Probably the only book I have read after Shakespeare (long time back) which has a story written with an intent of to be a play on stage. Or at least that’s what I thought of. The whole time I was reading this book jumping from timeline to timeline, it felt like a potpourri of dramatics in it. The plot, soliloquy, Exposition, a climax, characterisation etc. Read the following review of Irina’s Eye to know more.
Irina’s Eye by H W Freedman Review
Genre : Fiction , Drama ,
There are two story lines in the book. The one is the narration during the times of post world war 2. And the other is 20 years ahead of the WWII. I really liked how the author has switched between two timelines after every chapter, which is not a very new thing for any author but it’s mostly irritating at times. But here it seemed quite apt as the author wanted to present the impact of the state of affairs in the past on the protagonist that shaped his future.
Irina’s Eye story revolves around a Czech guy Vaclav and the love of his life Irina who is a jewish girl. They try to escape Czechoslovakia’s communist regime, but in the attempt Irina get’s shot during a shootout. In this unlikely turn of event the eye of Irina falls into his hand, which he clenches and runs. Leaving Irina there in that condition made him filled with guilt through out his remaining life. The girl whom he loved. The girl who has given him the first taste of sex. The girl he could never love after that fateful night.
The character of Vaclav is shown as a passionate and realistic. His thoughts are clear. But is shown as an extreme sex addict. Some might take that as a weird and psychotic behaviour. But here there is a complex twist. Every time he has sex he with any other woman, he imagines having sex with Irina, and yes wait for it, he sees Irina’s eye in his hand (Imagined) awaken which elevated his sexual experience. He considered that as his physical and spiritual awakening. I feel that reason he imagined something like this was because Irina’s was her first love and the girl he could not save, and by this he was able to keep her alive (even in this form).
The narration is very smooth and addictive”ly” appealing. The depth in the character, not just of Vaclav, but also of Irina, Sara and Lenka (His mother) is pretty intense. There are few occasions where the protagonist describes his passion for theatre, for his sexual intent, for his thoughts on religion and his beliefs and few other instances, which really shows the spirit of writing. It was intense and had a great depth which was the best part of this novel.
Recommended to :
I would specially recommend this book to everybody who is a fan of classics. Also to someone looking for a good story with a mix of some supernatural fill.