Genre – Fiction
Author – Gayathri Prabhu
Pages – 185
Publisher – HarperCollins India
Rating – 5/5
Sixty-six years of a lifetime gone.
There would be no funeral. He had donated his body to the local medical college. It was part of his script, his fantasy about death. He would show his hospital donation certificate to anyone who came to our house. No rituals for me, he would announce. To his mind, there was some justice in being cut up by medical students. He had wanted to be a doctor.
There is his corpse, lying on the floor, people constantly milling around, talking about his untimely, unfortunate death, while I stare at everyone in dry-eyed annoyance. He had always been a popular man, much-loved, generous to a fault to his neighbors, even if angry towards his own family. I just want him gone from the house. When the van from the morgue comes to pick him up, everyone urges us to touch his feet, to ask for his blessings. It is expected from the children of dead parents. Everyone watches us.
You first, an old man points to me, my father’s first-born.
I bend down, my fingers touch his feet.
In my mind the words form, loud and distant – I forgive you.
If I had to tell it again is a museum of memories where certain pieces of art leaves us feeling emphathy and teary-eyed while some are so palpable that it resonates in our heart perhaps leaving its mark perpetually.
It is a self narration elucidating the beautiful yet deteriorating relationship between a father and daughter. I said beautiful because that’s how relationships are, they are weaved with care and love but there are also flaws, expectations, fragility, selfishness on the other side of the coin. The book is written with an array of beautiful words and ocsillates between first person and third person narrative; comprising of five parts covered in 185 pages.
It explores and brings out the crucial matters pervading in our Indian families yet being surreptitiously ignored – mental illness, child sexual abuse and domestic violence.
I would not recommend this book to any person who loves to read light hearted content but definitely to people who have fought, lost, won and will fight again. I love this book (to the extent of recommending it to my college professor) and though I couldn’t read it at once and may be even you wouldn’t especially if you could relate to it but once you are done reading it you will definitely find yourself moving away from the prominent lines of dark memories to a tiny line of hope and courage perhaps not now but surely some day.
Thanks a lot HarperCollins India for giving me this book to review as it now belongs to one of my treasured book collections.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
Gayathri Prabhu is an Indian novelist who currently resides in Manipal, Karnataka. Prabhu holds a MA degree in Mass Communication from Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, an MPhil in Creative writing from Swansea University in the United Kingdom and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in the United States.
You can buy this book from amazon.in.