Little Maryam is the debut novel by an emerging novelist based in New Delhi, Hamid Baig. The novel was launched on 26 January 2018 and since the launch, it has been, for a long time, on the list of Amazon bestsellers and has sold many copies. Today, I will be writing a review of this novel for the regular readers of this platform, Intellectual Reader. As our common practice is, we don’t get into the details of the story or the content of the book we review. We just try to get the essential things out from the piece of literature we review and present it to the readers with pros and cons (if there and significant enough to be told). So, here is my review of Little Maryam by Hamid Baig.
After the first reading, the novel will appear to be a romance and this is indeed a romance. However, this romance comes with a difference. In this novel, you will not find the regular and usual qualities of a contemporary Indian romance – frustrated guy and desperate girl or a corporate boy and a corporate secretary indulging in pre-marital or extra-marital romance. Little Maryam, as the name suggests, is a story of two kids, one in early teen and another even not ten, growing up together, understanding each other and finally disclosing their love to each other. Hamid, the author, has tried to portray a romance only in the latter phase of the novel when the two lovers meet each other in a very different circumstance.
The first phase of the novel might seem a little slower than the second phase because, in the first part of the novel, the author only tries to draw a psychological picture of ‘falling in love’. Saadiq, the boy and Maryam, the girl, are attracted to each other initially and then they start caring for each other out of compassion and then finally they realise this is something more than mere compassion or care – this is love and it has been disclosed in a beautiful manner in the novel.
From the psychological part of the first part, with the abrupt narration on a flight to India, the novel comes to the present and we meet an elder Saadiq and an elder Maryam – they both have grown old enough to face wrinkles on their faces and admit it. The second part moves a little faster because events take place – many and quickly. This will appeal to the readers as if they are reading a suspense novel with a romantic camouflage. The introduction of one character changes entire calculation – Salman. I will leave it there; you will certainly like the chill and thrill in the second phase of the novel.
The narrative part in Little Maryam is somehow very good and worthy. The novel, though a little longer, does not drag itself. Author has been successful in keeping the interest of the readers alive with his subtle use of characterisation and the art of storytelling. Things change when they must change and things remain the same which are meant to remain the same – most of the readers will find the novel up to their expectations.
On the seamy side, while every other thing seems real and viable, the larger than life character of Saadiq reminds us that we are reading a mere fiction – a novel which is made up. Indeed we are reading a novel but I think that more than necessary supremacy has been given to Saadiq – to me, it feels so and I would love to know the opinions of other readers. Nevertheless, the novel does not lose charm because of this overemphasis on a character. And Little Maryam surely remains a read that readers should experience.
You can get a copy of this book from the Amazon link below:
review by Abhishek for IR