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The Cripple and His Talismans

“A loss of any kind is horrible. Not because it takes away, but because it makes you believe- in newspapers, in tomatoes, in empty whiskey bottles.”

Anosh Irani is an amazing writer, hailing from India, but based in Canada whose debut book, “The Cripple and His Talismans”, depicts from scratch the magically dark journey of loss and gain through the eyes of a crippled person, looking for the truth behind his missing arm. The book, according to any reader would be termed as being completely absurd and pointless but just like everything else, this pointlessness is likely to raise a lot of questions diversifying how unconventional a book and the imagination that contributed to its writing can be. Some of the sentences convince you to re-read them in order to grasp not just what the writer has in mind to convey to you, but also what you can make out of the completely bizarre situations presented in the book, like when he meets the woman who sells rainbows, or the coffin maker who makes caskets the size of a finger. You’ll find yourself adapting the moods and emotions of the protagonist, as he switches between them. Relating to all of the things he goes through, you’d feel your emotions amplifying, just like drinking liquor would do to any normal person. The man fails to attach himself to anything he finds around him. He thinks way more than just a little too much. He believes cockroaches are evil, like most of us already do. He doesn’t like the light most of the time, neither does he fancy darkness. Well, the writer wasn’t too big with words, but more importantly, he was brilliant with weaving through them a tale which makes no sense, and yet it does, all at the same time. The protagonist’s aggression seems to know no bound and he’s got scars from nowhere, especially the one shaped like a crescent. He grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family, which probably led him to become the man he is, and he has one horrible dream about them in the book, which would make you feel really uneasy. He apparently meets a giant who lives underwater, a homeless boy who rides through the rails, and many other such weirdly created creatures who all lead him to the master, Rakhu, who runs the underworld and knows the secret behind his missing arm, but all for a price.

This book goes far beyond the outlines of mere human behaviour, it lays out something which makes us realize how limited we know it, and how widely constructive can we be with the rightful use of it. It is both wise and calm, but, on the other hand, extremely outrageous and violent. And to top it all, it’s based in the city of Bombay, the city that leads nowhere and everywhere.


Words by Zoya Kakran // Photography by Brianna Sharma.

© 2015 Reef Magazine

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