Thursday, November 10, 2016

Co-Wife - Book Review

By Pradipta Panda
Review By Ila Garg

Co-Wife, a novel by Pradipta Panda, is published by Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd. The cover is simple and at the same time it has a strange calling to it. Its simplicity is addictive. It’s clean and apt – the colours of the scarf shows the connection with the LGBT theme that the novel is based on. 

Pradipta Panda was born in 1976. A thinker and an entrepreneur, he portrays lively characters in a simple way in the story. His previous successful books are ‘Under One Roof’ and ‘In God’s Wishlist’. He completed his post-graduation in Journalism and MBA in HR. Presently, he is working at Bank of India. Your valuable comments will certainly help the think tank to narrate more lively characters among us. Feel free to write to him on social media. 

The blurb reads as, “Pradipta Panda, in his book, ‘Co-wife’ on the LGBT community, poignantly captures the pathos, the problems and the mental trauma faced by the LGBT community. His story revolves around the relationship of a straight woman, Pranami and a gay man, Manav, whom she loves. Manav is a bisexual and a crusader of the LGBT community. The story through real life stories of gays and lesbians brings to light their experiences and raison d'être for choosing to love, live life, and have sex with partners of the same sex. Pranami is caught in a web of conflict and deceit—will she succeed in her dream of being able to marry Manav? Or will he choose to remain gay? Or will her brother, also a gay, succeed in his scheme of marrying her off to his gay lover to get hold of her property? Will a society that criminalizes the LGBT community accept their marriage, even if it happens? Will the LGBT community ever get justice and peace to fit into society? The term wife is self-explanatory and needs no definition. However, what and who is a co-wife? What does this term signify? Read ‘Co-wife’ to understand—the mystery behind a co-wife—and the ethos of the LGBT community.”

Earlier, I had read another book written by Pradipta Panda, named ‘In God’s Wishlist’. I found that the execution of the concept proved a big failure. So, when I started with this book, I tried not to keep my expectations high, but this time I loved the book. The author has improved tremendously.

I have always liked his concepts, and this book deals with another hush-hush topic—LGBT community. Yes, this book manages to capture the abundant problems of LGBT community. 

The protagonist of the story is a girl by the name of Pranami, who is in love with Manav since childhood. But it is only later that she becomes aware that Manav is a gay and still she continues to love him. Manav is actually a bisexual and a crusader of LGBT community. This story of a relationship between a straight and a bisexual is in itself quite mind-boggling. 

Thus the story has a lot of underlined twists and turns and complications. It gives vent to some of the real life stories of lesbians and gays by discussing their experiences of choosing their partners. Often it’s believed that they find it okay to have sex with multiple partners of same sex; however, is it okay to generalise? They have emotions too is what this books wants to bring to the fore.

The descriptions in the book are quite realistic and therefore the readers will feel very much connected to them. The language is simple and easy to comprehend. Nowhere will a reader feel any disconnect. I found it quite engaging. The subject is tackled beautifully by the author. 

How Pranami and Manav deal with their togetherness despite their different sexual orientations, how is Manav affected when Varshaman who is his gay partner loses interest in him, how do Manav and Pranami find their happiness, the love-life complications in Manav’s life and how it affects him and Pranami are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in Co-Wife

Further, this 381-page book is good enough to expose the various dilemmas that the LGBT community deals with. It’s an overall compelling book that gives you enough to reflect on.

Ratings: 4/5

Buying Links: Infibeam | Amazon | Flipkart

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