The Sheen Of An Underbelly

Posted: July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Edge of Desire

Saaz Aggarwal, a writer and painter who lives in Pune feels that the best thing about ‘The Edge of Desire’ is that though it is written by a man; the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the woman protagonist seem very authentic. Read what else she says about the book.

Not since The White Tiger has a book gripped me in this particular way, engaging me with both its plot and language, and overcoming me with a sinking feeling at the false image so many of us live with of life in India.

The Edge of Desire

What do we know of kala azar, a chronic and potentially fatal parasitic disease transmitted by sand-fly that afflicts thousands in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar? That in India only one of fifty rape cases is reported; that only one of five reported are convicted? That being an illegal migrant is a privilege because it offers certain dubious opportunities to officers of the state administration? That the so-called tribals who support the ‘Naxal’ movement, who are not even aware of modern techniques of agriculture, can somehow handle modern ammunition?

These are some of the issues that this fast-paced and well-written book offers, along with a range of information about India, from the early politics of Kashmir to the qualities of the god Krishna, to our vapid and rather pointless method of celebrating Independence Day.
What I liked best about this book The Edge of Desire is that it is written by a man, and the voice of his heroine – her thoughts, feelings and actions – are so very authentic. Shruti starts off as a journalist and in this book, as she evolves first into a politician and then into a convict, we get to see her suffer deceit in a committed relationship, then rape by a group of strangers, then frustration in what started off as a promising marriage. When finally a complicated situation seems likely to bring her happiness at last – that disintegrates too.
What I did not like was that the quality deteriorated towards the end, starting with an unlikely and clumsily-described event between Shruti and a younger woman, after which it became rather weak and sketchy.

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