Author – Anita Nair
Publisher – Westland
Pages – 260
Format Read- Kindle e-book
Kindleandkompass rating – 4/5
The book starts with the death of a 35 years old renowned writer Sreelakshmi in a small fictional town Nila. No one knows why she kills herself. After decades ,her index finger which is kept in a pen case at the back of an antique cupboard in a resort becomes the narrator witnessing women and girls who are subjected to abuse, online stalking and other societal pressure.
As I first read the blurb,I assumed “Eating Wasps” to be a thriller with a pinch of horror. But as I made progress , it was nothing of the sort I assumed.
Sreelakshmi’s index finger that’s picked from the funeral pyre becomes the narrator and observer of the flawed life of a few women . The finger bone gets passed to the women who are connected by the location of the story, which is a small resort near the river Nila. It becomes the observer of their lives in the past and narrates it back to us. They are rebels, outcasts misfits who are strong enough to face the male domination in their own surroundings. Nair pens down these women’s memory as individual chapters and the interesting part is she doesn’t give an ending to the stories. But she instills hope to her readers and lets them draw a conclusion.
Nair takes you through different period featuring characters from the 60s to the recent modern era where gadgets and applications rule the world. Her way of describing the modern age from the point of view of a woman from the 60’s is brilliant.
Facebook was more than a village well where daily updates are shared and Instagram was the bathing spot in the river where you either looked or looked at.As for Twitter, it was no more than the extension of the tea shop where men gathered more than for news and debate than for tea and paripuu vada.
Nair’s narrative style is mesmerizing and un-putdownable. Her eloquent diction and intense writing makes the reader feel what her characters feel and think. I especially loved Sreelakshmi’s own story where she lives life the way she wants. Right from eating a wasp at the age of 4 to the women who is drowned by disappointments, her story will definitely be anyone’s favorite.What disappointed me was the too many women stories the author had tried inserting. I felt a few characters were just there, barely making any impact.
Eating Wasps could be your choice if you are looking for something dark, unique and haunting that speaks feminism.