Book Review: Sutak
An endearing novel of self-discovery, Sutak is a thoughtful look at the way in which flawed human beings are wrong – and right.
This story is about two sisters and their ever intertwining lives. Lalitha and Vinodini though appear like two different species at a glance have more in common than they ever cared to acknowledge. They are like two individuals cut from the same fabric; with mere difference in colour to disguise them as two dissimilar characters. At the core, the two sisters are very similar. Lalita, the eldest one, assumes the role of the protector for her younger sibling. Much of her life revolves around loving and protecting Vinodini.
The elder sister’s love is so overwhelming that the younger one feels stifled by it. Lalitha seldom realizes that immense love is capable of smothering. “Not everyone has the luxury of blaming everything on the past and making excuses. You seem to have all the time for that.” Conversations such as these go the length to tell of the strained relation between the two siblings.
As the story progresses we are slowly ushered into the ordinary lives of the two protagonists. We get to know of the burdens that Lalita carries within her, with no option of unloading them no matter how much she wishes. She wants to share her sorrows with her sister; but is afraid to burden the latter with a similar kind of sorrow. But this lack of expression makes her a misunderstood person. This chasm is spanned during their mother’s funeral. Layers upon layers, the past is peeled in the back and forth travel between the present and the past.
Exceedingly brisk, the story moves at a pace that is both casual and concise. The disjointed storytelling is so much similar to what life itself is – disjointed and abrupt. It may not appeal to everyone but there is no fault with this style per se. Nadi Palshikar has covered so much in a single story. While the foci of the novel is the shared relationship between two siblings; Nadi has managed to write quite in detail about Lalita’s relation with her husband Mahesh. Initially he humiliates her at every opportunity he gets. The scenario changes by the time the story comes to an end. A husband’s manner towards his wife changes not because he has undergone a transformation, but because she has changed, because she acquires strength, because he sees her in a different light.
Perhaps it is owing to Nadi’s knowledge of screenwriting, the story at times reads more like a script than a novel. There is a movie like quality to the narration. It adds a certain charm, almost an elusive mystery, to the story. Themes are plentiful and include guilt and confession; love and hate and most certainly loyalty and acceptance.
Choppy and an issue book to the core, Sutak is sure to impress the readers a lot.
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