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Purple Lotus by Veena Rao : Book Review

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Rao’s debut novel Purple Lotus explores the various dimensions of a woman’s life, human behaviour, societal norms and the consequences of traumatic and abusive events in one’s life. This story highlights the stigmas attached with various life decisions, fears, rejection and feelings of loneliness. Also, this book portrays the inner strength of a woman who discovers herself in the best way she could when her loved ones are against her.

The story of this book revolves around a protagonist Tara who gets married to Sanjay, a techie working in Atlanta. Because of the pending Visa, Tara stays back in India after her marriage. Sanjay calls her for a month but later, the calls stop coming. With this, Tara gets a stamp of an abandoned wife on her forehead. Suddenly after three years, Sanjay calls Tara and requests her to come to Atlanta. Tara’s parents feel that Tara should give Sanjay a chance and she agrees. Tara goes there only to find out the ugly truth of Sanjay’s life. In the story swinging back and forth, we get to witness Tara’s present and her childhood events as Tara keeps going back to her childhood memories because the abandonment in her life started from there.

Lonely and unloved, Tara starts seeking for opportunities that can bring her self worth back. With the help of her American friends, she finds herself in a moment of self-discovery and freedom. While being independent and enjoying her own company, Tara’s life gets beautiful. She finds someone who loves her more than anything else. But wait, not every story has the same happily ever after. The final chapters take a twist that hooks you to the story even more.

In the final pages of her book, Rao won my heart by making me cry. Happy cry. Sad cry and angry cry. An act of Tara’s moulds her life into a completely different way. The story ends unconventionally but beautifully.

Like the purple lotus, rarest of rare, you shall rise from muddy waters to rule the world.

My take:

This book is well written with parallel stories as the story keeps shuttling between Tara’s present and childhood. The transition is smooth because it never loses the connection. The language is lucid and gripping. The author wonderfully managed to address various themes in a single story. Some best things I loved about this book are, cultural references, theme variation, the embedding of some amazing books as Tara finds her solace in books in troubling times of life, raw emotions, to the point character description and the believable plot.

Speaking of the pace, it is very much constant throughout the book except at a point I feel the story to be rushing, but thankfully, it got back to the regular pace.

To conclude my review, I highly recommend this if you love reading books around themes of empowerment, female voice representation and self-realisation. Go for it.

Note : The book is yet to release. It is releasing on 29th September 2020. You can pre-order the book. ( Click here)

If you are a book blogger/reviewer, the book is available on Netgalley. So, you may request and get your copy from the publishers.

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