Generally, book reviews are quite easy; you either like the book or you don’t! With Tanuj Solanki’s Neon Noon, it’s not that simple. Though I managed to read it in a day and a half, it took me two whole weeks to mull over it and get this review done. How would I rate Neon Noon?… I still don’t know!
Neon Noon by Tanuj Solanki starts with a letter from (Ms.)S to (Mr.)T, both adrift in their own complex worlds. What brings them together is their shared love for writing. Both writers- one successful and one wanting to be successful; a casual online friendship and two drunken meaningless nights.
S’s ‘brief encounter’ with the suave T, leaves her wanting to know more about his inner complexities, the forbidden room and the European woman, whose photos adorn the wall of the forbidden room. Thus restarts the enigmatic exchange between them. T’s story, in response to S’s email, is a tale of lost love, inner struggle, unrelenting angst and his aimless quest for closure, which he finds in the ‘Neon’ streets of Pattaya, with a prostitute called Noon!
This debut novel, with its shades of darkness and despair, has a very urbane feel to it. There is no intricate plot to make you wonder what happens next. I don’t know why I kept reading! The story within the story, with the protagonist trying to write, made me empathise with him. There were times when the monotonic ramblings irritated, but as I journeyed along with T, it did give some form of semblance to his aimless wandering.
Would I recommend it?…Not for the story, but for the sophisticated, intense and experimental way of writing. He definitely is a new voice on the block and I look forward to reading more of his work.
Artika Aurora Bakshi
Artika Aurora Bakshi is the author of three well-acclaimed children’s books,My Little Sikh Handbook, My Little Sikh Handbook 2: Ardas, My Little Sikh Handbook: Travel Journal, and an anthology of stories, Hold On To Me. Her first story, set in Amritsar, during the pre-Partition period, All She Had Left, was published on Story Mirror.
She co-manages thegoodbookcorner.com, a manuscript help and book review site. Her passion for reading has led her to helping other writers with their manuscripts.
She comes from a family of lawyers and has a master’s degree in International Banking & Finance.
Currently based in Sri Lanka, she teaches Commerce and History on a part-time basis at an international school and enjoys being part of the literary scene in Sri Lanka. A regular at the Galle Literary Festival and other literary events in Sri Lanka, Artika’s articles and book reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror, Daily News, The Ceylon Chronicle, and various blogs, such as, talkingcranes.com, sikhchic.com, sikhnet.com.
She was actively involved with SAARC Women’s Association of Sri Lanka and was President of the Association in 2016.
An avid reader, Artika runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members.
Her quotes are featured under soul.nightingale on Instagram and on Soul Nightingale by Artika Aurora Bakshi on Facebook.
Artika is also working on her fourth children’s book in the My Little Sikh Handbook series and a second anthology of stories for adults.
You can reach Artika at firstname.lastname@example.org .