The Girl – Sonia Faleiro
A breezy, short tale of loneliness, love and stillness.
In Azul, village of the dead, nothing moves, neither the place, nor the inhabitants. Life is one ceaseless, lazy evening that goes on and comes, one day, to an abrupt end. Nobody knows about the village because the people who stay there never leave. It is one lost land in a secluded corner of Goa, where even the grocery in a store is aged, well past the expiry date.
In this village lives The Girl, and dies. The book begins with her funeral. Where the two men who loved her stand behind a tree and weep. Nobody is surprised at her suicide except the two. Sad, miserable, guilty. The girl is overly sentimental and takes love and longing to epic proportions. It is like one of those whims of adolescence where lopsided love seemed to be the end of the world. Where death seemed easier than living with that pain. In our adult lives, that have moved on, it is pleasant to visit The Girl who is still stuck there. In the place where your world revolved around love when it came and stopped completely when it left. The exaggeration is the beauty of her story. “I had given my heart so freely that I could have been an infant throwing my stuffed yellow duck at a stranger who passed my window,” she says.
For Luke, her lover, who’s a constant traveller, Azul is just one of the stops in an endless journey and their love ‘a souvenir from an exotic holiday’. He cannot deduce the fact that the girl is so madly in love with him that she’d consider ending her life when he is gone. And there’s Simon, the Girl’s greatest friend, who never confesses his love to her, although they both know it. Now it is only her diary, that she left behind, that gives a glimpse of her intense feelings, to her lovers as well as the readers.
The beautifully lyrical prose and haunting visual imagery make Faleiro’s debut a compelling read. It’s a short book, just a little over 100 pages, to be read one evening and reminisced for a few days to come.