The first thing that struck me about ‘Unravelling Anjali‘ by Nim Gholkar was its cover. It has a lovely ombre effect of reddish-orange tints and in the centre is the back of a girl. But instead of skin, her back is composed of jigsaw puzzles that are waiting to connect and fit into place. It is a very dynamic cover, which catches the eye of the reader. But if only the book lived up to this standard set by the cover.
The book is about Anjali, as the title suggests. She has married an NRI boy, Ravi and just arrived at Australia to live with him. In a foreign land, filled with exotic people, different cultures and weird accents, she first looks to her husband for support and guidance. But unfortunately, Ravi is engrossed in his work and is the typical ‘get rich or die trying’. He fails to devote time to his wife and Anjali is left to fend for herself. She eventually manages to find footing, forming a set of close friends, finding a job and so on. But alas, the one thing she craves the most eludes her: her husband’s love. And then, she meets Jack Ellis. He is her quintessential knight-in-shining armor. Sparks fly and a vulnerable Anjali is caught in the middle. She now is left a choice and that could change the lives of three of them forever.
The book is extremely easily to read. Though it is meant to be journal entries, it feels like narration of stories. There are various characters that prevent you from getting bored. There are the typical characters, such as the strict mother-in-law, the floozy Naina, the cute Jack and so on. And then there are the highly intriguing characters like the quiet, thoughtful Vibha, the logical Shehnaaz and Anjali’s parents. The Maharashtrian culture is brought out well, with trinklets sprinkled here and there. The interesting part about the book is the fact that it ultimately propagates well a grey picture of the world and about how decision that you take is a conscious choice.
On the downside, the book feels like a replica of the movie ‘English Vinglish’, in many ways. The parts about finding self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as the good Indian wife make the reader reminiscent about the movie. The book, as a whole did not offer any take-aways that were unheard of, or new. By the end, things you knew were reinforced, while not much new was learnt.
The author must be complimented in the ease of language and writing that seems to come naturally. For a debut novel, the flow and narration of the book are impressive. I wish the story was a bit more ingenious and novel.
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here: