The experience of reading ‘You Beneath Your Skin’ by Damyanti Biswas

Disclaimer – This post is about my experience of reading the book ‘You Beneath Your Skin’. It is not to be confused with a book review that is more analytical and exhaustive in approach.

How often do you read a book that has such a deep impact on your soul that you fumble for words to speak about it? Keigo Higashino’s books have had that effect on me almost every time. And a recent addition to the list is debut author Damyanti Biswas’ crime thriller ‘You beneath your skin’. I finished reading this book more than a month ago but I had to let the emotions sink in before I could speak about it with clarity.

Set in Delhi, this is the story of Dr. Anjali Morgan, an Indian American psychiatrist and a single mother raising an autistic teenaged son Nikhil. She had come to India to escape her strained relationship with her mother after her married life fell apart. Police commissioner Jatin Bhatt, a much-married man with a teenage son is having an extra-marital affair with Dr. Anjali. In between balancing their personal and professional lives, both witness an upsurge in rape and murder of women belonging to the lower strata in the city. While trying to help Jatin in solving the crime, Anjali lands in a life-threatening situation. By the time the truth unravels, relationships and equations have undergone a transition beyond repair.

You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas
You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas

At 390 pages, this book is not the kind that can be finished at one go. The primary reason is that it is written in such a hard-hitting way that you cannot stay indifferent to the pain and trauma of the characters. It shakes the reader up, makes her question about the kind of society we live in where danger lurks in every turn of a woman’s life and gets her into a feeling of hopelessness and anger. Sometimes, it feels so real that it doesn’t even read like fiction. Damyanti started writing this book after the horrendous Nirbhaya incident in 2012 and I am writing this review after the horrific rape and murder of Dr. Priyanka Reddy a fortnight ago. If anything, the situation has only gone from bad to worse and this book is a harsh reminder of the same.

This book peels off layers of crimes that connect the lowest strata of the society with the most privileged class of elites. From abduction, minor sex racquet, prostitution, drug abuse, acid attacks, rape, and gruesome murder, this book manages to cover a wide spectrum of crimes effortlessly. The author has shown expertise and finesse in ensuring that none of the sub-plots feel exaggerated or forced. The reader experiences a similar spectrum of emotions in the form of sympathy, hopelessness, frustration, remorse, and anger though I must mention the slight ray of hope that appears at the end of the book.

It is quite difficult to believe that this is the work of a debut author. Her command over the plot, language, development of characters, and flow of the story is commendable. It is quite evident that extensive research has led to creating this book. A lot of incidents are also inspired by the real-life circumstances that people around her have been subjected to. She has absorbed their pain and channeled it into creating a story that lays bare the skeletons of an inhuman society. And here is one author who is not ready to stop at just writing about the barbaric acts. The sale proceeds of this book will be transferred to two charitable institutions ‘Project Why’ and ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ that she has been attached to and that’s her way to bring a positive change in society.

Book review – Astitva by Monika Davessar

As part of the Blogchatter E-book carnival, 55 authors (including me) launched their books on May 22nd, 2018 on the Blogchatter platform. As a fellow author, it gets difficult to assess or critically analyze books by the other amazing writers on this platform. However, I personally believe in the power of constructive feedback. It has helped me improve my craft and thus I am going to adhere to the same intention of helping another author scale up his/her work, if possible.

The details of the third book that I have chosen to review (or rather analyze) is as follows –

Book – Astitva (A woman’s journey from existence to empowerment)

Author – Monika Davessar

Publication – Blogchatter

Pages – 93

Price – Free

Genre – Non-Fiction

Plot –

Astitva (meaning existence in English) by Monika Davessar is a collection of thoughts on the burning topics relevant to women and the issues that have chained their progress. Monika had participated in the Blogchatter A2Z challenge in April this year with the theme of women empowerment. She has retained the same format of blog posts in this book. So the sequence of topics starts from A for Abuse and goes until Z for Zulmat. In almost all the cases, the author brings out her strong views towards the selected topics along with inspiration from real life instances or short stories. Some of the topics also feature steps for resolution. One unique addition to this book that deserves a special mention is Hindi poetry by Dr.Amit Prakash. The poems are crucial to the chosen topic and successfully creates an impact. Issues like child marriage, prostitution, rape, acid attack victims are dealt with expertise and clarity in thoughts.

Analysis –

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Book review – That year I found me by Dr. Ruchi Chopra Nasa

As part of the Blogchatter E-book carnival, 55 authors (including me) launched their books on May 22nd, 2018 on the Blogchatter platform. As a fellow author, it gets difficult to assess or critically analyze books by the other amazing writers on this platform. However, I personally believe in the power of constructive feedback. It has helped me improve my craft and thus I am going to adhere to the same intention of helping another author scale up his/her work, if possible.

The details of the second book that I have chosen to review (or rather analyze) is as follows –

Book – That year I found me

Author – Dr. Ruchi Chopra Nasa

Publication – Blogchatter

Pages – 126

Price – Free

Genre – Fiction

Plot –

Neha and Akash, sweethearts from medical school get married and soon become the parents of a baby boy Pihu. They have a near-perfect marriage. A chance discovery of a hidden message sets Neha on a path of figuring out the bitter truth about Akash’s extramarital affair with Sophie. While Akash had already accepted his mistake and moved away from the affair much before Neha discovered it, facing her biggest fear of losing the man she loves, leaves Neha hollow and depressed. Whether Neha decides to part ways or forgive Akash is unraveled during the course of the book.

Analysis –

At the onset, let me acknowledge the fact that I don’t read many books in romance genre anymore. This book was written as blog posts during the Blogchatter-A2Z challenge in April and I had found the theme quite interesting. The entire book is written in the form of letters (it might make the reader recollect the writing style of author Nikita Singh in her book ‘Letters to my Ex’). There are just four characters in the story Neha, Akash, Pihu and Sophie, so it is easy for the reader to keep a track of the happenings easily. The plot is quite simple but layered with bundle of emotions.

Continue reading “Book review – That year I found me by Dr. Ruchi Chopra Nasa”

Book review – Tales with a Twist by Varadharajan Ramesh

As part of the Blogchatter E-book carnival, 55 authors (including me) launched their books on May 22nd, 2018 on the Blogchatter platform. As a fellow author, it gets a little difficult to assess or critically analyze books by the other amazing writers on this platform. However, I personally believe in the power of constructive feedback. It has helped me improve my craft and thus I am going to adhere to the same intention of helping another author scale up his work, if applicable.

The details of the first book that I have chosen to review (or rather analyze) is as follows –

Book – Tales with a Twist

Author – Varadharajan Ramesh

Publication – Blogchatter

Pages – 228

Price – Free

Genre – Fiction

Plot –

Tales with a Twist is a collection of 23 short stories and one long story described through multiple episodes. Each story belong to a different genre of fiction but what unites them is the unexpected climax in each case. While the reader finds an unusual scoop of humor in the story ‘Finished’, pain and helplessness in the story of Park Joo-Won and Park Ji -Woo in ‘Innocence’ fast paced science fiction in “The troubles of time travel’ and hope and love in ‘Mariposa’ , the best combination of emotions is found in ‘The Malolan Chronicles’. Each story has a unique plot, setting, characters and ending.

Analysis –

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