Do you have a writer whose books you pick up without even thinking twice or reading the blurb?
For me, it has always been Manju Kapur, whose stories have always mesmerized me and has kept me near the values that I have grown up with. Her writing style, her way of exploring deep into human emotions is something that only Shashi Deshpande has managed to challenge.
Her recent book, Brothers also revolves around complexities of marriage and society and a strong woman character at the center of the tornado, which is her life. The story revolves around Himmat and Mangal Gaina, Brothers who began their life in a village but it ended in Jaipur.
Growing up in his brother’s shadow, Mangal imagines his relationship with Himmat just like their fathers had, looking out and picking up each other. However, Himmat is meant for greater things, and his focus is to establish himself in politics. To settle his brother, he arranges his marriage with Tapti, but things go for a toss in the family when Brothers realize that Tapti is not a regular village girl. She has dreams and goals in life, whereas Mangal wants to take life easy and is always on a lookout for fame and money via the quick route. Tapti doesn’t agree with his approach or his ways and ends up being the wife who constantly nags and pokes at her husband to improve. However, a fire of revenge is being built up inside Mangal, and Tapti is unknowingly pouring oil into it.
Through Brothers, Manju Kapur again managed to pull me into her magical vortex of family complexities and dramas. Initially, when you read Brothers, you get a feeling that both Mangal and Himmat will stand together to fight against the world and its rules. But as the story progress, you are in for surprise after surprise. Another brilliant thing about Manju Kapur’s books is the strong female leads! They may seem like demure and docile at first, but when attacked they charge like a bull! And in Brothers also, Tapti takes away the title of my most favorite character. she has a voice, she knows what she wants in life and she also knows how to keep the family together.
The only elephant in the room, while I was reading Brothers, was that, that the story started to drag a bit in the middle. With all the political details and background of the story, I think the book would’ve done better without them, maybe around 50-75 pages or so.
All in all, Brothers by Manju Kapur is a good read with 3.5*/5 (Verdict: Make sure you read this one! )