A small band of cats lives in the labyrinthine alleys and ruins of Nizamuddin, an old neighbourhood in Delhi. Miao, the clan elder, a wise, grave Siamese; Katar, a cat loved by his followers and feared by his enemies; Hulo, the great warrior tom; Beraal, the beautiful queen, swift and deadly when challenged; Southpaw, the kitten whose curiosity can always be counted on to get him into trouble… Unfettered and wild, these and the other members of the tribe fear no one, go where they will, and do as they please. Until, one day, a terrified orange-coloured kitten with monsoon green eyes and remarkable powers, lands in their midst—setting off a series of extraordinary events that will change their world forever.
Books written about animals' perception of humans is not a new concept. That being said, despite not being a cat lover, this book has opened the doors to a whole new world. The story is fast paced and intriguing. You find yourself moving quickly from page to page, anticipating the next fight or what trouble Southpaw has gotten into. Though Mara and Beraal are the most detailed characters, you find yourself captivated by all the others. The cats communicate with each other by linking to a cat network through their whiskers. One night their network is interrupted by the calls of a new cat, called Mara. The calls are very strong, indicating that Mara is a sender. Disturbed the cats set out to hunt this powerful outsider, only to find that it is a kitten that has no clue how to control the sending. Beraal takes Mara under her wings to train her to send and link.
The book is definitely written by somebody who knows cats well. The new terms – Bigfeet, Sender, linked - she has coined extend the experience of the book, leading the reader into a cat world. But there could have been many more such terms adding to the larger scope of such a book.
I am unsure if this was supposed to be a whimsical tale about cats or if it was intended to be more serious than that. But if not anything else, The Wildings is a terrific adventure situated in a corner of Delhi ensuring the reader is seriously entertained.
It is clean, uncomplicated and well knit. I loved the descriptions in the book. They make the scene of the ruins of Nizamuddin come alive. The personalities of each cat is different and you begin to see each of the characters strengths and weaknesses. It is a pleasure to see how the magic unfolds as they defend, fight and get along with each other.
Fabulous! I love how every black and white illustration adds a bit more class to the book. The illustrations are superbly done and leaves one looking forward to their next appearance. Their existence makes this book worth the price.
My verdict: I recommend you to read. A MUST read for cat and animal lovers. I am not sure I wish to label it an adult book or a children's book but I think it might actually be really fun for children to read. The language enables readers across ages to enjoy it. The imagery makes for light and enchanting reading for adults. If possible, I suggest you take this book into a park and enjoy it. Let the wildings come alive (like they did for me)! You never know, a bunch of beautiful Kites might be flying around above your head :)
Sneak peek into the illustrations: