Release date: December 19, 2016
ABOUT THE NOVEL: The story of a troubled young model and an introspective writer, 20 is a novel about loneliness, love, hopes and dreams.
One night as she is driving back home from a show, she almost runs over someone. She holds her breath, and through the fog, they see each other for the first time. Love begins to form in the space between them, in precognitions and thoughts, lights and intimacies. Seasons change. They come to know more things about themselves and each other. Life wraps them in its embrace like a haze, in a vacant space bigger than their eyes can see.
Fans of Haruki Murakami will enjoy this atmospheric and deeply felt debut from Vatsal Surti, who was described by an Amazon HALL OF FAME reviewer as “a young author to observe.”
About the Vatsal Surti:
Vatsal Surti writes about the interconnections of humans.
He wrote the novella To Desire at the age of 17. It was described by Kirkus Reviews as “poetic” with “engaging thoughts about the meaning of life and death.”
He wrote his debut novel 20 at the age of 20. His other works include On Love, a small collection of short stories and prose poems published in 2013.
TAKE A PEEK INSIDE, COURTEST OF HYBRID TEXTS:
“What Happens to the Seasons?”
Excerpt from the novel 20
They were lying in bed holding hands. For a moment, she had this picture of her car’s lights on him and the drops of rain ceased between his hair.
He moved his eyes and looked at her face. “What are you thinking?” he whispered.
“I was thinking,” she said, turning towards him, “about the many things that make and break people’s lives.”
There was a strange light in her eyes. It looked like a distant star above an island.
“My heart beats for you sometimes in the middle of the night and I wake up,” she said. “I feel like giving you everything, even though I have nothing. I feel like asking you what you want. You have to tell me, OK?”
“See, I have no one in this world. So you have to take care of me, too.”
“I get crazy sometimes, and a bit insecure, but overall I am a very nice girl. I am incapable of harming anyone other than myself.”
“All I want is peace and quiet. But when I experience something good, I have a tendency to ruin it. I don’t know why.”
She said and smiled ever so slightly. Whenever she was with him, somehow everything seemed so secure and easy. She came closer and pressed her ears upon his chest.
“I can feel your heart beating,” she said. “Your body is so warm.”
Listening to his chest, she remembered a distant winter night in a faraway land.
“Tell me babe,” she said, “what happens to the seasons?”
“Do we change?”
“We change with them, somehow still remaining ourselves.”
“We seem one, but in reality we are so many. Sometimes I see myself far above and beyond my body.”
She moved a little and lay beside him. She turned towards him, hand under her cheek.
“What is this that connects us?” she said. “Suddenly things have come so close. For once there was a time when I did not know your name, and it seemed just like yesterday. And I felt like there was no need, that there was something that need not show itself. And my waiting felt like you were its only hope. How much time has passed, how many things have changed! I can barely remember. How strange it is!”
He came closer and stopped near her face. There was a distant sound of her breath. He licked the tip of her nose twice, and felt a red laughter rush out on her lips. He kissed her upper lip. He moved his hand from her shoulder, through her hand, wrapping his fingers between hers. She kissed him. They took a deep breath that made a sound almost at the same time. He touched her lips, gazing at her closed eyes. She stopped for a moment and looked away.
“Stars are falling,” she said. “In desperation we walk on the edge of sea. Distraction. Distraction. In heart there is peace. And everything is beautiful.”
In the countless voices of the night, all the colors fallen into one. All the voices rolled into a single whisper. Pressing her lips together, she gently cried. She wiped the tears with her hand and let out a sigh. He looked at her gleaming eyes, holding her by her waist.
“What is it?” he asked.
“When I was 15 years old,” she said, “I tried to commit suicide.”
The evening was green and winds were blowing in the sky. The world that was a forsaken place, and life in the middle of it that felt so close she could touch it. She looked into his eyes and kept looking.
So alone was everything just a few days ago. The more things one tried to feel, the more it all seemed pointless. Being close to someone, what did it mean? In the surrounded blue sky, feeling in their hearts as if they were also surrounded by something. But wondering why they felt so alone, where were they going. It was so easy to lose oneself in this world. It was so hard to keep being alone. Did love only mean covering up each other’s loneliness? Was there nothing else? Moving from shore to shore, hiding oneself from the world. And when it became true, there were no words to speak.
Alone in the sky, she saw the night still like her soul. Wishing to say something but forever locked within its own form. So overwhelmed with the world around her, around her everywhere.
“Put your head on my pillow,” she said, “and see my dreams.”
Somewhere around the night they slept missing each other, they slept holding each other. She tried to see him in the dark with wide open eyes. She saw nothing and she felt happy. She had been living away for a while. She had felt sleepless for so long. But in his arms, night arrived. Closing her eyes, she fell asleep. Absent of their voices and laughter, the night fell asleep, too. Making no sound, no sudden gesture. Only adding colors in their dreams through her darkness.
Love formed its presence between them as they slept with each other that night. Love forms its presence between people like this.
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