A warm, witty, gloriously realistic novel about living, loving and losing weight.
You’ll be disappointed if you pick up this book for a weight loss regime. Devapriya Roy has presented a story that is layered heavily and woven intricately around a lot of characters tossed together in Nancy Housing Society.
Do you live in a Housing Society where various characters co-exist? I bet you have already labelled the ones you know or see regularly – maybe the weird uncle or the gossip aunty, the chatty teenager or the most unruly kid moving around. Devapriya has gone ahead and written about them.
Nancy Housing Society is a quiet, new place hosting some interesting characters. There’s a catty and rude mother-in-law enjoying the most of her hierarchy and her submissive daughter-in-law flashing her strength in sparks. There is the quintessential Bengali family trying hard to find a groom for their daughter, there’s the daughter who’s flabby and pursuing a doctorate degree, doesn’t want to get married to any random guy. There’s an Anglo-Indian couple trying to cope with their marital problems. There is an obsessive-compulsive mother fretting over her sons’ studies. Above all, there’s the mystic saadhvi Sandhya who was a hippie in her previous life.
They sound interesting, don’t they?
The story moves forward so smoothly that you will find it irresistible to put it down without finding more. Apu and Meera are introduced beautifully and form the central women of the book. They come from different backgrounds, their lives are like chalk and cheese, and yet they share a special bond of friendship. In fact, what attracts me more to this novel is the idea of unequal bonds between odd people, especially women. I loved the character of Apu absolutely, empathised for Meera, got charmed by Ananda, irritated with Mrs Das and intrigued of Sandhya. The layers of complexities in the characters are brought about beautifully through the incidents in their daily lives. Abeer and AJ provide the much needed comic relief in their hilarious dialogues. The mystery of Sandhya’s appearance is unravelled gradually with flashbacks into her life portrayed really well.
There is a little for everyone in this novel. It deals with the contemporary urban problems like arranged marriage, pregnancy problems and oppression of women (by in-laws). None of these are treated in a stoic, serious manner to put off the reader. There is adequate humour and satire wherever required. Devapriya does really well with humour and I wish she’d explore more of it.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about substantial issues wrapped in a lighter note of humour, satire and impeccable flair of language..
— Reviewed By “PRB”
The Weight Loss Club — By Devapriya Roy is the book “In Focus”.