Wednesday, 25 January 2012

French Lover by Taslima Nasrin - Book Review

‘’ Do women really have a land or mother land of their own ‘’ as quoted in the novel French Lover.
                         French Lover is a story based in Kolkata and Paris. The story takes place in the mid twentieth century. The characters of the book involve the main protagonist Nilanjana a young Bengali women from Kolkata. Nilanjana’s husband a rich Punjabi NRI kishanlal also Nilanjana’s bisexual friend Danielle and Nilanjana’s lover a blue eyed Frenchman Benoir Duont.  The characters in the book are very believable and real. The author has kept the emotions of her characters raw and no sugar coating is done. Taslima has given her characters very strong individual personalities. I haven’t experienced anything close to what Taslima’s characters express but I do identify with her point of view that men in whichever country are given the upper hand. 
                 The story describes the life of a woman from Kolkata who has been cheated by her lover and so decides to settle for an arranged marriage to an NRI kishanlal but soon realizes that the marriage lacks mutual respect and love. Kishanlal wants Nilanjana to be an obedient housekeeper and a lifeless object of his lust. Nilanjana wants escape from such a shallow relationship and so she decides to work against the wish of her husband. At work she meets the lovely Danielle who Nilanjana starts to think of as a real friend but Danielle turns out to be an emotionally destroyed person who was raped as a child and hence hates men. Nilanjana, who needs a place to stay as she has left her husband, is exploited and is expected to exchange sexual favors’ with Danielle in return of a place to stay. Nilanjana leaves Paris and goes back to Kolkata when she receives news that her mother is dying because of cancer. Nilanjana’s mother Molina gifts her daughter with a huge some of money and asks her to make a life for herself which she accepts. On the way back to Paris Nilanjana meets a married French man and they fall in love. She spends all her funds to keep Benoir with her but later realizes that a man who could abandon his wife and child for her could easily abandon her for another woman. Nilanjana walks out of the Frenchman’s life with nothing but self realization and liberation, abandoning the false beliefs of a narrow minded society.

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