Monday, 17 April 2017

Book Review: The Poison of Love by K.R. Meera.

Book: The Poison of Love

Author: K.R. Meera

Translated By: Ministhy. S from Malayalam

Pages: 176

Read On: Hardback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days.

Publisher: Penguin Random House India 

Plot Summary: When Tulsi first meets Madhav, she is irrevocably drawn to his chiselled good looks and charm. Although wary of his many dalliances and the string of broken hearts left in his wake, she is surprised by the intense desire that Madhav arouses in her. And before long, she forsakes her family, her prospective career, her fiancĂ©—all for the love of this inscrutable man. But love can be like poison. And nothing can prepare Tulsi for the heartache and betrayal that lie ahead. 

Years later, Tulsi escapes to the ancient city of Vrindavan, seeking redemption amidst the cries and prayers of its anguished widows. However, when her past catches up with her, old wounds resurface with dramatic consequences. 

General Thoughts: I am always looking to read more regional literature and more translated work. And this book comes highly recommended and highly raved about. I've been meaning to read something by this author and this was the one I started with because the premise was the most interesting to me. 

Things I Liked: 

1. I enjoyed the writing style and how intense and powerful the prose was. I also thought that the translation was superbly done and I can only imagine how wonderful the writing must be in it's original form. 

2. Call me crazy but stories about  women making bad romantic decisions always draws me in. I think it's a cautionary tale at it's very best and I am a huge fan of cautionary tales. 

3. Love stories when told well are interesting. A love turned sour...even more so. This book tells the story of love that went from good to bad to bitter and poisonous and it keeps you riveted. 

4. Tulsi/ Meera's character is interesting. She is not entirely likeable--at least to me. Yet she is compelling and she is someone you don't forget in a hurry. She sticks with you, her choices, her actions, her desperation and her bitterness all leave a mark. She is  wonderfully and evocatively written. 

5. The thing I loved best was perhaps the alluding to Krishna and Meera. Meera who loved a man beyond her reach and loved him above all else. Isn't it a kind of madness? Maybe it's the shrink in me trying to diagnose and label behaviour but if you think about it, really pause and think about what Meera did. Her love obscured every other feeling and facet of her life. Her love for Krishna defined her and continues to define her. And isn't love, all love an act of madness? 
n this little novella, Tulsi loves Madhav (one of Krishna's 108 names) to a point of oblivion. She is in fact blind to his manipulations and his deceit and treachery. 
I love Lord Krishna, it may sound strange but he is one of my favourite Gods in Hindu mythology. But this version and this interpretation of Krishna was a tad bit cruel but interesting nonetheless. 

6. At the beginning of the book we meet Meera sadhu, living an austere life in Vrindavan- the city teeming with widows. What led her here? How did a young, educated woman from a good family end up living like a near destitute? They questions and the subtle intrigue they pose keeps you hooked and turning pages. 

7. It might sound superfluous but this book is physically absolutely beautiful. It is gorgeous and incredibly well made. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

Overall, this is a book I enjoyed and would recommend you pick up. 
But some things did irk me. 
The book is does require a bit of a strong stomach. I don't know what to trigger warning it as but some portions of the book is pretty stomach churning. The descriptions of ants eating corpses...well they weren't my favourite. I also highly recommend you don't pair this book and a meal together! Oh hell no! 
Also the descriptions of the widows home and their living situation wasn't entirely pleasant, so if that stuff makes you this book with caution. 

Rating: 3/5 

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