Book 951 Sashi Deshpande – Small Remedies

First of all the best place to buy this book is from http://www.indiaclub.com. and secondly I’m still not too sure on whether I like this book or not.  Here are the reasons:

Leela is a writer, sent by the small magazine company she works with, to write a biography on the famous singer Savitribai (now known throughout the novel as Bai). Madhu finds out that Bai was her next door neighbour and that she was good friends with her daughter Munni.

From this point on Madhu starts escaped into her torrid past. In fact the more she interviews Bai, the more demons she exorcises until she reaches a state of purity through the power of memory. Honestly to actually give away these events would be churlish of me and I’d rather have you read the book and find out about the the type of life Madhu, and to a certain extent, Bai leads.

Deshpande is an excellent writer and does not go for the obvious. Like Arundhati Roy she gives away bits and pieces, revealing everything in the final chapters of the novel. Also her writing style is elegant and flowing. My gripe is the plot itself, which is way too pessimistic. Sure there are bad moments in life, but it does not consist solely of awful events and Madhu’s life is like some horrific car crash – deaths, affairs, cheaters liars and so on.  True we all suffer in life but not as much as Deshpande’s characters.  It is a downer of a book and there were times where I struggled to finish it.

Yet now reflecting on it you can’t help admire the pure power and honesty of Small Remedies, so as I said i’m still in a limbo stage here.

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