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Expat youth delves into historical fantasy to write debut novel

Sushyanth Sridhar

By Sajeev K Peter

Locked down and isolated for nearly six months, expat youth Sushyanth Sridhar delves into the depths of historical fantasy to write his maiden novel ‘Jon Oliver’. The 19-year-old engineering student at National Institute of Technology (NIT), Warangal, India, has created an intriguing world of mystery and myth in this book that seeks to stress the importance of mental health. “I was isolated from my family and friends due to the COVID pandemic and had to spend the lockdown in the city of Chennai with my grandmother,” says Sushyanth.

The boredom of being locked between four walls motivated the Indian youth to dive deeper into history, understand the effects of psychosis disorder and finish writing ‘Jon Oliver’. Immersing himself in the historical era of the 1930s helped him deal with the confinement of the lockdown, he says. According to Sushyanth, he used to enjoy writing historical fantasy ever since he was a child studying at FAIPS – DPS, Kuwait.

Jon, the protagonist of the book, embarks on a holiday with his family to Malaysia during the summer of 2018. Jon happens to be an easy prey to the vile effects of a psychosis disorder that ruins his holiday. He is haunted by a man called Finn Larsen, who he assumes to be his arch-nemesis. He fails to realize that Larsen is a figment of his imagination.

“As I have been an avid Model United Nations (MUN) delegate and director through my schooling in Kuwait, I developed an interest in authoring background guides, papers and resolutions,” says Sushyanth. This is what subsequently inspired him to write ‘Jon Oliver’ in the psychological/history genre, he says.

‘Jon Oliver’ highlights the importance of tranquility and public order in the era of 2018 and 1931 respectively. The imaginary world created by Jon is set in the year 1931 and Larsen is characterized as a mobster in London. Jon builds his alter ego, Gin Oliver, to chase Larsen down the River Thames and bring down his criminal empire. Larsen joins hands with a burgeoning fascist syndicate based in London to immortalize his power.

Historical fiction
“Writing historical fiction gives me an opportunity to translate to a different era and relive the past. I enjoy the thrill of retracing the routes of popular cultures. It also gives me an opportunity to speculate alternative ending to game-changing historical events and scrutinize its possible aftermath,” Sushyanth says, explaining the rationale behind foraying into the genre.

The book was released on online portals such as – iBook, Googleplay, Amazon, Kobo, and Flipkart – on January 14, 2021. The paperback version is now also available in Kuwait. A formal virtual book launch will be held in Kuwait on January 22, 2021 in the presence of well-known Kuwaiti personalities. “I wish to build history as my stronghold for my upcoming books as well,” Sushyanth quips.


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