A bad character by Deepti Kapoor

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REVIEW:

This book’s female protagonist is a young girl in Delhi with a middle class upbringing. The way her upbringing (the stifling of desires because of middle class morals) bubbles into rebellion is expressed well.

The non-linear narrative portrays memory well and keeps you turning the page. The city of Delhi is a character in the book. A character whose ugly side is shocking- the under belly.

The subtle and explicit violence towards women depicted in the book reminds me of two instances: Delhi gang rape 2012 and Bangalore molestation 2016-17 (New Year’s eve).

Books like this needs to be written now more than ever. It is not one of those books which are doomed to disappear in the abyss of feminist/pseudo feminist voices. Idha the protagonist is unforgettable for the choices she makes, her observations, her regrets…

The narrative makes a commentary on life and death directly and indirectly. What it means to be alive. What it feels to be alive. And to feel dead when alive. There is a detached narration of death. In viewing death- from within and without.

Death that people witness on the roads but turn a blind eye to, for the potential trouble the investigation could cause them. Stray dogs feasting on a dead body in public. The protagonist watching the aghori devour a corpse. The observations are grotesque and make your stomach turn but Kapoor is not one to shy away from depicting reality as it is.

While the language is simple to comprehend it is also beautiful. There is magic in Kapoor’s choice of words. I wonder how this book has been received in India. Most importantly Delhi. A brave attempt by a young female writer.

© MICHELLE WENDY D’COSTA 2017

 

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