Book Review

The Lilac-House by Anita Nair

The Lilac-House  by  Anita Nair
The Lilac House by Anita Nair

Introduction:

At first, I try Anita Nair’s A Cut Like Wound and feel it is the book-form of the movie Murder-2. I feel despaired and hopeless, so I decided to try another novel of her to get a concept of her writer’s character. Whenever I read a literary piece I try to frame a concept about the author whom I have never met. From his or her writing I can get familiar with the thread of thoughts, observation power, prowess in probing human character, and a mundane touch of snobbish vanity. And this is the way for me – to fall in love with a character as well as the writer. And that splendid sense of adoration and love keeps my heart filled. I read The Lilac House… no I do not that in its real sense as after a few chapters’ diligent drudgeries finally, I give up…give up for the better. I can not relate to the characters as well as their lives. Then there are the dragging monotonous storylines. The characters like locusts, and swarms in the chapters and I lose the thread now and then. It seems to me that she rigorously dips her pen in Virginia Woolf’s Stream of Consciousness style and yanks her characters to drive here & there propelling them by her whims of imagination.

Synopsis:

Meera is the protagonist. She is a forty-four years old, educated housewife with two children, a daughter and a son. She is also a writer of a cookbook. Suddenly she is left in utter dismay when her Giri husband left her one September day – – – he vanished– without keeping a note – a reason.

After the initial turmoil subsided Meera stood erect. She found a job as a research assistant to a Professor of Cyclones at the University of Florida.

Meera had no identity till then. In her childhood, she came to the Lilac House with her mother when lost her father. There she lived with her mother and grandmother. And in this women dominated feminine world Giri came one day. He fell in love with Meera chasing a goose as much as he fell in love with the house – Lilac House. But then he was ignorant of the fact that the house was on the lease, not a property. He started living in that house before getting vanished.

Meera represents a typical Indian Middle-class wife… happy, self-satisfied and blindly faithful, depending on her husband.

 

Alvina’s Verdict:

The reference or allusion to Hera and Zeus from Greek mythology seems to me just ostentatiousness of knowledge and no practical relation. Meera’s struggles to stand upright in her life, and her communication with her children to make them understand the situation… are perfect in character building and plot development. But even then I can not feel Meera within me. Maybe, the author has taken the sustenance from mundane Indian soil but kept it confined in the corporate world. That’s why it falls flat into monotony lacking Universal appeal. For the second time, Anita Nair disappointed me.

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