HERE is a love story by an author who has a doctorate in contemporary British literature and whose first novel titled, In Beautiful Disguises, won the Betty Trask Prize in 1999. The novel begins on a Saturday, a warm day when Lisha discovers she is in love, while standing at a bus shelter in Stonewall and while facing a wall of graffiti. The bus comes and she climbs in. She reaches the cinema hall and while climbing the steps, she sees Shashi running down the staircase at an extraordinary speed, with his shirt in his left hand. He is an actor, re-enacting a scene from ‘Rocky II’, when he notices Lisha. They go together to a gift shop to buy two tickets.
Shashi’s father, a doctor in the village clinic, had died years earlier when Shashi was four-years old. Now Shashi lives with Rahul, his elder brother. His family and Lisha’s family are like one. Lisha’s parents own a wine shop on the village green outside it. In short, this book presents a picture of post-traumatic breakdown and a timely critique of our modern culture which thrives on the names and success of celebrities. The central characters of the novel are Shashi and Lisha who unite not only across time and space, but also across death itself.
(HarperCollins Publishers, A-53, Sector 57, Noida-201 301; www.harpercollins.co.in) -MG