to take a stand in their lives and never raised their voice. So, with their unfulfilled wishes and hopes, these restless spirits keep wandering aimlessly.
The book is divided into five parts: Contemplative Philosophy, Personal, Romance, Letters to Silence and Poetry.
In the Contemplative Philosophy part, the author talks on various topics. Each chapter discusses a philosophy. He shares his own point of view on the philosophies and shares the way he had perceived them and the thoughts that had crossed his mind while thinking of them. In the first chapter, A Journey on The Edge of The Door, the author compares life to that of a train journey, an Indian Train Journey to be specific. When I think of it, what he had said is actually true. People always seek for upgradation from their current positions. They are never satisfied with what they have. We always want more. We want the next best thing to happen, we want to climb up the ladder, we want this, we want that. Our wishes and wants knows no boundaries. It’s like an endless cycle, it never seems to stop.
“To jump, to jolt, to chug, to halt, to move and to reach. That is a train journey and that, is life.”
The author talks of other such philosophies and provides his insight on them and offers his personal opinion.
The next part, that is Personal; in this part, the author gives us a glimpse into his personal life, shares his life experiences, the lessons he had learnt and the events which had occurred in his life. He talks about everything that has shaped him into the person he is today. There’s honesty in this part and he has put himself out to the world. The whole part isn’t about his own life. Some chapters just have that personal touch to it and makes it relatable. Some chapters were written in third person, so, I am not sure if he was talking about himself or about a character. That’s a mystery.
In the Romance part, the author discusses his thoughts about love, the repercussions associated with it and the desperation, anguish and pain that comes from heartbreak.
“I never knew the onset of a ‘relationship’, it just seemed that we unlocked each other – two complete souls finding their complement.”
He shares his part of the ‘love story’, the phases which he had undergone and the changes that had been brought about in him.
Letters to Silence is a part which is exactly what it sounds like. The author captures the silence through the letters he writes in his solitude. He says that silence had always been his companion and his teacher. In silence, we can contemplate our thoughts better and it often provides us with direction and helps us to understand better. Silence, for me has always been my companion. It had helped me to understand myself better.
In the Poetry section, the author have displayed his skills in playing with words which in turn has given rise to his poetic musings. People who have been following my blog would know by now that I love poetry. The poems are rhythmic and I love poems where the words rhyme. My favourite was A Tryst With Trust.
So, to sum up everything, I would say that The Best of Halfway to Asphodel is a compilation of the different philosophies, thoughts of the author, his experiences, the lessons he had been taught by life and most of all, his perception of life. He has a very good grip of language and it is evident in his word play. The narration throughout the book is very smooth and he has given words to his thoughts and had been successful in putting it to paper.
His maturity, his deep understanding of life seeps through the pages and has come to life in the very essence of his writing skills. He has been able to capture the thoughts and expressed them in such a beautiful manner. These thoughts, these musings, we all have them but we are not always capable of expressing them. This is what makes the book relatable. We know that such thoughts and philosophies exist and this book offers these thoughts in front of our eyes.
There were some dialogues which were in bold and then some in italics, so, I was a bit confused whether or not it was an implication to something or he just meant to write it that way.
MY FINAL VERDICT
This book is a mixture and one needs to have a deeper understanding of life to truly understand what this book talks about. If you just read it for the sake of reading, I don’t think you’ll be able to resonate with the words the author has spoken about. One needs to have patience and yes, you need to like philosophy to enjoy this book. If you’re not such a person this might not pique your interest but it sure did mine because I am fascinated with philosophy and literary fiction.
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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