Book Reviews

The Girl Who Kissed the Snake

Leema Dhar, a young prolific and energetic writer, has done the miracle because she has written three novels in just eleven months and they are all fruitful, issue based works. The girl who kissed the snake is Leema Dhar’ third striking novel. The main plot revolves around the protagonist kira who takes revenge of her mother’s rape. When she was only eight weeks foetus, her mother was raped.

The Girl Who Kissed the Snake”, deals with the psychological and emotional trauma of a mother and daughter. Tarzania, Kira’s mother and the leading character of this novel, is the voice of a traumatized mother, a wife who is slighted and subordinated by Vimal, her husband, a woman whose sufferings are caused by a male- dominated world in which a woman and a mother suffers because she is a woman. Kira’s mother joined a bank service to help financially to run the house. It also evinced that she was a woman who is self made and also works to secure herself respect in male chauvinist society. The novel divided into 23 chapters. The story develops each and every passing chapter. Kira, the main characters, is a smart one; she’s a lovely, intelligent and an honest, sincere girl. The central character of the novel, Kira expresses her opinion, feelings and emotions through writing E-mails, a modern device used frequently by the present day novelist. She is an omniscient narrator; the reader is thus a keen direct spectator of her mental improvement.
She lives only with her mother. Her father left her and her mother and started living with another woman, Meera. Kira loves a boy called Riyaan but he was not loyal to her. She does not seem to be leading her life like her mother, left, thwarted and defeated by the circumstances made by the others because she was very intelligent and represents a self made modern Indian girl who believes in herself and makes her luck by her hard work. She says:

“Men have no emotions; even if they have, it’s not as intense as the girls’; Vimal my father, unfortunately my Dad, being one of them. I’ve seen Mom break to pieces in front of my eyes. I couldn’t see that happening to me again.” Pg.22

As a postmodern feminist novel “The girl who kissed the snake” is concerned with the dismantling patriarchal systems that suppress women. The ending is curious unlike what was expected. The language is racy and effective. As a creative writer Leema has injected life into the moth-eaten records and has infused blood and life into all the characters. Leem Dhar has described the scene of revenge very beautifully when Kira takes revenge of her mother: 

“But then there were no more of intentions, no more revenge and the final film that crossed my mind, I had done it. I’d been successful in taking each of the revenges I wanted to.” Pg.191

The language of the novel is clear, simple, and lucid and at places local expressions are used to create the locale. The novelist shows a great gift for using simple language to carry inspiring thoughts and emotions.
I would argue that it was not the author’s intention with this novel to sensationalize the act of rape in any way.  Kira’s frightening revenge against her mother’s rapist has provoked readers for a while but at the same time we have to remember one thing that at the end of the day we are all human being and we are actually satisfied by the revenge because there is some kind of a cathartic effect in revenge.   Leema’s intention is more emphasized in her original choice of title for the book: The girl who kissed the snake – a title evidentially too powerful .It is my belief that the novel can be linked into the rape-revenge genre of novels. The rape-revenge film and novel is also usually associated with the horror genre, but most definitely is not limited to it.  It almost seems as though her revenge against her mother’s rape is justifiable as we are given the feeling that it is the only thing she can do to make certain that she gets the freedom that she is rightfully entitled to. The way she has introduced and developed all characters individually by giving them a nice engaging narration. I enjoyed the book and the whole thing it had to offer. Yes it took me some time to get my teeth into this one; however I liked the writing and the plot. A good read if you want to read something serious and thought-provoking

Book: The Girl Who Kissed the Snake
Author: Leema Dhar
Publisher: General Press India
ISBN: 9380914598
Genre: Fiction
Year of release:-2013
Pages: 208
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5
Price: - Rs 125


More by :  Dr. Anshu Pandey

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