Book Review: Anya’s Lyric By Nikhil Kumar


 “I was born because of one man’s inability to read.”

The starting line of Nikhil Kumar’s fourth publication, Anya’s Lyric, somehow, was able to send me a vibe that this book is going to be unusual. And, when I finished the whole of 169 pages in one go, my belief on my intuition was once more firmly reinstated.

Anya (meaning ‘different’) is the saga of a girl who is destined to be different from the day of her birth. Born on the 29th of February, she appears to have followed a stringent routine in a different way. The routine she hates most, the routine her father, the man with the one arm, follows and makes her succumb to it.

Anya is not only different, she is ‘special’. She is that kind of ‘special’ a part of the society still makes fun of, schools arrange extra classes, and who suffers a silent agony failing the ability to synchronise thoughts with their verbal outcome.

So, when Anya’s father hits her, she wants to say,I hate you”, but ends up humming a tune she had picked up from some television show and, cries profusely. Nikhil has depicted the helplessness, the psychological turmoil of such children impeccably. The reader can almost feel the palpable anguish of the retarded brain.

Minimalist Narrative Technique

From the very beginning of the story, Nikhil has created an atmosphere that emanates a bleak, dark air. Even when the girl with a ‘mole on her left cheek’ makes love with her boyfriend, this heavy air hovers around. Nikhil’s narrative style has made this apprehension possible. A minimalist narrative technique has helped him to achieve this tension and suspense. The story is in no way a thriller, but you won’t be able to put it down till you reach the last page. Equanimity of situations, most ordinary characters, deadpan narrative and impassive, recalcitrant narrators together have done the magic.

The rape scene goes like this,

 “on the far room on the right of a long corridor, the man who smelled like milk just finished raping a forgotten thirteen-year-old girl who wore braces on her teeth.”

Nothing more has been said and the ‘less’ speaks a volume. It says how insignificant the life of the little girl is and, that the man has done this abominable act many times before!

Stories Inside The Story

None of the characters in the story has a name. It’s specifically Anya’s lyric and only she has been given the honour to have a name of her own. Still, the characters become successful to paint myriad of pictures in the reader’s mind. They are nameless, but not faceless. They have their own typical characteristics.

Several plots and characters appear in the first few chapters with no apparent connection between them. Each of them has their own tale and, the narrator keeps on telling the stories from a neutral point of view. The characters, of course, are pre-destined to intersect each other’s lives and evidently the pieces of the puzzle fall somewhat in places.

Only Anya tells her story in the first person. As the protagonist, she enjoys this virtue. Her haggard life with the father she hates tremendously, her feelings as she experiences her first orgasm, her apparently fragile yet indomitable spirit- Nikhil has delved deep under the girl’s soul.


There are graphical descriptions in a few places making the reader visualize the scene.

 “A stray plastic bag floated up like a low budget ghost and flew towards her, carried forward by an invisible gust of imperceptible wind. It wrapped itself around her ankles and stayed there until she kicked it away.”

A simple, mundane scene has come alive. I find this quality pretty absorbing in any writing.

However, there are a couple of loose knots in the end as the story ends a bit nimbly. Anya finds her composure suddenly. But, perhaps, it’s the survival instinct that dawns upon her when she needs it most. Her disjointed, hazy, mind asks the question, “Why am I so different from other people?” and, the answer comes as, “Because you’re the only one who wants to know the answer to that question,”

We all are unique and different in our own ways. But, no, we never ask this question. Perhaps, that is Anya’s realization, her life, her lyric.

Anya’s Lyric was a riveting read for me. I recommend it to all who like to experience a ‘different’ kind of writing and want to have a relief from the mushy love stories.

From my side, it’s, 4/5

About the Author: 

Nikhil Kumar is a 32-year old author, living and working in Bangalore, India. He has written four books so far. His first book was “Untitled,” a collection of twenty-five short stories published in 2006. This was followed by “Simran” in 2009, “Where Are My Pants?” in 2015 and, his latest book, “Anya’s Lyric” in 2016.
Nikhil has been writing from an early age and has maintained a blog called MirrorCracked since 2001. MirrorCracked was adjudged “The Planet’s Funniest Blog” in the year 2007. 
Nikhil is a biotechnologist by education. He has a Masters’ degree in Genetic Engineering. He currently works for an advertising agency in Bangalore a digital marketing professional.


Buy Links:

Meet the Author: Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter

44 responses to “Book Review: Anya’s Lyric By Nikhil Kumar

    • A few other friends have asked me to, too…as on writing a book. I’m a lackadaisical sort of a person😦 Neither I’ve any idea about the publication process…

      On that note, I’ve downloaded your book😀 Will start reading it soon…🙂

  1. Loved the review bestie…but it churned some tension in me, something that had me go weak in my knees…the lines quoted or the way you brought out the dark…loved it.

  2. That was a good review. It gave me a clear idea of the tone, style and (in a very broad sense), the story of the book. It sounds like an interesting read. 🙂

  3. How interesting, to have a such a detached and neutral narrator is an intriguing take. It’s always a joy to see stories with no connection come together.

  4. Hello Maniparna! You write wonderful reviews. I have just started reading this book. So, I am reading a good book🙂

    Don’t know how to get in touch, so writing here. I have just published my first book, ‘We Will Meet Again…’ It’s a mature love story, a light read. I was wondering if you would like to read and review my book.

    Here’s the blurb.

    Thank you!
    Best wishes…

  5. Minimalism was a distinctive trait of the novels and plays of Beckett. I like the form and should add this book to my reading list. Thanks for presenting a great review.

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