In the country of deceit

Quick Data

Author: Shashi Deshpande

ISBN: 978-0670081981

Devayani decides to live alone in the small town of Rajnur after her parents’ death, ignoring the disapproval of her family and friends. She works as an English teacher,loves creating garden of her own,and is a very low key person living in her own world.One day she meets Rani, a former actress,who has  settled in the town with her husband and three children. Within no time Rani and Devayani share a strong bond of friendship or womanhood.They too aren’t sure but the relationship between them creates this need of meeting daily and sharing things.

Rani’s entry in Devyani’s life brings in Ashok Chinappa too,who is Rajnur’s new DSP.After few meetings with Ashok and lot of contemplation with self,surprisingly Devayani finds that she has fallen in love with Ashok..something contradictory to what she had thought that she would never get married and would always live alone-independent!! Ashok too falls in love with her,despite the fact that he is much older and married!!! Both of them painfully acknowledge & accept right from the beginning that this relationship will take them nowhere.

Adding the lines presented as the summary on the back cover of the book :

Why did I do it?

Why did I enter the country of deceit?

What took me into it?

I hesitate to use the word love,but what other word is there ?

And yet,like the word “atonement”,

the word love is too simple for the complicated

emotions and responses that made me do what I had done.

Ultimately,I did it because he was Ashok,

because we met.

That’s all.

Shashi’s writing tracks the suffering, evasions and lies that overtake those caught in the web of relationships.
There is no sepcific ending to the story,no one wins at the end..it does not carry the ‘everything turns out to be perfect because it’s the end of the tale’ attitude . This is a tale which is compassionate,spells nature of love,loyalty,deceptions and yet is rooted to the ground.

Shashi is one of the great Indian English fiction writers..though most of the times people might feel her novels are dark,which they are indeed,but I always feel they are rooted to the ground realities of life and work as a showcase of relationships,feelings and emotions for the readers

My rating for this book is 4

Front Cover Friday – 13

There was something about this cover that was extremely eerie for me. The cute little kid. The homely background. The title seemingly implying the same. Full of innocence. And yet, there is a ripped up teddy bear on the floor. Which to me implies that not all is as perfect as it seems.

Then I read the synopsis which justfied my initial perception.

According to Borders:

Once there was a widow with three sons, and their names were Black, Brown and Blue. Black was the eldest; moody and aggressive. Brown was the middle child, timid and dull. But Blue was his mother’s favourite. And he was a murderer.’ Blueeyedboy is the brilliant new novel from Joanne Harris: a dark and intricately plotted tale of a poisonously dysfunctional family, a blind child prodigy, and a serial murderer who is not who he seems. Told through posts on a webjournal called badguysrock, this is a thriller that makes creative use of all the multiple personalities, disguise and mind games that are offered by playing out a life on the internet.

This synopsis has definitely intrigued me. And I’m going to look for this book the next time I’m in the library. I hope it lives up to the expectations.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

The Opposite of Me

‘The Opposite of Me’ by Sarah Pekkanen looks at the lives of a pair of fraternal twins: Lindsey Rose and Alex Rose. The book is from 29 year old Lindsey’s point of view. Lindsey has always lived in her twin’s shadow since they were young. The reason: Alex is drop-dead gorgeous. And always has been so. In order to compensate for her lack of looks, Lindsey has always pushed herself academically. The result is that at the age of 29, she is a workaholic in a New York advertising agency and is on the verge of being offered a vice-presidency. Alex on the other hand, has never really excelled in studies as Lindsey has and is currently still in their hometown engaged to marry the guy of her dreams (read: drop-dead gorgeous and filthy rich) and is working as a news reader (read: does the celebrity section) and model.

Fate however has other things in store for Lindsey. All that she has worked for over the years comes crashing down on one night. And embarrassed and humiliated she flees New York and returns home under the pretense that her employers sent her on work purposes. It is a massive blow to Lindsey’s self-esteem. It also means that once again, she is back in the shadow of her twin. To make matters worse, Lindsey finds that the person she is falling for is the same person her engaged twin is also having feelings for.

Whilst dealing with the pain that her far more beautiful sister is attracted to the same man, Lindsey finds a new job. One that is completely different to what she has been used to. She is now working in a dating agency which, unlike online dating sites, involves her and the owner interviewing people and setting up those they think are compatible. It doesn’t pay as much. It doesn’t involve long hours. And Lindsey surprisingly finds herself enjoying her job. She also discovers a new image…she realises she doesn’t have to wear boring suits and can actually accentuate her looks with the help of make-up and clothes.

But then a family secret is revealed which leads both Lindsey and Alex to question who they are and their identities and their lives in general.

My take on the book: It was so-so. It was a light read and one that was pretty quick. But it just didn’t do it for me. The family secret was almost an anti-climax. The ending was anti-climactic as well where everything fits neatly and perfectly. And I got thoroughly annoyed with the whole “without looks you are nothing” message that seemed to be underlying it all. The author did try to have sections where it is mentioned that looks don’t matter but on the whole with Lindsey transforming herself and getting noticed and feeling better about herself kind of negated that bit.

I give it a 2.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!