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MistressMistress by Anita Nair
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The books is based on the navarasas (expressions) of Kathakali. The navarasas being Sringaram (Love, Beauty), Hasyam (Mirth, Laughter), Raudram (Anger, Fury), Karunyam (Compassion), Bhibatsam (Disgust, Aversion), Bhayanakam (Fear, Dread), Viram (Strenght, Heroism), Adbhutam (Wonder, Amazement), Shantam (Peace).

The author has weaved a story around the characters in the book as they go through these varied emotions. One of the characters is a Kathakali artist. He stays near a resort that is managed by the husband of his niece. A foreigner comes to meet him, allegedly to write a book and in which he wishes to feature the Kathakali artiste as one of the characters.

The Kathakali artiste speaks about his life starting with the life of his father. The niece who is not happy with living under the thumb of her husband is drawn towards the foreigner and they end up having an affair behind her husband’s back. The Kathakali artiste is aware of it, but lets his niece have her way.

Not a bad read. Read the book for its presentation. But it seems a trifle too artificial to read that everybody in the book is involved in some kind of illicit relationship at sometime or the other. It appears the lifestyle akin to the high society rather than the middle class.

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