The Princess of a Whorehouse: The Story of a Swamp Lotus by Mayank Sharma BookReview
Aparajita is an ambitious girl, with hard work and intelligence backing her. She sails through school and college effortlessly and has her heart and mind set on becoming a commercial pilot and soar high. Aparajita also has a past, the invisible strings of which pull her down. Will Aparajita live up to her name, which means unconquerable in Sanskrit, or will she cave in to the secret that she is not ashamed of but which nobody knows.
This is my version of the synopsis of the book, which along with the compelling title, made me pick it up.
A strong title and an intriguing story, sounds good doesn’t it?
The story starts with little Aparajita who along with her parents make for a small and happy family. Till her father is killed in a Mine blast and she and her innocent mother, Ramya, are sold to a brothel owner, under the guise of being helped. Lack of education and exposure force Ramya to become a sex worker, a role she resents with all her heart.
Hope comes in the form of an NGO worker Priya who does everything in her power to get little Aparajita an education. One thing leads to another and Aparajita’s teacher rescues her and Ramya from the Kotha they were sold to. The teacher marries Ramya and Aparajita now has a father, and mother and daughter have a respectable life once again.
Aparajita blossoms into a confident young woman with big dreams and the drive to follow them. Will she achieve them or will they just remain dreams?
Mayank Sharma chose a great title for his debut novel. Somewhere along the way the thought behind it petered down and formed a story which bears no relevance to the title at all. Sharma’s narration is abrupt and jerky and incidents follow one another at a pace that is so fast that the reader barely has time to grasp what is going on. There is no build-up of any of the characters resulting in the lack of connection between the reader and the character. You feel no emotion for anyone or any situation in the book, and believe me I tried. The writing is also a tad amateurish, which stops you from taking the book seriously. The use of teenage slang sounds odd and outdated. Research and observations always help in fleshing out characters that a reader can connect to or empathize with, and I wish the author would have done that.
The biggest flaw for me was that Aparajita was not a lotus in a swamp, she was plucked out and planted in fresh water and encouraged to bloom by her adoptive father. This just makes the title sound like a gimmick to attract a reader.
I received a copy of this book from The Book Club in return for an honest review, and here it is.