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The Habit of Love by Namita Gokhale is a collection of thirteen stories that reflect and internalize the lives of women. Of course one cannot generalize anything basis these stories, however yes they provide the necessary framework needed to understand the environment around us. Some women do not belong to the present, some are parts of today and now and some are just wanderers.
Namita Gokhale speaks to you through her characters and stories. She wants you to believe and there are times you do, only wanting more. The women in these stories are not extraordinary. They do not take life-changing decisions, or change the world. What they do instead is connect with the reader and make them see things and situations a little differently.
The stories are well laid out. From an older womans infatuation with a younger man to the messenger swan narrating a story of doomed lovers, Nala and Damayanti, the stories capture the essence without becoming pedantic or superficial. The profundity of the stories are revealed through what goes on in the minds of the women, the not-so-quiet lives lead and the uneasiness with which their lives go haywire sometimes and sometimes are in control.
The Habit of Love is different from her earlier books, which were flippant and funny. This one is serious and makes you think a little. The womans heart is not laid bare and at the same time there is enough and more of a glimpse to make readers wonder. The writing strikes you in a couple of places and in some it seems a little hurried, however it is a great read for a summer afternoon.
"The Habit of Love is a collection of stories about the inner lives of women. Some of these women inhabit the ancient past, some the present day but they share the whimsical humour with which they speak of themselves. Journalist Madhu Sinha strikes up a friendship with a young man the same age as her indifferent children; a messenger swan relates the story of the doomed lovers Nala and Damayanti; Vatsala Vidyarthi suspects her one night stand of stealing her money. Delicately poised between irony and grief, The Habit of Love is both elegant and acute, arch and melancholic. In these moving stories she displays both sympathy and understanding as she unveils the workings of a womans heart.
About the Author
Namita Gokhalewas born in 1956. Her first novel, Paro: Dreams of Passion, was published to widespread acclaim in 1984. Her other books include Gods, Graves, and Grandmother, A Himalayan Love Story, Mountain Echoes, The Book of Shadows and The Book of Shiva. Namita Gokhale lives in New Delhi.