Saturday, March 21, 2015

#BookReview: The Return of the Butterfly (Social Butterfly #3) by Moni Mohsin

On the jacket:

I tell you the halaats are so bad, so bad that don’t even ask. The Talibans sitting on top of our heads, bombs bursting left, right and centre, drones droning away, load-shedding a hundred hours a day, servants answering back, in-laws trying to upstage you, friends throwing you out of their kitties and on top of that elections ka tamasha. Janoo tau is coming closer and closer to a nervous brake out while Mummy is getting sterile dementia. As for Kulchoo, bhai, don’t even ask.  
But I’ve decided, come what may, I tau am not going to let anyone clamp my style. I’m going to live just as I like—watching my Turkish soaps, going to GTs and weddings, throwing kitty parties, telling everyone everything saaf-saaf and, of course, doing summers in London—voh tau must hai na. And I’m going to do it in my Jimmy Choo ki heels and my sleeveless designer shirts, and my streaked hair and my Prada ki sunglasses. This much I’m telling you all from now only. So tighten your seat belts, okay?


I haven't read the previous books of the series - The Diary of a Social Butterfly and Duty Free, so it took me a while to understand why the protagonist is talking the way she is and who the rest of the characters are.

This is Butterfly's narration of her life and the people in them. Being an Indian who hasn't really met another Pakistani, Butterfly reminds me of housewives in upscale areas of Delhi/Punjab. She considers herself very elite, has to speak in English which is almost always wrong and is a bit of a pea brain. Her wit lies in her language and the way she expresses herself. She uses a lot of Hindi as well as English, however I need to point that the Hindi is not how we write on this side of the familiar. It's only recently that I have become familiar with spellings like tau (we spell it as toh), honay walay (we write hone wale), so if I'd read this before, I would have been a bit bewildered with the text. 

Moving on to Mohsin's writing, it is witty. One could actually envision a dumb, rich housewife being and doing what Butterfly was. Butterfly is most interesting - has her head in the crowd yet likes to have an opinion on everything, even politics. She lives with her husband Janoo and son Kulchoo. She is superficial and believes being rich and good looking is a virtue. The language did turn me off initially but few pages into the book and I realised how deliberate and necessary that was, to build the characters and the scenario. 

I plan to read the first two books of the series now, and then re-read this again. I quite likes Mohsin's style of writing once I got used to it, I'd like to read all of Butterfly's story.

Rating: ***.5/5

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

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