Title: The Blue Book: A Writer’s Journal Author: Amitava Kumar
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Genre: Nonfiction, Diaries and Journals Pages: 176
I will say this at the onset of this review: This book definitely makes it to one of my top reads of this year, and we are only in February. The Blue Book by Amitava Kumar is a whole lot of heart, meditations on loss and living, and above all on the resilience of the human spirit, in several circumstances, the pandemic being one of them.
The Blue Book is a journal of the pandemic, it is an ode to the ones who have left us, it is a memoir, it is a journal of the passing of time, and how in all of this literature saves us, most of the time. It is also a collection of paintings and drawings – of life observed as it came to a standstill, and somehow did not.
Amitava Kumar’s musings aren’t just that – you could even call them contemplations, or profound thoughts but to me they were nothing but deeply personal and emotional. He speaks of his parents, their mortality, his mother’s passing away, his children, his friends, and how it all comes together for him as a writer.
The Blue Book is a book that makes you see things around you, in a more calm and balanced manner. It did that for me at least. It made me slow down in a sense and appreciate what I had and also what I did not. Kumar’s paintings say so much – they represent life, death (since he also started painting over the obits from the pandemic in NY Times), and a sense of life coming full circle in a strange way. Art brings forth the grief – the unsaid, the understated, and perhaps how to let go.