Sunday, 3 April 2016

Review: Ships That Pass by Shashi Deshpande.


Book: Ships That Pass

Author: Shashi Deshpande

Pages: 127

Read On: Hardback copy pictured above.

How Long it Took Me To Read: A day.

Plot Summary: Ships That Pass tells the story of Tara and Shaan, near strangers to each other after fourteen years of being married, and Tara's sister, Radhika, recently engaged, almost on a whim, to someone she barely knows. Even as Radhika tries to understand how a once ideal marriage has come undone, and struggles with her own feelings for an older man, tragedy strikes: Tara dies in mysterious circumstances and Shaan is arrested for murder. In the aftermath, Radhika realizes that while life may seldom turn out as expected, the only hope lies in finding the courage to take one s chances.  

General Thoughts: I love Shashi Deshpande's work. I have enjoyed all of the books I've read by her. And this novella sounded so good and I spent a lazy Sunday reading this book.

Things I Loved:

1. The writing as always was quiet and slow and beautiful. Lyrical and poignant and wonderful.

2. Marriage--- is there anything else that makes for such good reading? The anatomy of a marriage, especially, one that has been through trials and tribulations and grief and loss makes for intriguing reading.

3. Though short (novella length) this book is nevertheless very impactful and intense. It takes a very good writer to infuse so much intensity into a shorter form of story telling.

4. Radhika, our main character and our look into this world, is at a very relatable and interesting stage of life. After finishing her education and wondering what to do with her life, we've all been there and the sense of ennui is captured perfectly in this book.

5. Even though this book was first published in the 1980s, it doesn't seem dated in the least. The story, it's premise is still very relevant and relatable.

6. Radhika and Shaan's story, their marriage as it is currently and even reading about how it was in the past was interesting to see, to see how it evolved from this great love story to it's current frail state was one of my favourite bits in this book.

7. The tension in this book was palpable and depicted so well. The environment in this home was just fraught with tension and as a reader you are constantly wondering what is about to happen and who is responsible.

8. The things that happen after the death are also shown so well and seem so natural and not over the top at all. The reactions of the family is so on point.

9. The author through Tara's life and her decisions shows us very subtly how one shouldn't give up one's own identity and one's own life and interests and dreams for another. Even if that person is our spouse and we love them. We shouldn't give up so much in order to be with them we that we can't even recognise who we are anymore. Tara is this bright girl who was in medical college and gives it all up to marry Shaan and raise a family. She also loved writing and acting and all these things now lie forgotten in the humdrum of daily life. This is the reality for so many women and made for riveting reading.

10. Most of this story is set in a tiny town and this was a perfect setting for an unraveling marriage and the hint of murder in the air.

Things I Didn't Like: 

Hmmm....wasn't the biggest fan of the ending.
And we aren't given a fully clear picture as to what REALLY happened.
To me that was a little disappointing.

Rating: 3.75/5 

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