March 24, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Book Review: All Those Who Wander by Kiran Manral

6 min read

Namrata reviews All Those Who Wander by Kiran Manral (Published by Amaryllis- an imprint of Manjul Publishing House, 2023) and calls it a captivating tale of yesterday, today and everything in between.

The entire premise of All Those Who Wander by Kiran Manral is based on What if? A pertinent question that haunts many of us, this book is the culmination of all the what-if scenarios we have ever imagined in our minds.

What if one could go back in time and change that? What if one could undo that action? What if one had responded differently, would the present be different? Manral takes all these questions and weaves a captivating tale around them to create All Those Who Wander.

Kiran Manral is an award-winning author. A prolific writer, her works across genres are engaging and captivating. She has dabbled in both fiction and nonfiction with equal elan. Published by Amaryllis (an imprint of Manjul Publishing House), All Those Who Wander is her latest sci-fi novel.

With an eye-catching emerald-green cover that has a girl peeping through some leaves and flowers, one cannot help but notice the crow on the cover (an important element in the story). The cover has a bit of everything – mystery, drama, fear, suspense, and tons of intrigue. Those mysterious eyes on the cover are inviting.  Such detailing is what piques a reader’s interest in the story.

The first and foremost thing to be noticed about Manral’s works are her strong female characters. They are independent, strong, and most importantly ones who face all the challenges that life throws at them with elegance. It is not that they do not have a soft side. They do, and one that can make a reader break into tears when they mourn or shed a tear for the shoulda-coulda. However, it is their grace that captivates a reader in the story from start to end, every single time.

Be it, Kamla Malik, from More Things in Heaven and Earth, Kay from The Kitty Party Murder, Rhea Khanna from All Aboard, Maya from Saving Maya, or Ana from All Those Who Wander, all these characters have one thing in common – their grit and determination. Their thoughts might be all muddled up and so might their actions. But they surely know their way out of the chaos created by their actions, willingly or unwillingly. Her characters are relatable and manage to leave a deep impression on the reader’s mind with their unique characteristics.

He thinks I’m a daayan. I should drink his blood.”

From all those wander by kiran manral

Manral’s writing at times sounds like a silent whisper that escapes one’s lips while on the threshold of anger and irritation. While at places it sounds like a loud guffaw, laughing at our quirks and eccentricities, looking at the world that is both shocked and bemused.

All Those Who Wander is the story of Ana who is at a different age each time we meet her in the book. The whole novel is a discovery of who really is Ana. The story is pacy akin to a whodunnit. Conversely, it is a drama cum coming-of-age novel. By the end of the novel, you have befriended Ana who held your hand at the start of the book like a friend and takes you through her life. As if to tell the reader, ‘See, my friend. This is what happened to me. This is how my life was.’

The way trauma has been dealt with, in the novel, is simply stupendous. There is sensitivity and empathy, with zero preaching.  While writing about trauma, dysfunctional families, and other such sensitive issues, the author mustn’t make it triggering for the reader. The aim should be to make others know about it in a way that they are comfortable talking about it. Manral aces that sensitivity magnificently.

Manral ‘s writing is a spectacle that can be felt at a deeper level in various ways.

Sample this sentence:

“And then Ana had been gone the next day, only to return now, in the night, at a time when the country was dealing with the loss of a prime minister, and rivers of blood flowing in retribution.”

From All Those Who Wander by Kiran Manral

In one breath, Manral has told us what date and year it is while sharing an important moment from the story as well. Some portions of the book are immensely powerful in their narrative reminding one of Manoj Night Shyamalan’s popular movie The Sixth Sense, while others that are reminiscent of Sidney Sheldon’s Tell me your dreams. What do all of these stories have in common? A compelling narrative with moving characters. That, in a nutshell, is All Those Who Wander.

Some novels stay with you for their powerful story, while others stay for their powerful characters. And then there are few that stay in your mind because of the way they made you feel. This book is one of those few.

About the Reviewer

Namrata is the editor of Kitaab.

Namrata is a published author who enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words and is always in pursuit of a new country and a new story. Her book reviews have been published both nationally and internationally. She enjoys writing essays and opinion pieces on gender, chronic illness, travel, and mindfulness.

About the Book

What if the past, present and future exist at once? What if you could rewrite your past? What if you could go back and change it around? What if you could protect the child you were from the trauma you know she will have to live through? What if you were living infinite versions of the same life simultaneously? This is the story of Ana, who is at a different age each time we meet her. But who is Ana—is she really who she says she is? A tangled tale of looped time and non-sequential lives, of guilt and repercussions, ‘All Those Who Wander’ turns the classic time-travel genre into a spine-tingling gorgeousness of who, what, when, where. Wouldn’t you take that one chance to heal your inner child?

About the Author

Kiran Manral has published multiple books across genres in fiction and nonfiction. She has been awarded the International Women’s Day Award 2018 by the Indian Council for UN Relations supported by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, Government of India, for excellence in the field of writing. She was listed as one of the Womennovator 1000 Women of Asia 2021. In 2022, she was named amongst the 75 Iconic Indian women in STEAM by Red Dot Foundation and Beyond Black, in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India, and British High Commission, New Delhi. She lives in Mumbai with her family and can be reached on twitter @KiranManral.

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