A compelling novel of epic proportions

2012-03-21 00:00

AWARD-WINNING author Manju Kapur has written a compelling novel of epic proportions, dealing with divorce and custody. The main characters in the novel, Raman and Shagun, were married for a good few years, had an idyllic family life and two lovely children. Then Shagun meets Raman’s successful manager, and their lives spiral out of control. He begins his pursuit of her, and soon she reciprocates with dire consequences.

Their lives begin to fall apart, as Shagun naively neglects her children and deceives her husband. She is eventually caught out by a private detective her husband employs, after his suspicions are aroused. The children’s lives are affected considerably. Perplexed 11-year-old Arjun is posted off to a boarding school by his mum and her new partner, while the two-year-old Roohi is sent to preschool. At first, the father has no say in these matters due to a dawdling and inefficient legal system. The estranged couple ultimately divorce, Shagun relocates to the United States, and a painful custody trial ensues. Both parents remarry, and despite the fact that they love their children, it cannot undo the internal damage they have caused them. These children are literally tossed to and fro, and what may seem like a blissful ending for all adults concerned, is actually a disaster to these siblings.

What I like about Kapur’s writing is the manner in which she makes you feel myriad feelings, without ever pointing to the obvious. Her writing is enthralling and she has the gift of taking sombre subject matter and vigilantly dissecting it for the reader. Kapur is the author of five well-received novels, including Custody. A must read.

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