Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Review - My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories




‘My Lawfully Wedded Husband and other Stories’ by Madhulika Liddle
Published by Westland  Ltd,
Price Rs 250

I have always been an avid book reader, and anyone who dared come between me and an unfinished book did so at their peril. However  since my son was born , experience has taught me  that no matter how much I might want to finish my book in one go, staying up at night  when the kid was asleep was a sure way to bring out the grouchy mamma in me . So in the interests of my sanity the kid’s wellbeing, my bedside table is now largely populated by short story collections. That is why, when BlogAdda offered me a chance to review this book, I jumped at it and hung on with all my might.
Coming to the book itself, as the title suggests, “My Lawfully Wedded Husband and other Stories” is a collection of short stories by Madhulika Liddle.  The first story in the collection begins with quite a matter of fact declaration by the protagonist, about how ‘I killed my first human when I was twenty one’.
And right away I thought – “This is not a book to read at night if you’re the highly sensitive type who hides under the covers at the slightest of unexplained night sounds in an empty house”.  However, since my three year old was sleeping soundly next to me, I decided to allow my curiosity to get the better of my afternoon siesta, and carried on reading.
The common thread that runs through all the stories is a generous dose of dark humour with a twist in the tail. From the deceptively normal Delhi girl in ‘Sum Total’, the enterprising Madhu in Bombay, the ambitious young housekeeper in a quaint Goan village, the heartbreakingly naïve prostitute Hourie to the gullible young girl from Chennai , all the characters are quite believable and  interestingly  diverse. The writing seems effortless and is very easy to read.  The stories however , vary from  the ho hum , ‘Feet of Clay’, to  the beautifully written ‘Tale of a Summer Vacation” in a sleepy Goan village ,  to the spine chilling ‘On the Night Train’ , and the absolutely  not- for- reading- alone- in- bed- at- night horror quickie “Silent Fear”.
My personal favourite is the story set in Goa, which promises love and romance at the onset and ends up with a wicked twist. However, despite the fact that love and romance do not quite triumph in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to hate the villain of the piece as much as I should. Given the fact that I’m almost always the goody two shoes on the higher moral ground, in my opinion this is a corker of a story. Either that or I must be really wicked at heart; that is to say, I stick to my opinion that this is the best story of the lot. The other story I liked better than the rest  is “The Howling Waves of Tranquebar”. I can’t say much about it for fear of spoiling it for anyone who may be thinking of reading it, but suffice to say that this is one of those stories with atmosphere, at the end of which you giggle nervously and thank your stars that the story ended the way it did!
All in all, this is a book to own, to read once then leave on the bookshelf, and then read again after a few months later.

This book review is a part of Blog Adda’s Book Review program. Click on the link to receive free books and participate in this great program.

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