I finished this book in three days, a record these past few months, depression keeping me from reading much. I've had the book since 2013, when I won it in a Goodreads giveaway, but it has been languishing on my shelf unread until this week. Something happened in November that has ruined my mental health, and since that time I've obsessively thought about death. i haven't known loss personally, outside some pets. The two grandparents who have died did so when I was extremely young. Yet, thoughts of the possibility, the inevitability of being touched by death at some point, any point, plague me. I am scared about losing my mother, my pillar in life. I am scared about losing my father and siblings, constants even if we do not get along perfectly. I am scared of the unknown when I experience it myself, scared of not having a family of some sort who will support and love me on my deathbed. This is really too much for a 20 year old with suicidal tendencies to handle, and it's driving me to a breaking point.
I can't handle reading the fiction I usually enjoy, so looked on my shelf for a non-fiction book, anything to distract me with facts and hopefully little mention of death. I found The Pomegranate King, long forgotten, no idea what was in store for me in its pages.
Oddly enough, reading about Mehra's father's passing, and her discussion of the aftermath, with grief, has helped to ground me. For someone to lose someone so close to them, and to go on and continue to build a life, and the descriptions of grief, of always having it, a constant companion in memory of what happened, that helped somehow to ease my worries. I feel like, in a way, reading about what happened was sort of like a guidebook, a how-to on how to handle the inevitability of the loss of loved ones. For that I'm really grateful.
There's a lot more to be said about the contents of the essays- the discussion of religion and myth, of art and what they all mean for humanity. But my mind is obsessed with death, and so I focus on death in this review.
Other than some typos and grammar errors, the book is impeccably written. I can only wish that more people get to read it and experience it, that Mehra gets some well-deserved attention for her writing.