Title: A Bad Character
Author: Deepti Kapoor
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Genre: Literary Fiction, Cultural Fiction (South Asian)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
A young woman is attending college in Delhi, living with her aunt after her mother’s death. She falls in love with an older man, someone entirely unsuitable, and experiences a passionate love affair, defying traditional expectations and setting herself upon a dark path.
The first thing you notice about A Bad Character is the spare prose. It’s beautiful and lyrical, and is almost like verse. Kapoor uses as few words as possible to tell her story, and it evokes many emotions: longing, sadness, and despair, just to name a few. It makes the book easy to read, even when it feels heavy, edging into brutality. This is not a lighthearted read, by any stretch of the imagination; Kapoor knows pain and makes sure the reader feels it too.
The narrator of A Bad Character is nameless; she’s addressed once, but it isn’t clear if that is her name or a nickname. It serves to draw the reader more deeply in the narrative; the emotional distance you normally have of reading someone else’s story disappears entirely. It’s a novel of swirling emotions, full of love and loss, and the darkness and self-destruction that come with tragedy. The main character defies everyone’s expectations in this novel, including her own; Kapoor manages to discuss the treatment of young women in India while keeping the narrative solely and exclusively focused on the main character. All in all, this novel is incredibly well done and I look forward to seeing what Kapoor does next.