In the ‘kingdom of conflict’ when a 12-year-old carves out the ‘Kingdom of Dreams’ through her lucid imagination, it becomes a matter of overwhelm for a reader at the very outset of the read.
The courage of the little author Touyiba Binti Javaid in producing fiction fantasy is laudable. When many kids of her age struggle to set the sentences straight, Touyiba goes ahead her time in knitting an imaginary plot in her debut novella “Luna Spark and the Future Telling Clock” with a nice command of language.
The 129-page novella has 44 short chapters brewing with imaginary characters where humans are replaced by cats and all the characters are related to the central character and the narrator of the story, Luna Spark or Coco who’s also a cat. Coco lives in a city called Sparky kittens with her Uncle Fur, working in Kitty police, her sister Chubby and her brother Cloudy.
The story is set round a search for a stolen future-telling-clock, taking the reader and characters searching for the clock from one astonishing place to another.
Keeping the reader hooked in curiosity through the course of her 44 short chapters and with astounding brevity of sentences, the author doesn’t stray while strolling through her imaginary dream land. Each chapter unfolds a little surprise which makes her work engrossing enough in addition to the intelligent names she gives to her characters.
The book with its intelligent twists and turns also reflects the author’s knack for her developing sense of symbolism. In one of her chapters titled ‘The book worms land’, the author talks of robots working as shopkeepers, police, drivers and doctors while as she animates the books into walking and talking characters.
Amidst the growing culture of ‘middling café publishing’ in Kashmir where the standard of local literature is stooping low with random plots and basic structural inconsistencies, Touyiba’s work comes as a breakthrough, although there has been an unattended scope of more care on part of the publisher of the book. Surprisingly, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages has also missed out on sifting some silly grammatical errors through a very fine text. It only goes on to reveal the casual approach of other publishers in Kashmir while leaving the texts replete with mistakes.
In addition, a careful designing of the book’s cover would also have substantiated the inquisitiveness flowing through the chapters within the book.
Though there is a scope of adding more creative colors and surprises in the plot, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that the 12-year-old’s text does remind one of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in the Wonderland. The talking Rose with her enormous petals, the flying Fairy, the Mermaid, the Elves, the Unicorn with a colorful horn, the Fantasy-lake and many such surreal characters and settings lend diverse shades to the plot, rendering Luna Spark adept enough to be adapted into an animation movie for kids. Besides, the work could be added to the reading list of students in schools which would serve as a literary template for aspiring writers like Touyiba, the prodigious child of conflict, with wonderful potential.