Book Review: Mrs. Varman
Reviewed by Tavleen Kaur
A fast-paced romantic crime novel about the complexity of human relationships in the the dark and hidden parts of our world
Mrs Varman by Sanjeeta Beher follows two stories that are very different from each other, yet share in their depictions of the complexity of human beings. One is the story of a married couple, Sachin and Julia, who are trying hard to preserve their relationship after a tragedy hits them, and the other is of Vijay, a boy who becomes the victim of a heinous crime and how that shapes his life.
The book takes us to the USA, where Sachin and Julia reside, and to India, where the majority of it takes place. The plot takes many unexpected paths, and we meet different characters from different socio-economic backgrounds, living very different lives, who find their way together. The novel does not shy away from showing the dark reality of our world through vivid descriptions, transporting readers to sharply imagined scenes of crimes, places of captivity, and rooms where horrific actions, as well as escape plans, take place.
There is not one event or theme around which the plot is centered. The book is more about human tendencies and complicated relationships than about a particular event. One part of it is a woman’s journey through her relationships, while the other reflects the hidden aspects of society that the more privileged citizens do not see—where people live in fear and poverty and where their lives are destroyed within seconds by monsters in the form of humans.
Mrs Varman does a great job of showing us different realities of people in India that co-exist. It shows us the life and struggles of people who grow up with violence and crime, people who grow up in well-off families, and also a bit about the lives of NRIs (non-resident Indians) or those in interracial marriages.
The narration remains objective, discussing things like prostitution, infidelity, and theft as part of the reality we live in, and at the same time, it tells quiet stories of people just finding their way through their lives.
The book is fast-paced and easy to read, but meaning can get skewed from time to time. It can be difficult to ascertain what’s happening due to overly complex language and similes. Without a constantly clear direction of the plot, the reader can be left wondering what it is they’re supposed to come away with from the book as a whole. The different storylines are connected, but their effectiveness when linked comes into question. The book is action-filled, though, which keeps the reader on edge, and characters like Julia and Vijay, with very different but equally fascinating journeys, are easy to root for.
This book will shake you out of the bubble you live in. The relationship and family dynamics are its strongest characteristics. Mrs. Varman serves up a platter of characters so different from each other that you’ll be left wondering how they fit together on the same plate, but at its core, it is a novel of humans—ones at their worst and ones at their most helpless.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Romantic / Crime
Print Length: 346 pages
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