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An Incurable Insanity by Simi K Rao!
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An Incurable Insanity
by Simi K Rao
Published October 8, 2013 by Tate Publishing
Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack.
She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. “I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It’s probably a good thing to do anyway.”
As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, “So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?”
Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.
An arranged marriage seems like an extraordinary thing to those of us used to picking our own partners based on love, but having your spouse chosen for you is not uncommon in South Asian society.
“An Incurable Insanity” opens with a quote from Ambrose Bierce, from which the title is taken: “Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.” But Ruhi and Shaan’s marriage is different: rather than falling in love and then having their insanity cured by the bonds of matrimony, theirs is an arranged marriage, and an unusual arranged marriage at that. Rather than curing their temporary insanity, their marriage just might be the cause of it… if they can learn to swallow their pride and communicate with each other.
The book begins 29 days after their wedding, and the reader finds that Ruhi is disillusioned with her husband and her marriage. Why this is so becomes clear within the first few pages – Shaan married her as a wife in name only, as “there is someone else” and he refuses to cheat on his girlfriend with his wife. His reasons for going through with an arranged marriage to a woman other than the one he loves are explained later in the book. You may not agree with his choice, but you at least can understand the reasoning behind his actions.
The book becomes somewhat “Gift of the Magi”-ish later, as Shaan’s relationship with his girlfriend goes sour and he begins to see Ruhi more clearly, and perhaps as his ideal wife, while at the same time Ruhi decides to put her sadness behind her and move on with her life, making plans to end the marriage and return to India.
Much like many real-life relationships, the tumultuous days that follow are made more difficult by a lack of communication. If only they would just TALK to each other about what they’re thinking and feeling! was a frequent thought as I read. I kind of wanted to shake some sense into the both of them (which is a sign of a good writer, that I cared enough about the characters that I wanted to reach into the pages and physically assault them for being so stubborn and prideful!) But the book provides an important lesson: in relationships (romantic or otherwise), communication can prevent (or solve) much confusion, misunderstandings, and anger.
Negatives: There were sections that seemed a bit rushed (like the opening) and places where transitions seemed too abrupt (such as when switching between characters’ thoughts/speech, or characters physically appearing very suddenly). These problems are minor, though, and detract from the overall book very little. (Arguably it’s a compliment if a reader states that there should be more writing!)
Overall: Worth reading – the storyline is both humorous and sentimental, and I cared about the characters and what would happen to them. Ruhi in particular experiences a lot of personal growth as she adapts both to a new culture and the unexpected limitations of her marriage. (I was rooting for them to work things out, but you’ll have to read the book for yourself to see if that’s what happens!)
You saw The Exotic Tour… you got a taste for the beautiful culture and the romantic attraction of our spunky young characters… now we’re reviewing it and posting a new excerpt at each stop! Here’s today’s:
Read with us!
Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. The inspiration for An Incurable Insanity came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances…
I am a physician–and to many I may appear serious and solitary. But once people get to know me better, they often think that I am frank, down to earth, with quite a quirky sense of humor. And that is what I bring to my writing—read and you shall see.
I was born in the dead center of India, but had the privilege of spending time both in the north and south. Therefore I have been able to sample and absorb to some extent the vastly diverse cultures and languages of both these regions (the very quality that imparts tremendous richness to our country’s heritage,) —a phenomenon perhaps not seen anywhere else in the world.
After immigrating to the United States in my early twenties and spending several years in this country, whenever I travel back to my homeland now, I find that I appreciate my roots a lot more. Still there is so much to see and learn, that a lifetime won’t suffice.
January 13 – February 3, 2014
1 Taste of India Collection from World Market (US Only)
2 Signed Print Copies of An Incurable Insanity (US Only)
2 eCopies of An Incurable Insanity (International)
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Follow along on the tour:
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1/17 Anastacia Reviews
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1/20 Hardcover Feedback
1/21 Books with Bree
1/22 Vvb32 Reads
1/23 Dividing by Zero
1/24 Grand Finale