Wednesday, January 21, 2015

No Bollywood Fairy Tale Here

Title:  A Bad Character  Author:  Deepti Kapoor
Title:  A Bad Character
Author:  Deepti Kapoor
Publisher:  Knopf

I've read books before which have modern day female Indian protagonists, but they all seem like Bollywood meets Chick Lit. This one isn't a Bollywood fairy tale.

This is a challenging and emotional read, the depth of which far surpasses its scant physical length. Our narrator tells her story poetically - short bursts of lyrical writing that sometimes feel almost more like prose poetry than anything else. The storytelling is disjointed, moving between different times, places, and even emotional states. She's isolated and striving for something, anything, that makes her feel wanted and relevant.

A character in and of itself, India is frightening - particularly for a young female. While I saw the beauty and excitement of modern India, I also felt intently its seedy undercurrent. It seems, in the book, a country where some insidious thing sneaks up on you until it devours you.

Frightening as the book makes it seem, India is also presented as thoroughly modern, a place where ambition rules and makes things happen, though almost always for men.

I ended the book feeling drained, uncomfortable, and a little hopeless. I realize this is one person's view of modern India, and I hope it's colored by the perception of our isolated narrator, but this isn't an India I would want to visit - much less live in.

Well written, disturbing, and a window into a world I'm not sure I want to visit. Just note, you may need a palate cleanser of something incredibly innocent after this one.

*ARC Provided via Amazon Vine Program

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