Book Reviews

Equations by Shivani Sibal – Book Review

  • Author: Shivani Sibal
  • Publisher: HarperCollins India (20 July 2021)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 208 pages

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The class divide has been forever prominent in our country. The self-claimed upper caste always sees their privilege as some divine blessing while the lower caste is stuck in the rut. Because they are told that that’s their due place. And they dutifully accept it. And so, the system continues to propagate in and pervade society. There’s no going back from here.

Or maybe, there’s a way out.

Aahan Sikand is born with a silver spoon while his friend, Rajesh, is the son of the former’s house help. Both of them grow together only to fall apart with time. Aahan has everything at his disposal. But Rajesh has to learn to submit, to listen, to make do with what is passed down to him. In the due course of time, Aahan’s father finds love in another woman, Nooriya, and this blossoming love affair affects the dynamics of his family. On the other hand, Rajesh stumbles upon a chance to live a life of dignity and prosperity. The way is not smooth but it is a gateway, nonetheless.

Equations by Shivani Sibal is an intriguing tale of existing caste dynamics, lust for power and money, and love. Through the stories of Sikands and Rajesh, the book also unfolds the political unrest in Delhi. Touching upon multiple themes, Equations lays bare the hypocrisy of Indian society that goes on to affect everyone alike, regardless of their class.

Sibal’s writing is meticulous and refreshing. Apt words and intelligent use of expressions only add positively to one’s reading experience. Sibal goes into depth and covers the minutest of details, leaving no character in the lurch. Gripping at once, the book presents a true picture and never appears unrealistic or going overboard. However, I did feel that the second half of the book lacked substance. As Aahan and Rajesh grew up, the progress in their respective lives remained incomplete for me.

Equations does jump from a timeline to another, from a plot to a subplot, pretty frequently. Sometimes, abruptly. But in the end, the story comes full circle and everything falls into place. Yet, it is impressive as a debut that leaves its mark with its storytelling and raw character sketches. Recommended to the lovers of contemporary fiction.

Rating: 4/ 5

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2 thoughts on “Equations by Shivani Sibal – Book Review

  1. Caste dynamics with an upper-class sense of entitlement is rampant in our country and in many places Indians made their home. It seems the author has chosen an interesting them for her debut novel Khyati and your crisp review lends credence to the book’s merit.

    Liked by 1 person

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