When I began reading Wings of Silence by debut author Shriram Iyer I didn’t expect to be glued to it so intensely that I would finish reading it in four days (I’d sneakily read a few lines whenever I’d get a chance- on the commute to work, during a five minute coffee break, or the during the last ten minutes of the lunch break).
Iyer’s gripping debut novel begins with war veteran Akshay Sethi, a former Air Force officer who is captured and imprisoned by the Pakistani army during war and how he escapes and crosses the border after being shot in the leg- a feat for which he is awarded the Veer Chakra by the Government of India, after which the family relocates to America (a former Air Force officer moving to America was a tad hard to believe). Akshay Sethi is a man who believes in duty and discipline and can’t stand failure of any kind. What comes as a rude shock for him is when his older son Raj is born deaf. Something Akshay Sethi refuses to accept and instead invests all his time and ambition into his younger son Saurav , who is a teenage prodigy and gifted in academics as well as sports. While Saurav succeeds in academics and achieves fame as a promising young tennis star, Raj is sinking into a quagmire of depression, to the point of becoming suicidal. This is when Saurav decides to give up his own successful tennis career and help Raj realize his wildest dream- to win a gold medal in the marathon at the 1980 Moscow Olympics!
(This is a book review requested by the publisher)