By Apala Bhowmick
Compiled by Soniya Kapoor and brought out by Artson Publisher House, From the Closet of the Heart is a collection of letters and short stories that can be categorized under the broad themes of confessional and closure. They are deeply personal, evocative, and extremely emotional.
There are love letters that were never posted, missives to former best friends, touching letters to a deceased parent, and letters addressed to lovers not yet found. Apologies, too, are included in this array of correspondence gathered from various young writers across the globe.
The good part is, should the reader enjoy the style of the piece, she can follow up on the particular writer’s other works on the writer’s blog or Instagram page, the addresses of which are provided in the author bio of each author after their letter.
The messages hold the power to touch one deeply in some repressed point in one’s psyche, and unearth a great deal of emotion in the ones who have experienced that specific nature of personal trauma. While Priyanka Naik writes to her future partner, lovingly cataloguing the qualities she would like him to possess; Kajree Gautom addresses a letter of absolution to her past self in a large-hearted attempt at self-love; and Aastha Mehra writes a letter to her mother expressing gratitude for having brought her up with so much love and generosity that it helped her grow into a kind human being herself.
There are the dark ones too. Shivansh Sarin in his short story “A Night to Remember” describes the tale of a grisly murder fuelled by jealousy in love and the consequent suicide of the murderer; Deepankshi Shah in “Two Voices, One Soul” describes how a young girl loses both her eyes in an accident and her best friend decides to donate her own eyes for the purpose of helping the person she cares deeply for, and in “Thunder” Jim Rhyne provides a painful account of taking the decision to put a beloved pet down and watching the process and recovering from it.
The book is a wonderful, light, fluffy read. It is full of beautiful prose and surprise endings. It is heartfelt and compassionate – an excellent collection of pieces dug up from the depths of the writers’ hearts (like cleaning out your closet) after years of experience, trauma, and the pain of carrying the burden of unfinished history.
The reviewer is currently pursuing her masters in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is a poet and a writer, and has published in places like 3Elements Review and The Light Ekphrastic Literary Journal. She is also the editor of correspondence at the Coldnoon Journal which is published from India.