Breathing life into prose

Breathing life into prose

BOOK READING

Even if people make an effort to be on time, it is impossible to start any event in the City without some delay. Reading out select passages from the book, theatre people Munira Sen and Phyllis Bose tried hard to breathe life into the turgid prose that was wordy and endlessly descriptive. Each sentence appeared to have at least five to six adjectives woven into it and each scene, object or character is described, re-described ad nauseam leaving no room for the readers’ imagination to fill in the blanks or flesh out the characters in their own minds. Author Shashi Deshpande was also present to discuss the book.
The plot follows the travails of Kaveri, the protagonist of the novel, who is a career woman with a less than perfect marriage to a struggling accountant. Kaveri lives in Delhi and is on a visit to Bangalore to attend a family housewarming. There are plenty of skeletons in the family cupboard that rattle alarmingly at regular intervals and Kaveri’s relationships with her parents, cousins and extended family appear to be both complicated and murky. The characters seem to be devious and conniving with axes to grind or scores to settle. A mix of suspense and family drama, Kaveri herself, is described in the blurb as a ‘devoted daughter and indifferent wife, nominal bank employee and fantasist’.
 The story starts with the death of an elderly uncle at a family function and the author straight away goes on to speculate endlessly about the possible causes of his death and then introduces the reader to the rather unattractive members of her family and her complicated relationships with them. Moving back and forth between Delhi and Bangalore, between first and third person with long descriptive passages either describing the cook or the kitchen, the park or the house where the action takes place, the story meanders on to its final denouement.

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