My hunt for good Indian stories continues, and when I saw this slim little novel in the bookstore, the word “Gypsy” in the title called out to me. The butterflies too. So even though the word “masala” in its extreme attempt at Indianess grated, it was 2 for and 1 against.
Evita (Molu) is tired of the nine-to-five life that she feels trapped in. She is about to have a breakdown after her engagement is broken off when she find out that her fiancé was cheating on her. But when she starts following the beat of a different drum, she can access her dreams and find ways to make them come true. This is Preethi Nair’s debut novel which has a very interesting story about how she got it published.
This is a story about dreams, family, relationships and forgiveness. The story started very slow, not very impressive or interesting… In the first few pages, Evita comes across as a mess, slightly spoilt and rather unable to get a grip. I found myself unable to like her because I felt that a solution to all her problems was quite within her reach. I usually love magic realism, but in this story, I didn’t feel like it worked. But as I read on, however, I began to warm up to the characters and their stories.
The story is told from 3 points of view – Evita, her aunt Sheila and uncle Bali, who adopted Evita after her parents died. Their stories are about dreams, disappointments, loving and letting go, marriage and family.
The characters are very familiar and easy to relate to – not exactly novel, but that’s what makes them likeable. Evita, to me was the least favourite part in spite of the magical adventure she has while following the African dancer.
I got worried seeing a glimpse of Allie Mc Beal in the beginning, (remember the Ooga chaka?) but I needn’t have worried because the rest of it was a lovely read. Follow your dreams is the moral of the story, and I think we can’t hear that enough.
Shiela and Bali’s parts were where I really felt myself getting immersed in their stories. While Evita runs off to follow her dreams, she galvanises Sheila and Bali also to go looking for theirs. Shiela is the little girl who was left behind and Bali the man who got hurt too badly to love anyone ever again.
Nair’s journey to becoming a published writer is very interesting and rather a testament to the message of the book – follow your dreams and they will come true.
Definitely recommended. Stay with it through the less than great start and you are bound to enjoy it.
I am intrigued – the writing is rich and evocative – will be getting my hands on more books by this author.