I have said it before and I will say it again: If you love cats or animals or own cats or pets, then, “The Wildings” by Nilanjana Roy will be a perfect read for you. Even if you don’t own pets, it will.
“The Wildings” by Nilanjana Roy was probably not something which I had not read earlier. There are books about talking animals and their lives and how they view humans. Having said that, the way the book is written will charm you at the turn of every page.
The book is a story of a small band of cats that live in the alleys, ruins and by-lanes of Nizamuddin in Delhi. There is Miao – the clan elder, the wise one, a Siamese, almost like good old Gandalf. We then have Katar, a cat loved by his followers and most feared by his enemies. The one who probably sees logic and yet a short-temper is what surrounds him most times. There is the warrior tom-cat called Hulo, the Queen Beraal, who is known to be deadly and has a heart of gold, and Southpaw – the young one in the lot, the kitten who always gets into trouble. There are more cats that live in the area and collectively work on the outside cats and inside cats’ principle, which is marvelously explained in the book.
Their peaceful existence seems to be threatened by a young and powerful Sender (who is but just a kitten, younger than Southpaw) Mara, who is an inside cat. She lives with humans, who are referred to by the cats as Bigfeet. From there on their lives not only intersect but also change drastically, with a whole bunch of adventures thrown in and other animals soon join the scene. I would love to give away more about the plot, but I will not, or else I would be spoiling it for you.
The cats will enter your heart stealthily and you will start feeling for them and you won’t even realize that that has happened. That for me is the true power of this book.
The setting of the book is just perfect. I could visualize the ruins. I could see the cats in their environment – in the day-time and night-time. The way they would be on their guard and constantly aware of humans and other creatures. For lack of a better word, I would have to say that they are simply adorable.
The writing is fantabulous. Nilanjana Roy knows cats (well she does own two of them or rather they own her). She will make a cat lover out of you, even if you aren’t. The way the cats communicate, feel, interact, and think is the highlight of the book. I am sure it was meant to be that way, but I loved it more so than the entire plot. I fell in love not only with the writing, but also the cats. Almost every one of them. The funny part is that I am not even a so-called cat person.
I re-read the book. I strongly recommend you to buy this book and read it. You will not regret it for sure. A sequel is also going to be out soon and I cannot wait for it.
Title: The Wildings; Author: Nilanjana Roy; Publisher: Aleph Books; Genre: Fiction; Pages: 311; Rating: 5/5