: Seeing the
: Anuradha Vijayakrishnan
: 20th Feb 2014
the girl is the story of three women who live inside one another’s lives –
dangerously. Janaki is poised to enter into a conventional ‘arranged marriage’
when unanticipated events break out.
Janaki narrates the dark and intricate story of
her family, pausing to let Amma and Leela too interweave their versions of the
Seeing the girl was long listed for the 2007 Man
Asian Literary prize, while it was a manuscript.
contemporary women’s fiction revolving around lives of Janaki. An
unconventional girl, with weird and self-possessed feelings towards her family
and herself. Janaki’s begin to change when Rohit comes to meet her as an
arrangement from her parents. Janaki, who is unprepared for a wedding asks
Rohit to marry her sister Leela, as an attempt to ward off the new alliance.
After the seeing fiasco, Janaki is on exile to her aunt’s home, where she
learns a new fact about her father’s past. While she tries to slowly get
accustomed to the life there, the news of Leela’s wedding with Rohith shakes
her calm abode. No lives are the same since then. It is then that an unexpected
death upturns everyone’s lives, which was already in a swaying boat.
writing style. It is a first person narration of Janaki. The feelings of love,
rejection, hatred, dejection, jealousy and much more are portrayed with finesse.
A few chapters see the first person narration of Janaki’s mother and her sister
Leela. Author fiercely criticizes folly of fixing up the lives of two people
around a cup of tea and eatables. Putting the lives of two people at the mercy
of luck or fate sounds funny but it is a painful reality, which persists even
now. I appreciate the authoress in bringing forth his grave issue, which might
not be of much importance in the eyes of many. More importance is given to the
little embellishments of words, than the story-line but authoress made sure, the
curiosity is maintained. Authoress’s love for poetry is clearly visible in the
book. Every nuances of emotional waves are explained as if she is writing a
poem. At some points, I felt a resemblance to Arundhati Roy’s writing style. Rather than a contemporary story, the book gives a vintage feeling. A negative,
which I felt, is that I an attempt to adapt to the fresh style of writing,
authoress overdid it at some points, which made me search for the dialogue
quotes. Notwithstanding this, the book is an interesting read for people with
an appetite for real play with words.
fierce battle against the arranged disaster, narrated with a sober background
About the Author
India. A trained singer, she followed up a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering
from Calicut University with postgraduate studies in Management from XLRI,
Jamshedpur. She lives with her husband and two young children in Dubai and
attempts to balance a corporate career with her diverse interests.
Her poetry first appeared in print under the
editorship of Ms. Kamala Das. Granta and British Council first published her
fiction in the select New Writing anthology series. Her work has appeared in
Magma, Orbis, Stony Thursday Book, The Pedestal Magazine, Soundings,
Aesthetica, Asian Cha, Eclectica, Asia Literary Review, Mascara, Indian
Literature and Nth Position among others. Her poetry and prose have won prizes
at various literary competitions. Seeing the Girl, her debut novel, was long
listed in 2007 while it was still a manuscript for the Man Asian Literary
Prize. In 2010 her poetry was nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart
prizes. She is a 2010 alumna of Western Michigan University’s Prague Summer
Seeing the Girl, was published in Feb 2014 by
LiFi Publications, India.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy
from the Author in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a
positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.