Absolute Truth, For Beginners by Katarina West


This review is long overdue and I am totally kicking myself for getting caught up with the mundane activities of life and pushing this aside.

The title of the book makes it sound like a self help book. Right? In a lot of ways it kind of is self help. I found myself identifying with the fears of Elisa (one of the main characters) more than once. The book starts with the lines ” we are all Nobodies”. A line that goes straight to the heart and stirs some emotions. Elisa is a art historian and somehow lands a job in the villa of a famous mathematician, Judith Shapiro. The story begins with a sense of depression, where Elise elaborates on her insecurities, something that all of us have been through in the past. The narrations flits between small scenes of her past and the current, though mostly staying in the present. As the plot unravels, the characters of Elisa and Judith grow deeper. The relationship between them is purely physical at first but there is some connection at a more emotional level as well. Judith, a renowned mathematician, is described a Somebody in the book. Famous, powerful, eccentric describe Judith’s persona.

What I loved about the book is the organization of the chapters. Each chapter has an unusual title and more over there is one word that is the highlight in the chapter. Katarina goes on to give a small description for that word with reference to the story. For eg. Nobody is the word of chapter 1 and the meaning for it is given as ” No person, no one, ┬áthe lowest of the low.” After a point I kept focussing on those rather than the actual story. Another very fresh aspect of the story is Elisa’s way of classifying people with ES number.

The language is captivating and the description of the scenery really makes your imagination run wild. Set in Italy, the story is an interesting take on a relationship between 2 women, sexual and more. There is passion, there is confusion, there is ecstasy and there is depression. A coming-of-age story with a lot more packed into the 300 odd pages.

Overall I am really glad I was given an opportunity to read and review this book.

Thank you Katarina.



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