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20 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel is like a confessional/stream of consciousness diary of a young woman, a fashion model who lives alone and who records her thoughts, feelings and impressions over time. The book is divided into chapters and follow the seasons, but as we spend most of the time inside the head of the protagonist (although the story is written in the third person) sometimes, as we all do in our own minds, she might go back and forth in time, and other times, due to illness, substances and her state of mind, we don’t know if something she’s experiencing is happening at all in the real world. There are also fragments of the book told from the point of view of a young man she meets, whom she falls in love with, but these are not many.
Despite the beauty of the language, I found it a bit difficult to engage with the story (that is not really a story). Perhaps it is, as some reviewers have commented, partly the fact of not knowing the name of the main protagonist or her beloved. We get to know the name of Natasha, a friend who invites her to live with her, but we don’t know much about her. We don’t know where she is, know little about who she is, and her circumstances. I imagine it might be an attempt at universalizing the story, but most readers enjoy living other lives, even if completely different to theirs, rather than a very subjective but somewhat blank one.Read more ›
They spend time together. They come to learn more about themselves and life, to love and trust each other. The world looks different, feels different. So full of possibilities.
‘Leaves fell with the wind, sticking on the pavement—waiting there like a whisper.’
I’ll leave the story there: a summary won’t capture the nuances and may ruin a first read.
My own reactions to the novel are mixed. Much of the writing is beautiful, evocative and haunting, for example:
‘Dreams fill the emptiness inside us like the beginning of life.’
‘That night, a strange precognition came that filled her soul with a million stars.’
But occasional turns of phrase jerked me right out of the story:
‘With only her chest expressing to her in a whisper that it wanted him to know something about her.’
‘She could see tears rolling down her cheeks in a delayed movement.’
Vatsal Surti is a young author, and I understand he wrote this novel when he was aged twenty. While I liked the idea of this novel and the poetic form it takes, I believe that editing would make a good story even better.
Note: I was offered, and accepted, an electronic copy of this book for review purposes from Hybrid Texts via NetGalley
“20” is a story about a young model and an introspective writer. She almost hit him with her car, and after a few days they meet and start an affair. They both fell in love with each other and they are so much connected. They communicate, even without speaking, which is the ultimate sign for true love!
The story runs like a sort of diary of the young model. Even if the narration is not written in the first person, the reader truly gets to know all her thoughts and fears, all her actions within the day. The unnamed heroine is of 20 years old, and she goes into introspection doubting life as it is. She is also very insecure, something we can see in many of her discussions with her boyfriend.
Vatsal Surti, brings forward the thoughts and fears of the young adults of the days, in a more philosophical way. Yes, many of them are consumed by the material world we live in, however, there are others that are trying to understand bigger theories, like our existence, life and death. The writing style is so artistic. It is more of poetry than prose, which makes it so beautiful.
This is a lovely and promising debut!
Thank you to NetGalley & Hybrid Texts for an advance copy of this book.