"At dawn, she woke up, hearing herself crying. She sat in her bed for a few minutes then went for another shower and got dressed."

When teenage friends Shamyana and Shyam are preparing for their final year of high school, they discover a shared passion for photography and a shared passion for each other. Arranging to be wed directly after graduating, their love burns brightly but hits an early snag. Shamyana wants to pursue her career in photography while Shyam favors a more traditional housewife role for her. After she miscarries their child, their marriage falls apart. Shamyana’s professional career continues to rise to national fame, but a difficult relationship with her mother and the emergence of a string of nervous breakdowns is a double-edged sword. Finding inspiration in dark places, Shamyana has endless motivation for her art but struggles to make meaningful romantic connections and is plagued by negative thoughts about herself.

Highlighting the kind of emotional turbulence that the artistically-minded often face, this story can be intensely personal for readers following Shamyana’s journey. True to life, the mental and emotional struggle she deals with is almost constant, despite the excitement of new lovers in her life or the wild success she accomplishes with her photography. The book is broken up into mostly poem-sized micro-chapters, each representing a moment or a theme, giving topics sole focus before moving on to the next. The story itself is full of memorable characters surrounding Shamyana, including her argumentative mother, her loyal friends Niru and Diya, and the men vying for the chance to woo the enigmatic photographer. At its heart, this is a story about overcoming personal demons or at least coexisting with them and still trying to be a productive individual. Its portrayal of depression is striking, accurate, and creates a drama that readers will take with them after the book is finished.

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