Once in a while, a book will come along that challenges you as a reviewer. It makes you think, it makes you question yourself that are you the one who is supposed to be reading it and reviewing it, it may even make you a little uncomfortable reading it. Not every book is meant to be your cup of tea after all.
One of my friends asked me, “Do erotic stories have any story in them?”
I feel that it depends on the story itself. There is out-and-out erotica which is mostly lust, desire and sex. But not all stories are such. Sita’s Curse, from the word works of Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is feminist erotic literature, but it has a story in it. It is the story of Meera, a middle class housewife and her life and sexual longing. It is erotic, quite directly so and right from the prologue itself. But the story is of a woman who feels shackled in a dead marriage, the ideals of society where the woman is married off at a young age, the expectations of the family she marries into and, as the cover so correctly puts it, soulless domesticity. Yes, she is shackled by sexual frustration as well. The story is also about her escape, her breaking free of all those shackles.
Sreemoyee’s narration is soulful, she evokes emotions from the reader and sometimes even memories. It may not be your life, but perhaps some aspect of it may remind you of a person you know of. Sexual needs apart, I could see aspects of Meera in those around me. It didn’t feel nice to have someone’s life to relate this story to. I saw helplessness in her, I felt the sadness she felt when she lost her brother, and her flashbacks that got me to that point. In a way, I could understand the confusion she felt in the story. Directness, but with enough detailing, pushed through the element of sexual awakening quite well. The ending of the story is also equally engaging.
With the book, Sreemoyee not only explores the life of Meera but takes up some of the things that are still somewhat considered as taboo, to be avoided or not discussed, aspects of society that aren’t logical or understandable. But yes, it is mainly the sexual longings of a woman that are usually not looked at or given a thought to.
In all honesty, I feel that it is a book to be read. Coming from the land of the Kama Sutra, erotic fiction isn’t a new genre, but I feel that it is yet to be embraced completely. I read an interview that the author gave to The Hindu, and she mentions that feminist erotic literature is about strong women having dialogues to themselves and discovering who they really are. That’s why I feel a review of this book would be done more justice by a gal than a guy.
Why you should read it?
Strong central character, direct but detailed narration that engages you. The story itself is worth reading.
What you may not like…
The genre, if you aren’t liberal minded, may not be your cup of tea; esp. given the way the book is written.
Title: Sita’s Curse
Author: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Genre: Feminist Erotic Literature
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: INR 350
(29th April 2014)