The Unforgettable Woman – An intriguing tale of characters and relationships

The Unforgettable Woman is primarily based on three characters: Dr. Adarsh, a soft-spoken doctor working in a hospital in Ilathang, a district town in Sikkim; Smriti, a young female teacher working in the Ilathang government school; and Savitri, a beautiful, warm-hearted woman who is not at all afraid to speak her mind. A true maverick indeed she is! The plot of any book is one of the most significant yardsticks by which the quality of that book is measured. When we analyze the plot structure, we are delighted to remark that it has a truly captivating plot right from the beginning, and Giri develops it beautifully over the course of the novel with surprising twists and turns in several places.
Characters, Mark Twain remarks, are the heart of any work of literature. Here the author must be adulated for his marvellous creation of a coterie of characters. The chapters are titled with the names of the protagonists, which is undoubtedly an interesting choice. The third-person limited POV style has been used throughout except for the epilogue, which is in the first person.
The characters are strong and relatable, especially Savitri and fully resonate with the readers Savitri is a unique character, someone who will remain etched in the readers’ hearts for a long time. She aptly embodies the idea of a modern day empowered woman and stands firm and steadfast in the face of societal orthodoxies.
With phenomenal courage and dauntless spirits, she braves the storms of exasperating orthodoxies stoically. The other main characters, Adarsh and Smriti, are also well-crafted and worth rooting for right till the very end. Even the secondary characters like Meena, Doma, Satyadeep, and Siddharth have been developed with utmost meticulousness and precision who play a pivotal part in the story and hold the narrative.
It is admirable how the novel explores unique relationships and situations—an unconventional, divine relationship between a doctor and a patient; a sibling bond between a young girl and a teenage drug addict; and a warm friendship between an uncle and a nephew.
The Unforgettable Woman has an enigmatic profundity that is rarely found in the commercial novels which are in glut in the market today. In particular, a couple of things differentiate this novel from the rest works. This book dwells deep on an issue that most writers shy away from—drug addiction. The perils of drug addiction are shown through the struggles faced by the persona of Satya deel, which should be a learning experience for the self- sabotaging youth of today who are susceptible to drug abuse and ruin their otherwise beautiful lives. Secondly, unlike most contemporary authors who are engrossed with the charms of romantic relationships, this book focuses on a different kind of relationship—a platonic, non-sensual bond between the people of the opposite sex.
The linguist precision with which this book has been carved out makes it a magnum opus in sooth.
The language is comprehendible and lucid leavened with some clever and subtle wordplay at several places. The narrative is also interspersed with Nepali customs, cuisines, and rituals that imparts a rich cultural flavour to the story. It would not be a fallacy to designate the author a great wordsmith as the descriptions are so rich and vivid which paint an enthralling picture of the hilly landscapes of Sikkim. Undeniably, Giri manages to strike the right balance in terms of descriptions—they never seem insufficient or superfluous.
The story is narrated well with a sense of mystery and skilfully maintained right till the climax. The secret revealed at the climax is also unpredictable and pulls the readers at the edges of their reading chairs. Therefore, it is a pleasure to witness the intense interactions between the characters, the powerful, inspirational lines peppering the narrative, and the gripping depiction of the healing power of forgiveness.
The ending is also executed extremely well which leaves the reader with a warm, gratifying feeling at the core. A book highly recommended for readers who love unique, well-written fiction. A must read for all!
Dr. Navneet Kaur is a renowned critic and reviewer.

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