- Author: Kanchana Banerjee
- Paperback: 340 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins India; 1 edition (28 August 2019)
- Language: English
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‘I’m Asavri Bhattacharya. I won the Indian Koel 3 years ago.’
A young woman, dazed, covered in wounds, mind addled by drugs tells a TV journalist on the streets of Mumbai. Soon she breaks into a song, leaving everyone mesmerized by her melodious voice.
How can she be Asavri? Asavri died in a car accident 3 years ago, soon after her win. Her body was cremated; her death mourned by the whole nation. Is the woman an imposter or is she telling the truth?
News spreads like wildfire, the press and public begin clamouring for answers. If this is indeed the real Asavri, then who was cremated three years ago? And who is responsible for these macabre circumstances? Is it Tanya, the first runner-up who wore the victor’s crown after Asavri was declared dead, or Rudra – Asavri’s ex-husband? Or is it Kamini Devi – the glamorous MP with a sinister plan? Or Avniel – the film journalist – who shot to fame by writing Asavri’s biography soon after her death?
A look at the cover was enough for me to flip the pages of Nobody’s Child and what I found subsequently inside of it, didn’t let me stop!
Nobody’s Child by Kanchana Banerjee is a gripping thriller revolving around its dark-skinned and ‘not very good looking’ protagonist Asavri who reappears after a long period of two years when she was declared dead after winning the Indian Koel contest. What hits her best friend Avniel hard is the state in which he finds hear. She is disheveled, lean, weaker than before, whimpering, mumbling, with a tremor in her eyes, and who would scream at the mere sight of men. Avniel has to find out who did this to here? Kamini, a powerful and influential politician, is also taken aback by Asavri’s return. How would she wipe off her past?
In a really long time, I read a book which I finished reading in a day. The plot is glamourous, grim, and gripping. The entire narrative was taut and compelling. Nobody’s Child is the one who has been left in an orphanage by her biological mother, who was rejected by her husband, who was thrashed by her adopted parents, who went on to become the star of the nation and then suddenly disappeared in the air. The mystery lurking in the shadows of the past forms the backbone of this book. The book brings forth the ugly aspect of Indian society – the manipulative media, the hypocrisy, the rapes, the murky politics, the thirst for power, the hunger for fame, the insensitivity, the deceptive glamour, and the pitch dark reality. The news cooked up by the media is to grip the audience, increase the TRPs, and cash on the opportunities. The world of dirty politics was another dingy thing to be noted. Kamini, in her pursuit for fame and position, resorted to all the nasty ways. She was beautiful and shrewd who knew how to get the balls in her court. Then, there was Avniel who becomes a bestselling author after a prolonged period of being a nobody. He is hit hard repeatedly by his conscience for doing what he did in the dark alleys of his past. There was The House that witnessed dignity dying, humanity brutally killed, the air reeking of monstrosity, and also a tiny trace of love brewing.
The book has well sketched and edgy characters. The narration is so engaging that one would not be able to let go of this book. A proper thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat. I really liked the strong language and narrative. Also, the cover complemented the tormented protagonist so well. I was in chills when Asavri narrated her story. The torture of two years creeped her out every time she was made to talk. I was stunned and amazed at how the author has woven the tale with many layers juxtaposed together which when unraveled, jolts you hard. I found the flow of the story unsettling and constantly unnerving. Something as fast as this, something as diverse as this, something as powerful as this, something as gloomy as this should definitely be read.
MY RATING: 5/ 5
Buy your copy: NOBODY’S CHILD