There are many things in this world we don’t know much about, like aliens and ghosts. There are, however, things we do know well, such as our friends, family, lovers — or do we? The scariest realisation you come to after reading Neil D’Silva’s Maya’s New Husband is that it could be (and probably is) perfectly plausible that we live amid people who could be anybody, a voodoo priest, a cannibal, even a sex maniac.
In Maya’s New Husband, Maya, a 30-something woman meets and eventually falls in love with a suspicious, brooding character called Bhaskar. While all is well until he courts her, sinister incidents start to unravel post marriage (as they do in regular marriages as well, but a tad differently).
Maya’s… is a page turner, above everything else. It’s a psychological horror that goes beyond ghosts and goblins. The author takes time to sketch both characters in depth and although Maya is the protagonist, it’s Bhaskar who shines.
What I liked
- Neil doesn’t shy away from establishing the depravity of his character; at a point or two, you really begin to despise him and that shows a job well done by the writer.
- Anuradha’s character; granted she’s whiny, seems regressive but she’s also courageous, unlike Maya, who’s shown to be spunky in the beginning but turns surprisingly meek later on.
- The twist at the end – I was not expecting this and it’s a great way of keeping the reader hungry.
What I didn’t like
- Because he is thorough about introducing you to every character, it tends to make the reader a bit impatient but once you hit the turning point, things really begin to speed up.
- I wish the relationship between Bhaskar and his father had been portrayed a little more convincingly. I think compared to the groundwork he laid in establishing the relationship of Maya with her mother, the one between Bhaskar and his father seemed a tad incomplete.
- The language at times is a bit flowery where simpler and snappier sentences could’ve done a much better job – this might be a personal pet peeve given the nature of my own stories but well, a review is personal.
The book’s biggest strength is perhaps the subject itself. Is it a good story? Yes. Is the writing good? Undoubtedly. But the most commendable fact is that the book ventures into a space that few Indian writers have bothered to explore, despite India’s deep ties to ancient myths, rites, folklore and legends. Suffice to say that if you’d like an insight into a well-written Indian psychological horror, this one’s a great choice.