I first met Jyoti at a Bad Form Review event and was really excited for her debut book when she announced it last year. The Things That We Lost tells the story from the character Nik and his mother, Avani’s point of view. As they deal with the loss of Nik’s grandfather, secrets start to unravel about his late father whom Nik never met, only hearing stories here and there from his grandfather.
The dynamic between son and mother is understandable. Nik is the son who wants questions about the parent he never met and Avani is the mother who wants to conceal her son from any pain or loneliness that she feels, and I think when you lose someone you shut down a piece of your soul. When others drift away, you feel as though you are not good enough to bring yourself back to society when a loved one passes away. So I could totally understand how Avani felt.
In terms of writing, first of all, Jyoti can WRITE. The emotional pull in the description gives a nice enough backstory on each character, not just these two but also Will, Teo, Elliot, Alice and Layla – how they connect with each other and their relationships over the years.
It’s a heart jerking and remarkable book to say the least. I can’t wait to read more from Jyoti in the near future.
Jyoti personally recommended these two dishes – Batata Nu Shaak (Gujarati style potato sabzi) and Methi Thepla (Spiced flatbread with fenugreek leaves).
They are both staples in Gujarati households and present in the book within Avani’s childhood cooking in the kitchen with her mother and eaten during the grandfather’s funeral. One day, I would love to try both but in the meantime you can try cooking these from the recipes made by Archana’s Kitchen and Tarla Dalal.
Usually, I post the method and recipes but because they are quite long, please refer to the links above. And Jyoti has ranked them as at the Nandos Peri-Peri level.