The concept behind Bhat’s We Of The Forsaken World is original and interesting. He imagines communities living on the periphery of global advancement, and how the people living within them have similar stories to tell even when it seems they live worlds apart.
Bhat’s writing is poetic and expansive. He has created four regions which are reminiscent of places the reader might know, without being caricatures of real cities. The stories are told from sixteen different perspectives and across all you can trace the complexities of the human condition: our desires and ravenous greed, our desperation for a better life, for things we believe we deserve, our capability for violence and tendency to act out of jealousy, and our aggression in the pursuit of our ambitions.
If you relinquish yourself to hearing stories almost in snippets, the book is enjoyable and I would consider it a study of the human condition. If you spend the entire time forcing yourself to see what links them, you will struggle to enjoy the lack of a climax and a resolution when you expect them. Bhat forces you to study yourself as you read and react to the myriad of voices he has constructed – your reaction says a lot about you.
I, for one, enjoyed it more when I read it to listen to the stories and the people from far off, far flung places telling them, than when I read it looking for answers about what will happen next and how it will end. Bhat has written an intrinsically human novel – there is no clear beginning or end, it goes beyond this, just as our own legacies stem from the mists of time and seemingly end abruptly or continue long after we are gone.
We Of The Forsaken World will make you think. But, I advise you do this at the end rather than attempt to do battle with the multiple levels these stories exist on, whilst you are reading it.