Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Custody by Manju Kapur

On the jacket:

Raman is a fast rising marketing executive at a global drinks company; Shagun is his extraordinarily beautiful wife. With his glittering future, her vivid beauty, and their two adorable children—eight year old Arjun who looks just like her and two year old Roohi who looks just like him—the pair appear to have everything. Then Shagun meets Raman’s dynamic new boss Ashok and everything changes. 

Once lovers and companions, husband and wife become enemies locked in an ugly legal battle over their two children. Caught in their midst is the childless Ishita who is in love with the idea of motherhood. Custody is the riveting story of how family-love can disintegrate into an obsession to possess children, body and soul, as well as a chilling critique of the Indian judicial system. Told with nuance, sympathy, and clear-sightedness, it confirms Manju Kapur’s reputation as the great chronicler of the modern Indian family. 


Picking a Manju Kapur book without giving it any thought, is natural. It's a pity she hasn't written a lot. Custody, Kapur's latest, is yet another good read.

The day before I started reading Custody, I had come to know about a friend's husband cheating on her. Disturbed, I already was, initially, I wasn't sure if I would want to go ahead and read the entire book. Infertility and Infidelity, two things which depress me, are the main streams of Custody. Revolving around four main characters, Raman, his wife Shagun, his boss and later Shagun's second husband Ashok, and Ishita, Raman's parents' neighbour's daughter and his second wife, the story transitions from event to event, very smoothly.

Talking of the jet-set travelling, big-buck earning, private sector executives and how their busy schedules affect their lives, Custody, takes a dip into the Indian societies reaction to infertility, and how despite our best judgements, we let the society and it's norms govern our lives.

The story is sad, but it will not break your heart. Events and pratical and justified and not stretched. One of the best parts about a Manju Kapoor novel, is the characters she spins. Like in Custody,  you can very well imagine the characters, in the Delhi localities mentioned, going about their day!

My rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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