Comfortably Numb

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Published on: 08/29/16 1:13 PM

Book review: A Handbook for My Lover by Rosalyn D`Mello

This is more a brief take than review.

A Handbook For My Lover by Rosalyn D`Mello

Excerpt: You are my joy and my suffering; my jury, executioner and judge. you insist on pushing me to the edge of the cliff, even nudging me on occasion. You make me falter with my speech. I feel the ground slipping under my feet, and just as I am about to fall off the precipice, you draw out  a safety rope and pull me into the safety net of your embrace. 

It`s an outpour of words, an outpour of emotions. D`Mello infuses the book with such intensity, the reader needs to look away from time to time, to slowly absorb the reality around them, then sink back into the ardency on the page. But then, the author is one who in her own words, `continues to expose her heart to too much sunlight and let it roam naked at night.`

So there she is, this  young girl with a much older paramour, and I use the word advisedly. The course of their relationship but of course does not run smooth and the Handbook is a record of all the tumult contained within that relationship. I wish I had never met you. You`ve been nothing but an inconvenience, she writes.

Both of them enter the relationship seeking just the physical; what they eventually forge is a bonding on both the physical as well as the mental level. Is it the lasting kind? The author isn`t too sure of that, too sure of where she stands in the beginning but by the last page of the book, both she and the reader understand that the two of them seem to be in for the long haul. You weren`t prepared for the ordinariness of everyday love, she writes feelingly, then adds, neither was I.

Yes, there is more than a touch of the self-indulgent here but then, that is the nature of memoirs like this. D`Mello quotes from sources as varied as Barthes, Alain de Botton, Anais Nin, Kamala Das, Chris Krau, Plath, Sartre and de Beauvoir among others, but in the end, what you get is the account of a woman, a man and the complexities of their everyday love.  The erotic nature of the narrative seems almost incidental.

A Handbook For My Lovererotic literaturerelationshipsRosalyn D`Mello

Sheila Kumar • August 29, 2016

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