Book Review: The Withering Banyan by Hyma Goparaju

Book CoverOur bookstores are garlanded with lots of ‘PS: I’ll slit my throat for you’, ‘My wife, too, had a love story’ and such stuff which surprisingly sells like hot cakes and makes to the bestseller list.

It is good, rather great, that people are getting more and more into reading, but in this hoopla created by cleaver marketing, the real gems often go unnoticed.

When Hyma Goparaju contacted me about her book, the first thing that caught my attention was the title: The withering banyan. I read its blurb on Goodreads, and agreed to read the book.

Somehow, Hyma had a great difficulty in making the book reach me, and I’m sincerely thankful for her patience and generosity.

Now moving over to the book, The withering banyan is a tale of rise of one Marri family to affluence and its gradual fall due to Schizophrenia – a brain disorder genetically passed along its four generations, which the members ignorantly interpret as madness, till Natya, the granddaughter of the Marri family, comes to the rescue of the family.

The tone of the prose is biographical. And the precise, elegant, and graceful writing of the author has nicely managed to convey the story. Also the author’s love for the language is clearly evident on the paper. In fact, I found the language as one of the greatest strength of the book.
Hyma Goparaju
However, at times the author has gone out of the way to describe things in detail, which derails the momentum of the central theme. Also too many adverbs and adjectives have been used to describe the dialogue of the characters, where even if you pick only the dialogue and discard its description, you don’t lose the meaning of the story.

But I highly liked the way the author has narrated the story, where alternate chapters have been dedicated to carry forward two stories – one of the past, and other of the present – to finally converge at the end to complete the story.

It was an interesting read. The story was good. The language was excellent. But I feel that the same could have been said in fewer pages.

So I would give two stars to the book (for the language and the story), and hold three for the length of the book and the adverbs and adjectives.

I recommend it to anyone who doesn’t read for a mere timepass, and also has love for the language.

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

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