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Published on: 11/15/16 10:19 AM

Book review: Turtle Dove by Divya Dubey


Turtle Dove, A collection of Bizarre tales by Divya Dubey, Readomania Publications

It is indeed a rare soul who does not pick up a book that promises to explore bizarre matters between its pages.

Turtle Dove, Divya Dubey`s slim but interesting offering, takes us on a walk alongside the undertow of life, lets us see the damp moss, the lichen-stained barnacles, the serrations and cracks in the human soul. There are six stories in this collection, and as the reader delves further and further into the characters` psyche, gaining an understanding of just why these people behave the way they do, she doesn’t turn away in disgust; rather, she understands even as she is repelled. Therein lies Dubey`s deft touch.

So we have characters like the boy whose descent into the well of wildness is so gradual as to be almost innocuous. The traps close tight about him as he sinks deeper into depravity and soon, there is no turning back, or so he thinks. But everyone gets a second chance, and so does he; only, the matrix of memories never quite frees him from the attendant trauma and guilt, both of which he is condemned to live with forever.

Another character in another story is in major denial of his sexual ambiguity. There is a homoerotic betrayal that ends in a catastrophe; the victim`s family mourns him in ignorance, the protagonist mourns all they have lost. There is a young woman guilt-tripping on the deep dislike, which quickly heats into hatred, which she feels for her grandmother. The two circle each other warily, dealing each other body blows that grow in intensity. This of course is a lose-lose situation and both inevitably end up losing their peace of mind, their equanimity, their capacity for love.

Another story and another character, this time the mysterious, charming yet faintly sinister Bakhtiar who befriends a family in a slum…is he all he makes himself out to be? Then there is betrayal of another kind, a casual unthinking betrayal between friends, each carrying her own cache of troubles within her. The last story which gives the book its title is quite the most disturbing of the collection, opening a door to a family`s secret desires and longings. Even as the reader can guess what`s coming, there is a sense of inevitability about the way all the characters hurtle towards disaster.

The takeaway? Why, that all of us have a thin line dividing the good, the normal in us from the bad, the rotten, the twisted side. And some of us cross that line with devastating consequences.

bizarreDivya Dubeyshort storiesTurtle Dove

Sheila Kumar • November 15, 2016

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