Review: A Cage of Desires by Shuchi Singh Kalra

A Cage of Desires
Author: Shuchi Singh Kalra
Publisher: Penguin Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

‘Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.’
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fate is that inevitable event that happens to you in spite of all your plans. I once read somewhere that our mind perceives things in two different ways- realities (the way things are) and values (the way things should be). The constant bout between the mind and the heart often sets the alarm bells ringing for us. ‘A Cage of Desire’ is bold, brilliant and intense. It is surprising how well this book treasures a truckload of emotions and secrets.

With a humourless approach, the story addresses a very serious issue of the mid-life crisis. Using the character of ‘Renu’ to draw attention to this problem that women, in general, face, the author weaves a tale of love, lust, deceit and revenge. Beautifully crafted characters and exemplary narration help make the story a breezy read. Every time the odds cannot be in your favour and same happens with Renu. Once happy in her blissful married life, Renu now lives in a fool’s paradise. It is only a matter of time that she realizes the growing distance- both emotional and physical- between her and her husband, Dev. Call it a consequence of her fate or her circumstances, she is meek, dutiful and optimistic. She likes to see the world through her rose-tinted glasses. In a parallel reality, another protagonist, Maya, is audacious, pragmatic and seductive. Author of a few best-selling novels, she is a polarizing person who polarizes opinions.

Once Renu’s castle of illusions cracks, she starts believing that love is the bane of her life. But tables turn and Arjun enters her life. He ignites the flame that was lost long back. The flickering light makes Renu’s heart love again, unaware of the consequences that lie ahead. Once again, destiny rolls the dice and things turn nasty for Renu. She then meets Maya and her life transforms. If I describe any further, I will spill the beans. Thus, I leave it to the readers to decipher what happens next.

If it does not involve walking on the fire, it is not love. But what if your heart is in a mess, for it cannot decide whether to love or not? ‘A Cage of Desire’ houses a robust plot and explains some of the inexplicable complexities of life. With a very cut and dried blurb, the story builds up quite well right from the very beginning.

Most of the times, the story is predictable. Secondly, the descriptions are superfluous. An interesting story is woven together with the help of threads containing exemplary vocabulary but lengthy descriptions. Nevertheless, the book exposes us to the harsh reality of life and the pathos a woman goes through. It explores the needs of a woman who is stuck in the labyrinth of mundane and loveless life. It pokes fun at the society that still runs on patriarchy- a society that expects women to be within the four walls and remain tied with the chains of responsibility. Penguin does a wonderful job with the cover and the print, albeit, some typing errors can be found.

Best wishes to the author!

Buy the book here: Amazon

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