My grateful thanks to Ben at Cameron Publicity and Marketing for a copy of Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick in return for an honest review. Having loved my trip to India last year I’m delighted to be reviewing a book that gives 50% of its profits to IIMPACT, a charity that supports educational opportunities for girls from disadvantaged communities in India.
Dark Blossom was published on 14th February 2019 by Rupa and is available for purchase here.
Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son’s thirteenth birthday and is looking forward to being with his family, when his world is cruelly shattered in one fell swoop.
Initially he thinks he can cope with the loss, but finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist, to regain his equipoise.
What he does not know is that Cynthia herself is trying to cope with a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband over her daughter…
What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat? Moreover, when they are rowing in opposite directions–one clinging to the past, and the other unable to get rid of it!
In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia’s daughter, who harbours a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.
Taut with tension and intensity, Dark Blossom is a glimpse of what lies under the surface of apparently ‘normal’ people.
My Review of Dark Blossom
Sam’s life is shattered and he seeks therapy from Cynthia to help him come to terms with recent events.
Well here’s a conundrum. Dark Blossom has left me totally unsure at to what I thought about it! It is an intense, intelligent book that raises more questions for me than it answers so that I have finished it feeling disturbed and unsettled. I don’t know if I can say I enjoyed the read, but I did find it utterly fascinating. Reading Dark Blossom is a bit like being in a lift with parallel mirrors that reflect an image within an image until your brain can’t cope any further.
The plot is deceptively simple, mostly revolving around Cynthia’s first person thoughts and her sessions with Sam. However, that doesn’t do the book justice as there are memories, conversations, emails and events that swirl and eddy making the reader a part of the story too as they are drawn in by Cynthia’s comments. I felt I was almost in a confessional hearing Cynthia’s story just as much as she is a counsellor listening to Sam. I found I couldn’t warm to Cynthia and reading Dark Blossom made me consider my own responses and personality as much as it made me think about the characters of Cynthia, Lily and Sam, because I felt I should have given Cynthia more sympathy.
There’s obfuscation, revelation and deception in this story making for a really thought provoking read. Themes of guilt, dissimulation, violence, relationships and redemption underpin the narrative so that I think there’s something that will resonate with every reader. I thought the iterative image of Gaudi running through was perfect (and it has had the effect of making me book a trip to Barcelona soon too). Gaudi’s work challenges and distorts reality and truth in much the same way as Neel Mullick does in Dark Blossom and I think it’s a perfect level of added texture for the book.
Despite contemplating the book for several days after having read it, I still don’t really know what I think to Dark Blossom. Never has a book floored me quite so much and I am quite perplexed. I do, however, think you should read Dark Blossom and decide for yourself!
About Neel Mullick
With degrees in software engineering from Carnegie Mellon, USA and business administration from INSEAD, France, Neel is the Head of Product and Information Security at a Belgian family-office technology company.
He mentors women entrepreneurs through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (UK), is involved in raising a generation of digital and socially aware leaders with the Steering for Greatness Foundation (Nigeria), and supports improvement in the quality of life of domestic workers at Emprendedoras del Hogar (Peru).
Spending his time across three continents, working with people from six, and having travelled to all seven, he firmly believes the solution to a rapidly fracturing world lies in peeling enough layers to discover the similarities, rather than judging on mere superficialities.