"20 bodies seen lying on a street in a town near Kyiv"; "33 killed in a Russian rocket strike on a government building in Mykolaiv"; "Russian invasion has killed 153 children, injured 245 so far" — these are some of the news headlines we all have read recently.
Then there are the pictures of death, destruction and migration that have brought tears to the eyes of many around the world irrespective of their nationality. It has made the old relive the horrid memories of the World Wars, and as for the millennials, it has reminded them to not take peace for granted.
The war, meanwhile, has always provided fodder to the authors and many have gone on to script books (both fiction and non-fiction) around the same. Kurt Vonnegut Jr's 'Slaughterhouse-Five', Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind', Ernest Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', and Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner' are some of the popular ones based on wars.
Author Yash Tiwari's novella 'Blisters of the Battle' has joined this long list.
The Free Press Journal's Gaurav Kadam got an opportunity of reading it before it was published. Here is the Book Review:
'Blisters of the Battle' is a tale of two warring kingdoms Vijayabhoomi and Dakshraaj. On a fateful evening, armed men of Dakshraaj come knocking at the door of Vijayabhoomi, seeking revenge for the events that unfolded in the past. In no time, the onslaught commences and the commoners, as well as the royals, are killed.
At the centre of this novella is a family of five — the father, Ram Ratan, works at a nuclear power plant which is located at the far end of the city; the mother, Areema, is employed at the palace; then there are two young daughters Jayashree and Mithena and a bed-ridden grandmother.
As the bloodshed surges, they get separated and have to fight for their survival. With bombs being dropped from planes and the soldiers shooting at anyone randomly, will anyone from the family live to see another day or not forms the crux of Yash Tiwari's 'Blisters of the Battle'.
The 20-year-old author has portrayed the war with atmost precision. His attention to detail on the atrocities inflicted upon the commoners during the war is noteworthy. Also, it is not more than a 2-hour read. All in all, 'Blisters of the Battle' is a gripping and poignant tale on a topical subject with the potential for a prequel and a sequel.
Gaurav Kadam also had a freewheeling chat with the author after the book was published. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
The names of the characters in your novella are an amalgamation of Indian and Greek names. What was the idea behind this?
I wanted it to be a diverse book. I wanted it to be relatable to every single person across the world. These names add relatability and connectivity to the people who are well outside the Indian boundary. Secondly, I wanted it to sound unique.
The book does not provide much details about the conflict between the two kingdoms as you get to the war immediately. Could you explain the reason?
I intentionally did not elaborate more about why was the war happening. Actually, I had included it in the story earlier, but it was not possible to include it in a single novella as it would cram the narrative. So, the readers will have to wait for a sequel. I have the concept in my mind, but haven't started writing yet.
What research did you do before writing?
I researched a great deal about the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. I have analysed the World War I and II a great deal. I also read several stories about the trepidation that the commoners faced during the time.
Was the Russia-Ukraine war the reason behind publishing the book now?
I had actually written the book back in 2019 but wasn't willing to get it published. Lately, when these geopolitical conflicts came to the forefront, and I saw the sorrows and sufferings of the civilians, I decided to get it published.
How would you describe the book in one sentence?
A battle-torn country, a mass massacre, a plot for revenge, and a mystery thriller that takes place over the course of a single night.