The Better Man


Authored By Anita Nair
Publisher Penguin
Publication Year 2000 October
Language English
Number of Pages 368 Pages

About the author: Anita Nair is a popular Indian English-language writer. She was born at Shornur in the state of Kerala. A bestselling author of fiction and poetry, her novels The Better Man and Ladies Coupe have been translated into 21 languages. She was educated in Chennai (Madras) before returning to Kerala, where she gained a BA in English Language and Literature. She was working as the creative director of an advertising agency in Bangalore when she wrote her first book, a collection of short stories called Satyr of the Subway, which she sold to Har-Anand Press. The book won her a fellowship from the Virginia Centre for Creative Arts.  She lives in Bangalore. Among Nair’s early commercial works were pieces she penned in the late 90’s for The Bangalore Monthly magazine (now called “080” Magazine), published by Explocity in a column titled ‘The Economical Epicurean’.

Blurb: A middle-aged bachelor Mukundan returns to his native Indian village and is haunted by the past. Determined to conquer old ghosts, Mukundan decides to restore his childhood home and hires One-Screw-Loose Bhasi, an outcast painter, to oversee the renovations. A practitioner of a unique style of healing, Bhasi sets about mending his troubled friend, but the durability of Mukundan’s transformation into a better man is soon called into question. With humour, wisdom, and a keen understanding of human frailty, Anita Nair has written a playful and moving account of the redemptive power of friendship.

Review: One of the best novels I’ve ever read. The plot is interesting and it is superbly written. The author has a great deal to say about the poetry and the meaning of life. Very sophisticated and elegantly written book. This is my first Anita Nair book. I am eager to read her next novels too. I enjoyed watching Kerala come alive in front of me as I read the book. I could almost hear the monsoon and see the big imposing tharavadu and the paddy fields.  The writer has taken a simple story of a man with numerous ghosts from his past finding himself and told it with such breathtakingly beautiful prose. The book should be read for the experience, for a feel of the place and for the plot which is fresh and simple. Definitely worth a read. Some where I felt the book feels a little unfinished and abrupt as though the author decided to stop writing and start again in places. Despite this Anita Nair has given attention to detail and carefully constructed each vital character as the story progressed.

Verdict:  4/5

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