Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Review: Sita’s Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu



Book: Sita's Curse – The Language of Desire

Author: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

No. of Pages: 332

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Hachette India


A very interesting and a very different novel (something i have not read before). Made it difficult for me to rate in one shot and I had to think hard.

When I started reading it, at first, it sounded almost semi-porn and erotica but gradually the internal conflict of Meera/Sita began to surface and it became the overpowering thread of the storyline. So much so … that the frequent erotic venture no longer hit hard on your senses but go with the flow of the story and seem like a natural part of it. This, I feel, is a rare quality and made the author's writing style very very impressive (at least for me).

The narration is believable ... and in spite of arguing with yourself, it was not difficult to convince yourself that this piece of fiction could well be the fact of someone's life ... however repulsive / horrifying / tragic one may find it ...

The book has a powerful undercurrent and so many suppressed emotions and so many things left unsaid that you often wonder if it is truly hidden by the author or you are just imagining things because of your own conditioning … and wonder why Meera is not thinking the same or maybe she is indeed thinking but not vocalizing her thoughts which are capable of destroying the peace of her life if spelt out in words. As a reader, you keep having such conflicts with yourself (and I wondered if the author designed her writing that way or was it an unintended effect that she just achieved by chance … I think, the former)  

So those were the bouquets …now for the brickbats which unfortunately are far too many.

Although, I am indeed impressed with the writing style of the author, I still missed the plot. Yes, it is the story of the suppressed desires of the lady (don't know why suppressed because she did get intimate with several men). But there are a lot many aspects of the women's life besides the desire. And even if for the sake of the story, we focus on that one aspect only … still the book disappoints because Meera forever remains a prisoner of her situation without actually breaking free. So what exactly was the moral of the story? Or for that matter the point of the story or the entire novel?

What seemed like a semi-porn erotica at first and then began to take shape of a tragic story of a woman's situation … ultimately ended up being a hotch-potch of erotic situations of her life. To a great extent pointless … the promise of a very interesting and hard hitting novel ultimately going limp … figuratively as well as literally.

Somewhere I thought that the title had something to do with the story of Mira's life … probably she had to go through a modern-day agni-pariksha (or she refused one) or maybe she was this pure soul with suppressed desires who decides to break-free in the end … some relevance of Sita. Unfortunately, the only connection given between Meera and Sita is so lame that you cringe at the end of the book and feel completely duped.

The situations in Meera's life are real. And there might have been merit if there was something in how she reacted to the situations. But no … there is nothing there. Her response to the situations is all too predictable, silent when suppressed and yielding to temptation when tempted. So, what's the big deal about the central character? Was it just telling women "See! This is your story. This is how you behave and react. This is not what you should be doing but I am not telling you what you should be doing either"

As much as I would have loved to write about this one as a good novel; unfortunately I cant see any way of describing it other than a piece of erotica.


Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design: 2.0 / 5

Writing Style: 3.5 / 5

Characters:     3.0 / 5

Story / Plot:     1.0 / 5

Climax:            1.0 / 5

Overall:           2.0 / 5   

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