Book Review-The Curse of Damini by Debajani Mohanty

I am grateful to the author for the free autographed copy of the book.

The plight of women in developing countries is not a new topic. For the past few decades, a number of organizations advocating women rights have sprung up. This has started a movement all around the world demanding women empowerment and end of the violation of women rights.Debajani Mohanty has used the power of her pen to highlight the issue in her debut novel “The Curse of Damini” (Penguin Books India).

The author has used her homeland, India, as the setting for her novel. Her novel spans a large period of history from 1857 to 2013.It highlights a number of historical events that influenced the lives of millions of people of the region.

The protagonist Renuka is a smart and intelligent girl who is one of the few to pursue an education in the period when female education was looked down upon by the people of the Indian subcontinent.
She is brave enough to join the local resistance against the British. By the time India gets freedom, Renuka loses hers.

The death of her father compels her to stay at home and help her mother with the chores. She is soon married to the son of a rich landlord. The radical change from poverty to luxury seems something too good to be true; however, she soon learns of a terrible secret about the family.The family is believed to be cursed for generations, barred them from having a family life. Though one would expect Renuka to succumb to the belief, she challenges all of it and decides to change the fate of the accursed family.

The story of Renuka’s struggles and pursuits is inspirational and motivational.It advocates the belief that with a strong will and mind, one can bring about a great social reform affecting millions of people during the process. From her family to her country, Renuka serves in different domains and inspires a generation of women to join the economic independence movement. The reader would surely learn a thing or two about courage and leadership from the protagonist.

The story is told in a third person narrative. The pace of the story is decent.At some points, I felt that it was too rushed.Things happened too quickly;sometimes, everything happening according to plan seemed too good to be true.Perhaps, an occasional first person or another character’s POV at some points would have developed the narrative further. I found the presence of dialogue both in English language and the local one unwanting.It somehow adds nothing to the narrative.The novel is marketed as a thriller. However, despite being a nice read, it would be an injustice to call it a thriller as it has nothing of that sorts.




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