The Sibius Knot, Amrita Tripathi

It is only much later, after he dies, that I realise I have to tell the world what we were getting up to. Fighting for all your souls, and you didn’t even realise. I hit college when Mario takes his battle to the Darkness itself. Getting inside the drug haze, fighting inside out – sure, you could say that’s what killed him, an overdose, that’s what doctors say, but I know different.

I looked into its eyes, dammit. Death killed him. Just like that.

Amy, Tara and Mario are children of the nineties, growing up across cities and continents, and together with their bravely scrappy bunch of friends – Little Bastard, Seema, Preetha, Dan, Sid, Dhruv and Ruchika – they face HH, the mysterious, malevolent and all-powerful foe. Who is HH? What is it that governs his/her choice of “others”? And what does the sibius knot, “a one-way route to death and the devil, distorted inheritor of the Mobius Strip”, have to do with all this?

This book is the ultimate outlier: it falls squarely in the realm of experimental fiction, yet you’ll find yourself sitting up at night, turning the pages obsessively, as though it is a thriller. On second thoughts, it is a bit of a thriller too.

In the Acknowledgements, Tripathi writes:

This is clearly a work of fiction, but there are some fundamental truths here. One in four people will have a mental health problem in their lifetime – I daresay four out of four people will need some sort of help at some point. Not all of them will be able to get it.

If you’re one of the tribe trying to survive the darkness, you know it’s pretty much bashing on, day by day…

Impossible to categorise – or ignore – The Sibius Knot is a brave book that demands to be read, re-read and remembered.