Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sex and Retribution

Rachana Sivadasan
A Pack of Lies
Urmila Deshpande
Price: 295; Pages: 291

First and foremost, you do not feel like touching the book. It is too wet, oops, slimy to say. The colour the reviewer meant, dummy. The you stand vindicated, when the writing is mostly crosses the delicate barrier of pornography and erotica. Oh, well, is it another tale of a nymphomaniac’s account, warts and all? Oh, again, read through, bet. Not the book. This review.
Since this review is written from a women’s point of view, here it goes: A man would like the first half for its salacious details; and a woman would like it for the second half for its escape and facing life. Ooohm, ha. Now here it goes, the continual virtue of the uninvited.
The story revolves around Virginia, or rather Ginny, and her view of the world, first through the cunt (a favourite word she uses all through and where she came from) and then through a well-meaning head-upon-stronger shoulders, whatever you make out to be. It takes the reader lightly, or headily, yet held very close, always bosom-like, through the tumultuous story of childhood lost and never found, tiresome they most of them all.
A circle of friends who stays with them all, with the protagonist throughout her very disturbing growth, whatever it accounts to. Ginny belongs to that great world of glamour and fashion, but, subtly, the author keeps the reader tethered, far away, from the arc lights, treating us, yes us, instead to a myriad flashbacks and events of a heart-wrenching quality, of uselessness, we are not sure.
It’s an oft-repeated tale of lost childhood and a broken family, and trying hard to regain that loss, which loss is not anyone’s prerogative. What holds true is this very simple story together, put together, is Ms Urmila Deshpande’s use of the language, which is simple, you know… filling the gap for the reader and to make the reader, for, for the protagonist.
The storyline meanders along like the 80’s obsession with Anglo-Indian (or is Anglo-Saxon?) themes, were alcoholism was a common vice and young girls got carried away with sexual interludes and almost ruin their lives. If you have watched the movie Julie, the one with the south Indian actress Lakshmi doing the honours, well, then, you have a little bit of a background with a bit of Fashion thrown in.
Character sketches are done with a lot of detail; good. There’s the creepy old man of a photographer who almost messes with Ginny’s life, taking her under his wing. The loyal man-buddy, Roy, and Bree that close girlfriend without whom no girl is complete. Millie and Simi, the half-sisters, come out clear and there is no extra frill to highlight any nuance of their natures. The author deserves due credit for economy of melodrama when it could have been stretched out to fill another hundred pages.
Definitely a woman’s world dissected for study, Ginny is never described in complete detail. The reader is left clueless, looking for meaning (or insights?) into the fact that she has fizzy hair, of all the things, aha, and she never feels comfortable in her skin, thanks to the ugly duckling syndrome, ahem.
A mix of Mills and Boons, should we say, and an emotional pot-boiler, at its best, A Pack of Lies makes sure that the reader gets the required amount of the thrills in just about every sphere; well, barring science fiction and history. Good to keep you for a day-long train journey — you know, if you are a woman or a man, not necessarily in that order, curious about the ‘womanly torments’; which the author is in full command of.
-- Sahara Time


Insurrection said...

Mr. Frog books.... mind ur lang about Urmila deshpande... u btr read her mother's books den comment... u btrrr reopen the history of both Ms. Urmila Deshpande and her super mother gauri deshpande ....understanding urmila's book is not ur cup of TEA ...
what kind of shit ur writing on this blog :P

Ria said...

since when did one have to read a mother and then cum to understand the child's genius... hereditary writing talents? wow! somebody seems so bugged!you need to be resurrected..from the DEAD! Please wake..please wake up!