Unsettled: The Search for Love and Meaning

Unsettled Cover

Author’s Name: Neelima Vinod

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I am trying to read more of Indian authors these days. This novella is a step towards that goal. I must say I was tantalized by reading the blurb of the book. I have read a lot of Vampire stories, but never a one set in India. One of the major reason I selected this book was because it showed the paranormal in Indian settings.

Synopsis

Unsettled is a story which mixes past and present. In present Divya’s marriage is crumbling all around her. To salvage her relationship, she goes to a marriage counselor, Dr. Ray, who tells her that solution to her problem lies in the old haunted house of her childhood, whose story still lingers in her dreams. He convinces Raghav and Divya to go to that house, where the legend says that the scroll of love is hidden.

That’s how we move to the story of Tathri, a Yakshi or a vampire seductress who haunts the house and guards those scrolls. As the pages pass, we encounter different faces of Tathri– a lonely woman searching for love, a scorned woman trying to find her lover in words, a daughter worrying her mother, and a female yearning for companionship.

What I liked

Language of the book: This book is so lyrical that without reading the author’s bio, I knew that it’s written by a poet. I won’t say that the book is perfect in every aspect, but then the words are so engrossing that one won’t be too hard-pressed to notice the problems.

I loved many parts of the book, but my absolute favorite was the description of broken marriage in the beginning.

The couple hadn’t said the D word yet. She had written the word down on pieces of paper (then crumpled it up, too schoolgirlish), typed it into an email (then deleted it, in case he forwarded it to Anu), texted it into her mobile (but it looked ridiculous in the confines of the smaller-than-her-palm screen).

Another sentence which stayed in my mind long after finishing the book was

He had read somewhere that when you fall out of love with your spouse, you fall out of love with your house too.

Tathri: I know Yakshis are legends, but until I read the book, I wasn’t aware about the beliefs regarding them. But as I read through the pages, I could see her in a sari, trying to seduce the males to fulfill her needs. The character, in itself, is interesting, and the author’s treatment of her is superb.

What irked me

Loose threads of the story: Even though the story is intriguing, there were a few portions which left me feeling unsatisfied. They were hinted at, but not closed by the end. Like Dr. Ray. I wanted to know what was he, and who he really was, but what I get in the end was only a hint of what he could be! Similarly Tathri’s death in past was left open. I never could really get what made her a Yakshi.

Fast forwarded confrontations:  This might not be everybody’s complaints, but I felt that the scenes between Raghav and Tathri happened too fast. I didn’t get the time to savor their closeness. Even the proximity between Divya and Raghav felt a bit rushed towards the ending.

Overall Opinion

This book could have been better if the plot was tightened a bit, but despite this flaw, it’s a treat to read because of the language and feelings poured in the words. Its words has power to transport a reader into an absolutely different world.

Ratings

Three Stars

 

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