Book Review: The Monsters Still Lurk by Aruna Nambiar

The Monsters Still Lurk
Author: Aruna Nambiar
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 4.5/5

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
― Dr. Seuss

Life happens to us when we are busy making plans while looking at the world with rose-tinted glasses. ‘The Monsters Still Lurk’ is a poignant tale of love, sacrifice, strength and courage. Set in the post-independence era, this tale uses symbolism and talks about the troubles that never cease to exist. In fact, these troubles always skulk outside the door. They may ambush us in the form of diseases or death or decrepitude. And such is life: definitely not a bed of roses!

Aruna Nambiar takes an unusual approach to uncover the plethora of problems our country and its people faced. Narrating the story from Vivek’s point of view, the author subtly touches upon the importance of family, love and trust. It is said that a family that eats together, stays together. This story proves this right.

Simple language yet powerfully evocative dialogues help the readers empathize with the children who find it hard to come to grips with life after their parents pass away. I liked how there is an uncanny similarity between Vivek’s family and our nation at large. Like one big family, we all struggled to survive amidst tensions in terms of economy, hatred, social prejudices and wars.

On a parallel note, the story teaches us that even during the vulnerability, it is important to stick together and hang on to life with fingernails because gradually the bad phase will get over. Vivek’s parents are like any other parents belonging to a middle-class family- they crack self-deprecating jokes, they are boastful about their eccentric habits and at the same time are fearful of ageing and leaving behind all the pleasures of life (especially their children).

The quest to overcome the changes (be it bodily changes or the changes in the environment or the changes in the societal norms) and become a part of the whole has been beautifully captured in words. This book might have a murkier title but it has the potential to pierce the protective bubble we all are living in. After all, life is like that. We need to be ready with the bat to bat away the problems!

Best wishes to the author!

Buying Link: Amazon

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