A review by Rubina Ramesh
Book: Maya’s New Husband
Author: Neil D’Silva
Rating: 4 stars
A powerful story from a then debut author, Neil D’Silva, in the indie publishing world is rare. Of course, Neil D’Silva has walked many miles since and published “Bound In Love” and I have heard a few more very powerful novels are in the pipeline. But reading the first novel by an author always clearly shows his uncorrupted, unmarred and un-commercialized talent.
Maya is a young widow whose first husband had died under mysterious circumstances. She works as a biology teacher and is very dedicated to her profession. Her mother had struggled to raise her and her sister, and she never forgets the past. Then Maya meets Bhaskar, the art teacher. Initially she is revolted by his overall personality, just like her other colleagues.
But then, circumstances force her to work with him, and Maya is slowly drawn towards him, soon to find many of his quirks an attractive quality in him.
As they grow closer, she alienates her friends and family, and one day, against her family’s wishes, she marries him, thus beginning her journey towards an unknown destination. Her first shock comes when she sees where Bhaskar lives, followed by what he eats, and lastly, the inner iron man in him, the one who protects her from every lecher on the roadside and their roving eyes. But who will save her from Bhaskar once she comes to know about his true identity?
The story unfolds in many layers. Although I would say that most of them were predictable, yet when they happen, you are awed. For instance, I knew why the heart was stolen and who stole it; yet, when it occurred, the feeling of disgust is too profound.
Bhaskar is portrayed to the readers, from the beginning, as what he actually is. Author D’Silva had never hidden the fact of what Bhaskar is capable of doing. But threads that connect him to Maya have been woven very intrinsically around his actions. Why he did what he did, and what was the reason for him to choose this path in life are revelations here. It might be only me, but as a reader, there are moments when you almost feel sorry for him.
“A rat came precariously close to his foot. Undaunted, the little creature sniffed away at the almost wizened skin of the man’s foot.”
Neil D’Silva can never be called a shy author after his debut novel. Every scene is graphically ‘designed’ and that makes the visualization unique. The rashes, the carcasses, the rodents, and worse of all—the stench. Every word targets different senses. There were times I had to put down the book for the gory details were too much for me as a reader.
I did get a whiff of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier—just a whiff. Though one cannot say that the story is similar in any aspect, yet the fear of a new bride discovering things about her husband strikes the same eerie chord. Maya is not a virgin when she enters this marriage, yet she embarks on a journey of sexuality, discovery, and most of all alienation from her loved ones. Her loneliness gets to you after sometime. There were moments when I wanted to shake her, to make her see that she is slowly enclosing herself in a cocoon misery. I could see it as a bystander. Could she not do the same? But then love is blind and when her colleague did try to tell her…
This novel touches many aspects where a lot of research much have gone into it: from the Aghori culture to cannibalism. In fact, I learned about the existence of Gore magazine, thanks to the author. In the recent years, I had read a few books on the Aghori culture where their customs and traditions had either been belittled, or they are shown as monsters. Niel D’Silva has explained every custom in relation to their beliefs. They are not killers, but scavengers. Why? That shows some deep research on the part of the author.
Sample the scene where Maya is investigating with Akhram.
“…he managed to drop them one after another, allowing one foot to bear the brunt of the fall and then the other.”
Such minute details makes this a very [pleasant] interesting read.
No doubt, this is a dark book and not meant for the faint-hearted. If you loved the series of the movie Evil Death, you will love this book.
Reasoning for the star rating:
I loved the emotional journey of Maya: from exuberance to sensuality; from sensuality to fear; eventually bringing forth the fighter in her. She is a complete woman protagonist.
I would have loved to see the mystery unfold through Maya’s eyes. For instance, the incident about Bhaskar’s father should not have been revealed to the reader before it was revealed to Maya. I wanted to feel Maya’s shock. I already knew ‘who’ was sitting on the chair in the garage. I wanted to see Maya’s fear. I already knew what happened to Padma. I wanted to feel Maya’s disgust. What would have made this book unique is the presence of well-timed revelations, making the reader see the horror through Maya’s eyes. Just this one point makes this wonderful, nail-biting read fall short of being a masterpiece.
Do I recommend it?
If you like some nail-biting moments in your life, this one is a definite read. Warning: NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED.
Line that stayed with me:
“Once again, petrified that it might be a lizard or a centipede that she might have inadvertently roused, she backed off towards the door for a while. She stayed there, breathing heavily for a minute, looking at herself in the cabinet mirror. Her reflection taunted her, made her realize how moronic she looked heaving her bosom like that. Foolish of her indeed to be afraid of a reptile that was probably no longer than her little finger!”
About the reviewer:
Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. She has published several short stories and can be reached via Twitter @
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