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BOOK REVIEW: Flickering Flames -- An engrossing read
Rajnish Sharma's debut novel Flickering Flames --- about love, Lucknow and journalism -- seems to have struck the right chord with readers with all of them commenting that it hardly reads like a debut effort. Rather, they are finding it a truly professional work written by a pro, with most of them loving the subtle romance and humour.

National media reviewers too have commended this journalist-turned-author's work saying that the novel has a unique blend of humour and an understated depth of emotion interwoven with a sharp insight into the changing socio-economic milieu of the times we live in.

Central to the story are Aditya and Shenaz who are colleagues at a newly launched newspaper in the City of Nawabs, Lucknow. Besides dealing with their tumultuous relationship, the book also takes a close look at the changing facet of journalism in a post-liberalisation India.

Lucknow, in Rajnish's book, is as good as a kirdaar. The novel brings out the quintessential laidback character of the city, though interestingly, there is nothing laidback about the narrative. In fact, humour is the thread that runs through the book making it a light and easy read. The romance in the story is unusual in the sense that it proves that unstated love renders the 'I love you' syndrome superfluous.

Rajnish says he was confident that readers would find his book an engrossing and enjoyable read packed as it is with humour, where even serious issues are dealt with in a non-preachy manner.
In fact, what a reader commented best sums up Flickering Flames: FF has all the elements of life - comedy, tragedy, romance, not to forget office machinations.

Love in the city of Nawabs
The fleshing out of the story entrances and holds, the Mishras and the Rambalaaks and the Sids and Rameezes, the Joe Plumber Indians we have all met in our grossly similar lives. The love is not spoken of between the man and woman, but Aditya describes it all quite honestly. And beautifully, like the dum pukht love of black-and-white Bollywood.
---- The New Indian Express, New Delhi

An unusual love story
Rajnish Sharma's debut novel Flickering Flames, with Lucknow as its backdrop, reflects what it is - easy on the eyes and mind, unhurried in presentation, humorous in parts, at times intense, not a romantic potboiler in the sense that we normally understand it to be, but leaving the reader with a feeling that romance can also be understated, blooming at one point, ebbing away the next and suggestions of pulsating again at the end.
---- Mumbai Mirror, Mumbai

A unique blend
Flickering Flames is unique in that it has a blend of humour, an understated depth of emotion, besides a sharp insight into the socio-economic changes taking place.
---- The Times of India, New Delhi

A take on journalism
At the heart of 'Flickering Flames' is also a take on journalism, its constant pressures and moments of joy, the free parties, the professional jealousy, the editorial-management divide and the inevitable edit bloopers.
---- Indo-Asian News Service

Fun book
On the face of it, it is a fun book, but for the discerning readers, there are many layers to it.
---- HT City

Humour is the soul
The easygoing character of the city and the ample time it has on its hands come across through the characters and the unhurried pace of events, though there never is a dull moment, humour being the soul of the narrative.

Through the love story, the book reflects on a period of metamorphosis that was set off in the post-liberalisation era
----- The Pioneer, New Delhi

Meetha paan
Rajnish Sharma essays a gentle tale of an even gentler love in Flickering Flames… Warmth suffuses the book in the end, like a paan melting in the mouth.
---- The New Indian Express, New Delhi

Interview with Rajnish Sharma

Flickering Flame Blog

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