Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 04/29/18 12:55 PM

Book review: The Story of a Long Distance Marriage by Siddesh Inamdar



A marriage of inconvenience

Rohan and Ira are an “unjinxable couple” (Rohan’s words, not mine) and that, of course, tempts fate. Ira goes off to NYC to study, Rohan stays behind at his newspaper desk job, and a series of jinxes proceeds to hit them.

A gulf begins to yawn between them, their arguments are small but significant: in all this, their go-to strategy becomes sidestepping a fight and letting the silence build up. And so it goes.

Rohan spends much of the book reflecting angrily, sulkily, then contritely on the fact that he is not the best husband in the world. The hero is Everyman, but shorn of quirks or wit, he becomes just another unremarkable man on the street. The reader doesn’t quite connect with him; Ira is a tad more spirited but we never quite get the full extent of her marital angst.

Overall, this is a sweet story, but it never manages to rise above the tepid. It’s an account of a languid love consisting of near-nil sex (the topic isn’t addressed much in this relationship) and stilted communication.

The writer employs no flourishes of language or style and this reader, for one, sorely felt that lack.

The book is packed with trite details and sometimes the language turns awkward. Even the action mainly consists of physical movement: Ira’s move to the U.S.; the hero’s friend’s trip to Kolkata for his wedding; another friend returning to her hometown Jaipur; the couple going to Gangtok, and so on.

There are moments of humour like when Tanuj advises Rohan to imagine which part of one’s body one’s g.f. will hold on to as they enter a party and then focus on beefing that part up, as well as Rohan’s interesting take on horcruxes. But these are lamentably few and far between, not enough to leaven the tale.

Special mention must be made of the striking cover, though. In sumptuous shades of lemon and teal, it really is an eye-catcher.

The Story of a Long-Distance Marriage Siddhesh Inamdar, HarperCollins, ₹199.


book reviewfictionSiddesh InamdarThe Story of a Long Distance Marriage

Sheila Kumar • April 29, 2018

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