A book like this is intended to reach most human beings. A book like this can cloud your heart with the darkness that is seeping through its pages and engulf you in a shroud. Anita Nair’s brilliant piece of work, Eating Wasps is a book dedicated to finding the missing links in our lives that have been taken apart due to the weight of the inevitability of tragedy. Eating Wasps, the title is an apt description of how one feels after reading this book. Like tiny wasps that end up in our mouth accidentally, Nair’s book talks about how accidental choices can leave us bitter and traumatized yet somehow we need to keep moving forward.
The story starts with the death of Sreelakshmi, an esteemed writer, who has been given the accolade of being Kerala’s Virginia Woolf. Her relationship with Marcose goes downhill and we see glimpses of what it was like and how she drove herself to death. It is through Sreelakshmi’s ghost that we travel through the lives of various women and younger girls and how anomalies in their lives decide their path. Urvashi’s seemingly perfect married life drives her bitter and she leaves her house and starts living in a resort to unwind herself. Megha, the young girl, who is sexually assaulted by a predator, has to live with the trauma. Najma, who has survived the acid attack by her stalker, scrapes through each day but tries not to let her past affect her future and aspires to become something worthwhile in her life. These and many other women in the book are prime examples of how patriarchy demolishes the feminine spirit and tries to replace it with a toxic domination.
What stands out for me in the book is Anita Nair’s writing. She is a conjurer, weaving magic through her words and making the reading experience a beauty altogether. Her writing style is the reason why I felt like I was with the women when their worlds were crashing down. Nair is a brilliant author, no doubt and this book doesn’t fall short in proving that.
What didn’t work out for me was how the book became a little predictable at places and how the enormous number of characters made little sense by the end of the book and I only wish she had stuck to a few and helped us understand more about them.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for great books on feminism written by Indian authors in the contemporary times then Eating Wasps would be a perfect choice.