I first spotted “Don’t run my love” in the World Bookfair 2020. While reading the prompt, I was intrigued to know that the writer of this book, Easterine Kire is the first Naga author to have published her work in English. It set high expectations n my mind as I am on a mission to explore literature from different corners of the world and also my beautiful country, India.
About the author
Easterine Kire is a poet and author who currently lives in northern Norway. The majority of her writings are based in the lived realities of the people in Nagaland in north-east India . Her motivation to write is summed up in this statement by her in an interview, “I felt we needed to create written Naga Literature. We have so much oral narratives but with oral dying out, it’s all going to be lost.” Apart from writing, she also performs Jazz poetry with her band Jazzpoesi.
Premise of the book
The book starts with the lines:
“Anyone who set eyes on him, man or woman, young or old, had to admit that he was a beautiful creature indeed, the young man who called himself Kevi, and who walked into the lives of the two women at the harvest time.”As quoted from the book “Don’t run, my love”
The initial few lines give you and idea that the book is going to be centred around two women and a man named Kevi. The story is set in Kija, an old Angami village. The mother-daughter duo, Visenuo and Atuonuo lead a peaceful yet hard life in the village. The life is hard because they have to till the land by themselves in the harvest season because Atuonuo died an untimely death. As there is no man around, things get a little tough as they have to carry the grains from the field to their homes so that it doesn’t rot. One fine day, a man called Kevi enters their field and offers his help. With help, comes few friendly exchanges between the women and Kevi.
Also read: The house with a thousand stories
Kevi seems interested in marrying Atuonuo and he proposes her. Atuonuo is not sure about her heart; she is young and naïve and turns down Kevi’s offer. She is not comfortable with the decision she made.
“It was easier said than done. That night, when she went to bed, Atuonuo couldn’t sleep. She could hear her mother’s regular breathing coming from her room. But sleep evaded her and all she could think of was Kevi’s angry face just before he ran off from her. She tossed and turned, unable to get him out of her mind’s eye”
Atuonuo goes out in search of Kevi in a desperate attempt to see him and say sorry. She meets him but what she sees and experiences is something she had never experienced in her dreams. She somehow manages to escape and find her mother waiting for her. They know Kevi is coming for them and they can’t go anywhere. Visenuo decided that they would go to the village of seers.
But where is the village of seers?
“The village of seers can be as far or as near as they want it to be. If you are a visitor they don’t welcome, it becomes the farthest point on earth.”As quoted from “Don’t run, my love”
They are able to reach the village of seers but they are not able to extend much help to the women. They plan to leave the village. There comes a t-point. One-point leads to their village where it is dangerous to go. The second path leads back to the village of seers and the third one is an unknown territory. They choose the path not known to them. What does happen? Are they able to save themselves? What happens to Kevi?
The starting and mid of the novel were very interesting but the end of the novel seemed to be finished in a hurry with nothing noticeable. Kire has tried to give a beautiful blend of folk tales and realism and all could have been well had the ending been better. The book was very short, around 120 pages and took me a couple of hours to finish. If you want to have a light-read that is full of mystical elements, you can surely pick this one!
I hope you all are keeping well in the times of pandemic.