Book Review – Fragments

Fragments – a novel about love and university – is a piece that will have something for everyone to relate to. This story takes us back to a time when we loved and lost and shows us the importance of why it was so important for us to have lost. This novel will leave you feeling at ease with your past, and hopefully will make you understand that you cannot control everything in the universe, nor can you have it all. A very basic idea that we all are aware of, but one that we forget about and start spiraling into a pit of “what ifs”.

What if it was all different? What if you had the chance to do it all over again? What if you had a shot at happiness one more time? Some things in life are simply the way they are, they cannot be any other way despite our greatest hopes, wishes, and efforts. If, like me, you think that things would be much better in the present day if only had it all gone differently in the past. If you think that a second chance would change everything. If you are haunted by your past because you think you would be much happier today if only you had the guts back then. If you hold yourself accountable for how sad your life has turned out due to some events that took place in your past. If any of this is applicable or relatable to you, then this book is definitely the one for you.

Fragments is set within university life, a story of two students Fred and Susan, who loved but always somehow lost, because time was just never on their side. From the moment Fred saw Susan on that one fateful day, he knew he would always be in love with her, even if she could never be his. 4 years of university passed by without anything substantial happening between them. Before he even had a chance at trying to make anything happen between the two of them, he had already lost the battle for her heart. For all the years that followed, Fred spent every moment thinking about how he had lost the love of his life, how he had let her slip by without even trying. He only wished, for one thing, his entire life – a chance to turn back time and try his luck at winning over his beloved. Little did Fred know that his heart’s greatest desire would soon become his greatest curse. Stuck in a literal loop, he would spend all his time trying to win over Susan’s love again….and again…..and yet again…..

Being humans, we always want to find a logic amidst the chaos, we want answers for our misery, want to find reasons as to why this is happening to us. Because those reasons help us live. Those reasons keep us sane by helping us think that we could have done something differently to change it all. Those reasons help us understand how we ended up where we are right now. Those reasons are the only thing we have to hold on to because if they don’t exist, the only other answer to our misery is: just because it was meant to be this way. How can we accept that as an answer, how can we live life knowing that we couldn’t have done anything to change it, how can we go on knowing that we had no control over our misery and it happened
just because it was meant to be this way?

The answers to all these very perplexing and way too philosophical questions, I have found within this novel. I set out reading this book with no agenda in mind, no expectations of what I might learn, I was just reading it for the sake of a friend. But by the end of it, this book managed to make me see how the past should simply be left in the past, and how some things, no matter how much we wish otherwise, can just not change and they never will. Rumi once talked about controlling his “nafs”, which not only meant man’s own desires but also meant the peaceful acceptance of everything in the world that man could not control. The past – and its consequences – fall within the context of things in the world that man cannot control. Fragments is a stepping stone to understanding this idea of peaceful acceptance. I say peaceful because hopefully, by the end of the novel, you will have understood that some things are better the way they are and therefore should be left as they are without pining over them. Exciting, heart-rending, relatable, everything tucked into one beautifully narrated novel that is a must-read.

Contributor: Amna Umair Bajwa

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