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  BOOK  
     
 
   
An unforgettable book
     
  Meetu Tewari  
  Lessons in Forgetting
Anita Nair
HarperCollins
329 Pages, Rs 399

ANITA NAIR is a popular Indian-English writer who was born in Kerala. Her first book -- a collection of short stories -- was 'Satyr of the Subway'. She also wrote 'The Better Man and Mistress'.

'Lessons in Forgetting' is her latest offering, a novel she wanted to be light reading which anyone could follow. It is a novel focusing on themes such as parenthood, marriage and relationships.

When the novel opens we are introduced to Meera, the cool and composed successful corporate wife who also writes cook books and who is suddenly faced with the dilemma of a disappeared husband.

While Meera strives to keep control of things and keeps her emotions in check, Prof. J. Krishnamurthy or Jak is an expressive and deep man who has returned to India from the US to find out what happened to his elder daughter.

A lot of expectation is built up as the novel progresses as to what has happened to Shruti, Jak's daughter. The truth, when revealed, is melodramatic and anti-climatic.

Throwing in the worrisome trend of female foeticide, though a noble cause, completely fails the plot. Everything seems too exaggerated.

Despite this shortcoming, the author has succeeded in writing an engaging novel. A novel where the protagonists have their worlds swept away like the havoc a cyclone wreaks, and yet destiny and their own determination helps them find their way to happiness again.

Anita Nair especially wished to focus on this element of lives being torn apart and being rebuilt, the way people rebuild their homes once a cyclone destroys them. In this instance a cyclone (the meeting of hot and cold air produces it) is representative of the two main characters, Meera the cool wife and the intense Jak.

The relationship between parents and children has been touchingly described. The novel also has an array of colorful characters, from Meera's mother and grandmother to the struggling actor to Vinnie. Though some of them are too typical and stereotyped, these characters lend the novel its own rich flavor.

Interjecting the novel with excerpts on cyclones and their nature is a unique touch which works to the advantage of the novel. Similarly the constant comparison of Meera to Hera is a singularly artistic achievement of the author.

'Lessons in Forgetting' succeeds in being a light novel which anyone can enjoy reading. It is again a hopeful novel and the reader is left with a tantalizing hint that, in the end, things do turn out well for the protagonists. The plot may not be very intelligent and the ending anti-climatic after the elaborate efforts to build up suspense but the novel is still recommended, if you can leave your skepticism behind.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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