Title : Bohemia
Author : Veronika Carnaby
This is the debut novel of Veronika Carnaby and she chose 1960s as backdrop to portray the lives of a bunch of young adults in their twenties, who try to carve a path for themselves in order to satisfy their creative urge. This particular set of youngsters highly influenced by free-spiritedness of the beat generation confront many obstacles, challenges and experience some very pleasant times together while treading this path.
The story is set in England and is narrated by Valerie, a vivacious person who wants to create an identity for herself. Her association with Emm and some other like minded individuals takes her to various places from New York, Chicago to Boston. It is through her eyes and ears that the readers get a flavour of fine music and other forms of fine arts. The author has beautifully dealt with the description of music and how sometimes it becomes such a powerful tool to influence the lives of people who are passionate about it. It is commendable how the author has etched the character of Valerie who comes across an epitome of liberation and exuberance.
The narrative does give a feel of the depth of relationships in that period which seem to run much low on the emotional side. Valerie cared for her friends but not to that extent which could make her committed to a certain thing for any of them. The story becomes engaging at some points while there are some portions where it appears to be too scattered and jumpy. These are the parts which hinder the natural flow of the story and lessen the impact of the proceedings. The high points of the narration are the parts where the surroundings and people are meticulously described which work perfectly as inviting factor for the readers and a great way to make readers understand the essence of that period of time.
Usually I am open to all genres of books with an exception of suspense thrillers. But after reading Bohemia, I can say that is not my kind of book either. Though all the characters are meticulously carved by the author which I enjoyed reading about, yet, nobody could make an impact on me by the time I finished reading the book. There are overwhelmingly large number of characters with different personalities and there is too much of movement (literally) happening in the book which makes it hard to flow seamlessly with the storyline. It is not the book which stays with you for a long time and it never attempts to be one either.