Monday, 30 May 2016

Book Review: Strangers to Ourselves by Shashi Deshpande.




Book: Strangers to Ourselves

Author: Shashi Deshpande

Pages: 365

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 3 days

Plot Summary: She is an oncologist whose days are driven by the desire to alleviate pain. He is a rising star in the musical world, whose life is governed by his art. Yet, all it takes is one meeting for everything to change.

Set in Mumbai, Shashi Deshpande's new novel tells the story of an unlikely love between two unusual people. Tender and tempestuous by turns, it draws you into the conflicts, languid pleasures and sharp sorrows of falling in love with a stranger who can never entirely be yours.
General Thoughts: I really enjoy Shashi Deshpande's writing. Even though her books are often drenched in melancholia. But I love the way she writes and the people she writes about. This is her newest book and I liked the sound of it. Also this seemed almost like a love-story, so I was curious to see how Shashi Deshpande treated a love story.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing and the style of story-telling was superlative as always.

2. The main premise of the book is the falling in love of two very different people. A jaded and love-weary oncologist and a rising star in classical music, who is optimistic and simple in matter of the heart. It was interesting to see how two such different world views come together and fall into a relationship.

3. The book being centred around an oncologist, there is a lot of talk Cancer and it's treatment and the toll it takes on the patient and the human body and how much survivors fight to battle this disease. This too was handled brilliantly by the author.

4. The best part of this book was the story within the story. There is Ahalya's Story interspersed with our love story and I loved it. A woman who lived over a 100 years ago and lived a hard life. It was just such a treat to have her life story as a bonus in this book.

5. The book apart from our main narrative and Ahalya's story, also had so many other wonderful characters and each of them have their own story and journey and I really enjoyed all of these snippets.

6. There are so many wonderful families in this book. Families of all shapes and sizes and across time periods but families that love and support each other. I absolutely loved this aspect of the book. I love reading about families and this book being full of them made me very happy.

7. I loved how Aparna thinks and mulls over her new relationship. It was shown so well, her being unsure and questioning her feelings for Shree Hari and even her future with him. This was shown in the most real way.

8. The people in this book and how wonderful and warm and kind they are was such a treat to read about them and get to know them. Especially the women in this book, Aparna, Jyoti, Mira, Taimavshi and of course Ahalya, are just wonderfully crafted strong women characters.

9. There is a wonderful little twist in the end which I simply adored.

10. There is a lot of classical music mentioned in this book and it made me want to delve into some raagas and alaaps and learn more about Hindustani Classical music.

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. Well...I didn't like Shree Hari. He is the most un-leading man leading man character I've ever read. He isn't vile or anything like that. He is perfectly alright and really nice in some parts. But overall I found him very clingy and needy and him falling in love with Aparna was instantaneously and slightly creepy. Also the way in which he 'courted' her was just too much and to me, felt suffocating.

2. The love-story aspect was thus my least favourite bit in the book. I didn't hate it, it was perfectly readable and largely enjoyable but....it wasn't the thing that kept me hooked!


Rating: 4.5/5

I really loved, loved this book. And I highly recommend it.


No comments: