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Wednesday 8 January 2014

Book Review: An Incurable Insanity by Simi K Rao

About the book:

Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven... Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack. She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. "I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It's probably a good thing to do anyway." As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, "So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?" Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

About the author:

Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. Her contemporary romance novel An Incurable Insanity, published by Tate Publishing, was released on October 8, 2013. An Incurable Insanity is her first foray into writing. The inspiration for the story came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances. She also writes poetry, is an avid photographer, loves to travel, and is a practicing physician. She currently lives in Denver with her family. 

My Review:
Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
—Ambrose Bierce
This tale is an attempt to prove the reverse
or at least give it a chance.

The first positive point in the author's kitty goes straight: her ability to prove what she said, that is quite an achievement for the author is able to give what she claimed to offer and not disappoint the reader.
The book compels the reader to rethink their ideas of love, the institution of marriage, arranged-marriage, the intricacies of relationships, the nuances of “compromising” and “reconciling”, two of the most deployed phenomena in relationships these days. The author has sculpted such abhorrent characters which one deems worthy of utmost contempt, for example the near relatives in both the families- the boy's and the girl's.
The approach of the book is highly engaging, and the writer certainly knows where to hit the reader to keep him glued. The characters are fickle, real and palpable. It may even be interpreted as a typical Bollywood-kind fairy-tale whereby the incorrigible man is melted by the purity, vulnerability and gullibility of his wife. The scenes and the depictions come alive on the palimpsest of the reader's minds, almost making it a blockbuster in the genre of romance. And the best part of it all is the fact that the reader does not feel like putting it down, rather gets hooked so much that one feels like finishing it as soon as possible. Certainly the male protagonist shaan was not entirely at fault when he says, “I don’t want to live under false pretences. I do not
Want to be instrumental in ruining an innocent life” which is known to all readers, by and by. The surmise is that it is probably the reason the characters are endearing: they know their mistakes, and yet have little in their control. The best characters to look out for are Sujoy and his wife, who at times manage to play the cupid, or at least ease the strains in the atmosphere.
The book has a very Indian touch to the whole plot, but its major low is that the narrative is highly chauvinistic, and more often than not, anti-feminist.

Best lines:
 Consider the sarcasm here: Given the mental state I was in, instead of telling you, I’d have probably preferred to kill you. Consider yourself lucky.
Or how it mocks the husband-wife relationship: Isn’t it nice how rapidly things change when husbands and wives become friends?  We become human.”
Or the poignancy in these words:
But what I admire most about this society is its openness. Back home, people play around behind
closed doors and carry on like saints, so when the river breaks its banks, the destruction is immense, irrecoverable.

So, if you hail contemporary literature to be an agent/harbinger of change, you need to think twice before announcing your belief because this book just establishes a contrary belief.

1 comment:

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!


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Kritika's bookshelf: read

Angels & Demons
The Story of My Life
The Hunger Games
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
Sense and Sensibility
A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Time Machine
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Da Vinci Code

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