Book Review: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad

This is the second, and probably last, Twinkle Khanna book I will make an effort to read. I did buy both books together, and in the interest of making the most of my meagre investment, I decided to read them both. I needed quick fillers for my Goodreads reading challenge for this year, and I was fresh out of my favourite Alexander McCall Smith novels.

Author: Twinkle Khanna

Story: There are four stories, of varying length, contained in this slim book. The first is about a girl who starts a praiseworthy tradition in her village; the second is about a pair of sisters and finding peace in the twilight of one’s life; the third reflects on the importance of compatibility in a marriage; and finally the last is about enduring persistence in one’s beliefs.

Although the stories are fiction, two of the plots are heavily inspired by true events in the nation. While the author acknowledges one of them, she ignores the factual precedent of the other. There is a strong vein of feminism that pervades all the stories, and although it is not overt, it shows the importance of female equality in the world today.

Writing: The author’s prose is simple. I initially assumed that there would be heavy editing or rewriting, but her voice clearly comes through. [For instance, she uses the word ‘dogsbody’ quite frequently, and it is not a term in common parlance. Just an amusing observation for me.]

By no means is her writing exceptional, but it does read clearly. There is a distinct flow to the story, and she doesn’t get bogged down in lengthy descriptions. There is a definite forward momentum, and her stories do not start or stop in limbo. While that seems like a basic factor in any story, there are few writers [screen and book alike] who can wreak that sort of completeness without erring on the side of either excess or paucity of substance.

Characters: The characters are boring. One-dimensional and predictable. Perhaps this is the curse of a short story with an already encompassing plot, but I do feel that people connect to the individual more if the good guys have some flaws, and the bad guys have some redeeming qualities. In a story full of characters though, it is hard to embody all the key players with qualifying attributes. I guess that this couldn’t really be helped.

Pace: The stories move rapidly along, and the narrative doesn’t contain any cheap tricks for surprise. [I am nursing a Jeffrey Archer hangover, so this was important for me!] Overall, the pace was excellent. 

Conclusion: The book was strictly OK. It was not high literature, nor absolute trash. It makes for quintessentially easy reading, and that’s where it hits the spot. I am not sure that the author’s writing is captivating enough to merit me attempting to read any future works, and her books go into the heap of barely remembered books with forgettable stories like the oeuvres of Chetan Bhagat.

Rating: ✩✩



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