Sujata Parashar’s The Temple Bar Woman is one woman’s story of avenging her lost honour and of her retribution.
Radhika Chaudhary, the protagonist of the novel, was gang raped by a young politician, Vikram Pratap Singh, and his gang of cronies. A teacher in her father's school, she was sold to a brothel by the culprits after the act. In the present fiction, Parashar traces the path Radhika’s life takes from 1999, when she was an innocent girl ready to embrace life with open arms, till 2017 after she became the chief minister of Agria Pradesh.
Habiba Bi, the brothel owner, is a typical mistress but one who’ll be remembered for her solidarity with the protagonist. They form a makeshift family along with the other sex workers. This integrity helps them endure the trials and tribulations of living as prostitutes in the dog-eat-dog world. The two women come together to overthrow their common enemy — Vikram Singh, and his father Bharat Singh. The men, whom they are out to punish, are powerful and devious politicians. In their objective to attain their goal, the two women resort to all sorts of underhand means. Radhika even lures another politician, recently widowed Rakshit Singh, into marrying here thereby paving for herself the way into the world of politics. By the time the story concludes, Radhika succeeds in punishing the wrong doers.
The first half of the book is where Parashar weaves her ingenious, which however falls flat by the time the book ends. The final, climactic act doesn’t quite have a punch. Everything seems rushed. It doesn’t quite live up to the potential of its premise However, her writing is strong and her voice is strong. She has dared to write something that is not openly spoken in our country — rape and the survivor’s plight.
Parashar crafts a realistic story and brings it to life in a unique setting. She creates an array of strong, tough women who drive the plot. All in all, the writer has managed to produce an engaging tale.
I'd like to thank the author for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!
* I received a review copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in