Little Maryam by Hamid Baig - book review
"I love you so much, Maryam. I just needed to tell you, to let you know how much you mean to me." Saadiq said.
Maryam looked up shyly at him. "I love you too, Saadiq."
His heart swelled both with joy and a strange, peaceful calm.
And many occasions like the above appear in the novel by Hamid Baig, the debut novel by him as well, Little Maryam. The novel might be classified as a literary romance and simply a romance by some readers. However, the qualities which distinguish it from a general trend of fiction and a lot of romance written by the authors today, are many. Like the last line in the above extract, in spite of a gripping tension and thrill in the novel, there is a strange and peaceful balance which runs through the novel, right from the beginning to the end, offering the narrative a stability and a strength.
The two lovers: Little Maryam, as the title suggests, is about a girl Maryam and a boy Saadiq. In spite of the class difference between them, they grow up together and don't kill their love for each other even when they know the union is likely impossible. Maryam is rich and Saadiq is poor. Still, they disclose their love for each other and remain together until their fortune separates them when Saadiq is imprisoned because of a murder charge on him. And then, the novel takes a different turn.
Maryam's father marries her to someone else and Saadiq loses his father, the best-known gardener in Dehradun. The novel takes a further turn and we get a new Saadiq, the genius that he was meant to be. He reaches to the USA on a scholarship and decorates his fortune with his own hands. He moves on, having Maryam in his heart but letting himself loose to his fame and wealth, and wins even the highest civilian honour offered on our planet - The Nobel Prize for medical science.
For a twist and the tale's sake, the author has given a second chance to the love of Saadiq and on his very Nobel Prize speech day, he is called from India. Somebody, from a hospital, informs him that a woman has been brought to a hospital in a critical condition and her ring bears Saadiq's name on it. Alarmed and in dismay, Saadiq leaves the hall and gears up for a journey to India instantly. And what happens here? Will Saadiq and Maryam reunite? What happens to Maryam? What will happen to their relationship? How will they react when they meet almost after two decades?
An emotional romantic journey awaits the readers in the latter half of the novel. Very much unlike the contemporary romance, Hamid Baig has crafted his novel Little Maryam, if not in an entirely different, a very different way. His language and his plot have accompanied the idea of this sentimental romantic story very well. The intensity of love gets an altogether new language towards the conclusion of the novel and selflessness in love also gets a new definition.
Saadiq's character has been in the focus or rather central focus. He changes so many times in the novel but the integral part of him remains the same - his love and loyalty towards Maryam. Their relationship goes to different tunnels to finally see the light but in a very strange circumstance...
Though the Kindle version of the novel has almost 300 pages, you will, as a reader, never feel dodged and you can read the novel comfortably. The language in which Little Maryam is written is very much contemporary but maintains an ease and a reader-friendly set-up which will keep you in sync with the novel's progress.
Finally, I will surely say that all the romantic novel lovers must go through this novel for once. You will certainly appreciate the new kind of narrative and the overall concept of the story.
You can get a copy of the novel from the Amazon link below which opens in a new tab like always:
review by Amitesh for #IamReading