Book Review: Saanvri

Book, Review, Tales, Pensieve, Saanvri, Fiction, Drama, Vinod, Pande

A nurse goes missing when she visits a patient. The investigation further delves into her story, and it begins to unravel. The cover art of this novel, Saanvri, gives the reader an idea of what to expect from the novel, the blurb makes it more interesting as it promises the story of a woman’s transformation from victim to exploiter. Perhaps it was both together that made me pick this novel for reading.

Saanvri is introduced to the readers as a mother and a nurse. She accepts to go visit a patient, even though her child is ill, but that visit takes an unexpected turn. Moving further, we are taken into what promises to be a story of politics. We are introduced to Rana, who is a powerful person, and who wants a position in the ministry. He is vexed that Yashpal, someone he feels isn’t fit to be a guard, is a minister. And then, how Saanvri enters their lives. But this isn’t a story about politics. No. It is the story of the concubine, Saanvri.

The novel is an engaging read, but its narration is quite direct, quite raw. It may not be to the liking of many readers. While the story does show the ascendancy of Saanvri’s status, and the games in politics, it does cross over into erotica more often. While I found it well written at times, at others, the language just didn’t work for me. I would have liked it if there was little less sex and little more politics or some other aspect of the story. I suppose the concubine’s weapon for ascendancy was how she used the carnality, so the book does warrant it.

The author’s portrayal of the helplessness of the young Saanvri in the novel worked. While the scenes without a doubt make the reader cringe, they also makes them root for Saanvri to rise above it and become someone. There are aspects to her character sketch that are done well, but the transformation of Saanvri from who she was when she was younger to who she becomes when with Rana was interesting. If one ignores the sexual element of the book, and focuses on the political games, the story is indeed one that sees Saanvri rise to a position of power.

The novel comes from a filmmaker and an author, so it does seem perfect for a script. After some time, I could predict where the story was headed, and it did go along those lines. I am not sure how much it appealed to me as a reader, but I think that there will be readers who would love it. For me, it is a one-time read.

Title: Saanvri – The Story of a Concubine
Author: Vinod Pande
Publisher/ Imprint: Niyogi Books
Pages: 264
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Fiction/ Drama
Rating: 3.00 of 5.00
Reviewed for: Publisher

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