“The Reunion” by Raj Velamoor

The Reunion

Raj Velamoor
Friesen Press (2021)
ISBN: 9781039118355
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (12/2021)

Are memories a shared experience? Do friendships endure over time? Do we make our circumstances or are we made by them? “The Reunion” is a coming of age, enlightening novel by Raj Velamoor that follows the life of six friends who grew up together in Hyderabad, India, and decide to have a reunion after fifty-five years apart.

The six, Vas, Prabo, Ramu, Roop, Patel, and Vir, go through different experiences growing up because of their diverse backgrounds. Nevertheless, they ended up having successful careers through different paths. Ramu and Prabu were based in Canada, Vir and Roop in the USA, Patel in Birmingham, and Vas, a retired electrical engineer, stayed in India.

A conference call initiated by Prabu to discuss the reunion, created excitement and old feelings amongst them. The call also rekindles a flame and memories that had been on pilot for decades. Would they recognize each other? Had the past fifty-five years changed their approach to life? Would they gel with each other? Author Velamoor has answered these questions pleasantly and creatively as the friends gear up for the reunion.

“The Reunion” is not just a meet-up of old friends but a prominent exposition of the effects of the caste system, religious differences, and class distinction upon human lives. The author has left no stone unturned to make every chapter an interesting one by providing engaging dialogues between characters and rich background information of the key protagonists as well. This helps readers connect with them.

Using well-crafted characters and the dialogues between them, Velamoor puts forth powerful arguments based on the caste system, racism, immigration, religious differences, which are not one-sided but presents both sides of the coin leaving readers to conclude on their own. As the book closes, the author shares his thoughts and views on the challenges facing the world now such as the Covid-19 pandemic among others. He poses questions to readers that make them ponder and reflect on their own lives as well. At times, the author uses Indian terms in his writing but luckily, he provides a glossary of these terms at the end.

In my opinion, “The Reunion” by Raj Velamoor deserves a 5-star rating because of its swift and even pace that mimics the six main characters’ transitions between places and careers. The story will resonate well with readers interested in learning about post-independence India. It would also appeal to readers looking for a book that sublimely paints the lives of South Asian expatriates in Europe.

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