Like I said in one of my earlier reviews, the length of a work of fiction doesn’t affect the quality. In fact, a short novella is a welcome break from reading long winding plots. When the tone of the novella is light and fun, it makes for a very refreshing change; and a change that I quite needed.
The Guest by Suneetha Balakrishnan explores one day, one very eventful day in the life of a couple. A small tiff makes the two of them uneasy and through the day, they travel back in time, to the journey they have shared and take us along with them. Sameer is the qualified, well-employed husband, a “catch” in the eyes of society, kind man without any bad habits. And Kavitha, his wife, is similar in character, but not a pushover in any sense of the word. Then there is Sameer’s mother Saraswati (Mama) and his cousin Arjun, the other prominent characters as well. I’ll not go too much into details.
The novella, as I mentioned earlier, is a light and fun read. You can finish it in an hour or two, and you wouldn’t notice the time fly by. Unlike most Indian serials, the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are fast friends here, something I loved seeing. The characters are well fleshed. You see Sameer’s pride come to the fore during that momentary lack of judgment. Saraswathi understands her son very well, and also her daughter-in-law. Kavitha is observant, and those minute observations help her in making decisions. The flashbacks and narration from different viewpoints help make this novella a page turner. And the ending is also one that fit the tone of this novella. On the flipside, there were one or two grammar glitches. I can’t point out where, since it got lost in the reading. And the ending left me a little confused, but I think I understood it right in the end.
I think this is a wonderful novella to read at any given time, but especially on a short journey, or any time you need a break from a heavy read. I’m happy to have read it for sure.
Title: The Guest
Author: Suneetha Balakrishnan
Genre: Fiction / Drama
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Price: INR 61
(25th November 2014)