Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Review – Bends and Turns



(Reviewed by Vikram Karve)


Title: Bends and Turns
Author: Leena Chandorkar
Publisher: Frog Books
Year: 2016
ISBN: 978-93-52017-30-0
Price: Rs. 250


In India – nowadays – most “first novels” are “Campus Romances” (or “Office Love Stories”) – or – adaptations of mythological stories – and – a few “thrillers” and “whodunits”.

It was – therefore – heartening to see a first time novelist attempt something different from the “run of the mill” fiction novels being currently churned out in India.

The author is a Ph.D. in English Literature (and teaches the subject too) – so – obviously – she is well-equipped in the writing department – but then – fiction is more “creative” than “writing” – and – when you read “Bends and Turns” – it is evident that the author is well-endowed in the “creative” domain too.

“Bends and Turns” tells the life story of a young woman – Sona.

The author describes in a most engrossing style – how Sona’s life traverses through “bends and turns” – as a result of her interactions with the salient characters who play an influencing role in her life.

Modern women will identify with the main protagonist Sona – as the story progresses – describing the conflicting pulls of family and career, marriage and love, the ambiguities and qualms she experiences – her trials and tribulations – and how she deals with them.

I loved the way the characters have been brought to life.

Sample this succinct yet revealing description of Sona’s mother Kamla – in a dialogue – as Sona talks to her mother:

“You must be the only mother I know who doesn’t want her daughter to get married…”

The characterization is so convincing that it is quite evident that all the characters in the novel are based on real-life persons in the novelist’s life – or persons she has closely observed in her life (don’t they say that “fiction is a dramatized version of reality…?”).

The narrative adroitly describes the dynamic interactions between the main protagonist Sona and the various characters in her life – and – the story vividly depicts the interesting “Bends and Turns” they bring about in Sona’s eventful life.

The relationship of her mother’s lover (Brigadier Vikrant Singh) with Sona has been shown very sensitively – and – his poignant entry and his subtle exit from Sona’s life have been wonderfully executed.

The characters of Rajeev (Sona’s husband), Nafisa (Sona’s friend) and Shubhendu (Sona’s colleague) have been wonderfully portrayed.

The only character who doesn’t seem authentic is “Chibba” (a terrorist) – in fact – the sub-plot about Sona and Chibba seems rather out of place in the story and could have been avoided.

I wish the lovemaking scene between Kamla and Vikrant Singh had been infused with much more rousing passion to bring out the sensuous yearning between the two separated lovers.

“They undressed each other hurriedly, making love urgently and hungrily…”

Well – this sounds rather clichéd – doesn’t it…?

It seems that author is in a hurry to get the lovemaking scene done and over with – rather than let the romance and sensual passion climax and blossom in an unhurried style.

But – one must give full credit to the author for the way she has dexterously resumed the main narrative once she has got over with this “inconvenient” piece of writing.

The book is easy to read and the font is comfortable to the eyes.

But – at some places – the editing is quite slipshod with sentences broken up into paragraphs – but – these insignificant glitches do not affect the readability.

However – these minor blemishes don’t matter in this most engrossing story – yes – this novel flows well – the narration is fast paced – and – the book has the PTQ (Page Turning Quality) to keep the reader gripped from start to finish.  

The interplay of characters and skillfully designed sub-plots make the story very absorbing.

Well – Dear Reader – I am not going to tell you Sona’s Story – for that – you will have to read “Bends and Turns”.

The writer of this novel Leena Chandorkar is well-versed in English Literature – she is a proficient wordsmith and a published author – but – “Bends and Turns” is her first work of fiction – and indeed – she has made a very impressive debut into the world of creative writing.

Sincere writing, well etched characters and engrossing storytelling style lend an air of authenticity to the novel. 

In a nutshell – “Bends and Turns” is a delightful read and a thought-provoking novel.

I commend the book – I loved reading “Bends and Turns” – and – I am sure that you will enjoy reading it too. 

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