Book Review: If We Last: After Crossing a Light-Year

If We Last: After Crossing a Light-Year by Ishita Banik
126 pages. Educreation Publishing. June 18, 2019. Services LLC

Presented as a romance / thriller fiction novel, If We Last: After Crossing a Light-Year is a story about a few upper-middle-class, good-looking twenty-year-olds set in the present day in various Indian cities.

Avipsa is a single and beautiful girl living in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) who makes plans after college and wants to get placed in a good company. On a trip to Mumbai she meets Reyansh, a young engineer whose girlfriend has just left him. Reyansh can't stand loneliness, he blames himself for his behavior and drinks to try to forget. As regards Avipsa's past life, we only know that there was something horrible that she managed to overcome. However, a series of incidents, such as emails and calls that she starts receiving from an unknown number, threaten to destabilize her again. The story of Avipsa and Reyansh is intertwined with those of supporting characters who are too looking for happiness and love, and trying to get over heartbreak.

This novel can meet the expectations of romance book lovers. The strange incidents that happen to Avipsa are an attempt to introduce thriller elements into the plot, but I wouldn't say this is a thriller fiction book at all. It gains fluidity and freshness when talking about feelings, with just a poetic hint. In fact, this style is close to the protagonists and easily takes readers to their way of seeing things; to those “young souls of dreams, joy, sorrow, confusion, hope and life”. In short chapters, the author switches between characters and tells the story from their different points of view. The writing is easy, but it could be more concise, and the mentioned qualities don't spare the novel from being repetitive and naive.

The main problem is that the book hasn't been edited. Although the spelling is correct, there are several grammar mistakes and countless typos. Thus the whole thing gives a poor impression. There are many copyeditors out there who can solve this issue in a new edition of the book - it's that easy. And this reminds me of a necessary spoiler: we only get to know a part of the story, as it is “to be continued”. Will we know in part two why If We Last has the bombastic subtitle After Crossing a Light-Year? Let's hope that the follow up will be at least a well cared edition. The author, Ishita Banik, has good qualities, and deserves this new chance.

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