Shadow In The Mirror
I have read a number of short stories by Deepti Menon and am a fan of her writing and that’s the reason I was keen to read this full-fledged novel by her. After ensuring from the author herself that it’s not a horror but a psychological thriller, I got myself a copy. I must mention that the cover is awesome.
I found the opening chapter so fast and gripping and got pulled into the story. The author’s English is flawless and she sure can spin a story.
The story begins with the death of a pregnant Nita. Nita has everything going for her. She’s the only daughter of a rich businessman, married to Krish, a man she’s in love with and she’s become pregnant after seven years of marriage. Then why would she commit suicide?
Journalist Vinny goes snooping. And she comes across a note that says that Nita has been murdered. Vinny goes to talk to Nita’s businessman father.
I will not give more details to avoid spoilers.
The one major plus I found in the book is the way the murderer's character has been built. That's the only strong thread to the story.
When I read a story, I would like to connect with at least one of the protagonists. What I got here is a number of characters flitting in and out of the story at different timelines, not making an impact. For example, what was Roma’s role? Or Meghna’s and Rohit’s for that matter?
As I understood the story, Nita is a few years younger than Roma, who’s the same age as Vinny. If that were the case, how did the story end the way it did?
At one point, the story takes a leap from one chapter to another without connection. I was thrown as I didn’t understand why the story moved to that timeline. There should have been a connection for sure. It was missing.
There are at least three sets of deaths by accidents. In a psychological thriller, one would presume that they are connected. But no, it’s just random accidents going on happening in the lives of the characters.
I could understand why Meghna ran away. But how did Vinny find her? There’s no explanation in the story for that. If an explanation is not required, then we didn’t need the character at all.
The book could have been improved with better editing, maybe chopping off unnecessary characters, making the story flow smoother. Also, most of the story was narration. It was all telling and no showing.
It all begins with a death. Nita, a pregnant woman falling from her balcony becomes the string that unravels the plot. Her death casts a shadow over many lives; her heartbroken father, her husband and Vinny, a young journalist, drawn in by the whiff of foul play and murder.
What follows are stories within stories, eras and worlds colliding with each other, leaving behind splintered relationships and mesmerizing slices of lives that appear to be drawn together and driven apart by the whimsical threads of destiny.
As events cast their shadows ahead to link the stories of Vinny, Kavita, Roma, Krish and Nita in an unrelenting knot, a journey starts to uncover the truth. What is the secret that links Nita’s death to the other characters? Will Vinny be able to unravel the mystery of Nita’s death?
From intimate diary entries and letters, to bantering over a meal and sharing memories while spring cleaning, this novel de-familiarizes the ordinary, presenting a kaleidoscope of our own pasts, broken edges and pulsating hearts.
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About the Author
Deepti Menon has always believed in the power of the pen. Having done her post graduation in English Literature and her B.Ed. in English, she had the option of teaching and writing, and did both with great enjoyment. She started writing at the age of ten, long before she acquired a Diploma in Journalism. She also had the advantage of being an Army kid, and later an Army wife, and loved the idea of travelling around India, meeting new people and acquiring new skills. She firmly believes that much of her personality was honed during those travels.
In 2002, her light hearted book, ‘Arms and the Woman’, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa Publishers, Delhi. This was written mainly to reveal the warmth and camaraderie within the great institution. She is now working on her second book that is a work of fiction, and not- to-be divulged yet!