A Mother’s Goodbye (IWSG August 4)

Dear Readers

I am taking a break today from the series on my favourite poems and prose/drama pieces to introduce you all to a new book.

A Mother’s Goodbye authored by Kasturi Patra and published by Half Baked Beans is a coming-of-age story of Mou, Avik and Ishan whose lives turn upside down when their mother leaves them without a warning. Ever imagined a mother doing that? What emotion does it evoke in you?

The premise of the story took me back to a personal experience. Half a decade ago I lost a close friend to suicide. We are never prepared for death. It always comes unannounced and sometimes leaves us with a gnawing feeling of remorse and guilt, and it becomes difficult to dust off the accountability.

But not for everyone. Society finds it easy to pass the buck on to the one who isn’t around to defend themselves. And if that someone is a mother and a woman, well, you do have your scapegoat! My friend was guillotined after she was gone for being an irresponsible mother, for they said, her life wasn’t her own but belonged to her child.

And this brings me back to Kasturi’s book. Mou and Avik are teenagers who are left to fend for themselves and to look after their eight-year-old brother Ishaan when their mother leaves unexpectedly. In the bizarre circumstances, the youngsters hold on to every available straw, putting together pieces of their fragmented lives and stealing moments of being alive while looking for their (supposedly)lost mother.

The book is an emotional rollercoaster. Search for identity, love, longing and responsibility form a maze through which they must find their way out. Societal problems and social taboos are intricately woven into the story pattern, posing so many relevant questions which the Indian society must wake up to now!

The mother is conspicuous by her absence and that is what makes her omnipresent. She visits us in the form of delicate fragrances, poetry, her friends and through the canvas of her children’s memories. Relationships are absurdly complicated and the author does a wonderful job of laying them bare before us. She makes no effort to hide their imperfections and allows them to take a life of their own. That is what you see towards the end. You know how the life of the characters will eventually shape up, yet the story leaves scope for the “time will decide” syndrome.

Do the teenagers find their mother? Why does she leave them? Are they convinced with her reasons? Are the readers convinced? Does she return? These are the questions that keep you hooked to the story. Does a mother’s life belong to her children or do their lives belong to her? What do you think?

The author, of course, gives her characters the freedom to make their own choices and the freedom to be! But what about us?

I wouldn’t want you to miss this book at all. It is available for purchase on the link provided at the end of this post. It is free on KindleUnlimited.

Since today is the IWSG day, I decided to ask Kasturi Patra the question for the month and here is her response.

Question for August 4:  What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

Answer: My favorite book on the writing craft is The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante. It’s around 600 to 700 pages but so far, I’ve read the book almost thrice.Every time I read it, I gain so, so much out of it. I think this book is hugely responsible for making me the writer that I am today. Each and every technique of the writing craft is handled with care and specific examples are given from stories and novels.But more importantly, LaPlante’s constant assurance that rules are meant to be broken and her showing us through specific examples how authors managed to break rules and still wow the readers, help in encouraging writers at every stage by telling them that writing, first and foremost, is an act of liberating our minds and souls. I am sure I’ll be reading this book many times over for as long as I live and write. Also, the prompts from this book have been super helpful in making my creative juices flowing. I’ve written quite a few short stories that started off as prompt exercises from this book.

The IWSG is a wonderful group supporting emerging and established writers. To join the group click here.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox! Thank you to them.

This post is part of # Blogchatter Half Marathon and I am introducing myself through some of the poems, prose pieces, monologues that shaped the writer in me. Today I chose to talk about a new book in my library and a little about the writing craft. 

Here is the purchase link of the book.

29 thoughts on “A Mother’s Goodbye (IWSG August 4)”

  1. Thank you Sonia for the book review. Sounds interesting though heart-rending.
    I agree with your craft-book answer. techniques and rules are an inspiration for me , as long as they are references to be broken or circumnavigated on my own steam.
    Take care.

  2. This book is already on my TBR. Now your detailed review has increased my excitement to start reading this as soon as possible. And the answer to the question has helped me another book as well. thanks for sharing this information.

  3. I am intrigued by the review. I like that the title is in contrast to the content, and how you connect that to the immense burden placed on mothers to be utterly selfless and live up to everyone else’s outside expectations. Thank you, also, for the highly recommended craft book!

  4. A Mother’s Goodbye sounds like a poignant story. Thanks for mentioning it here today and thanks for adding The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante to the list of books on the craft of writing.

  5. I’m sure it is very chaotic to lose a mother. How confusing for a child, at any age, to not know where she went and why. Sounds like a very compelling book.

  6. I’m sorry to hear of the suicide of your close friend. That’s such a tough thing to deal with.

    Your review of A Mother’s Goodbye is excellent, so many intriguing and important questions raised.

  7. This sounds like a really good book indeed, one I would definitely want to read. I am generally drawn to books about hard-hitting topics, so this sounds intriguing. As a person who lives with severe mental illness that includes periodic suicidal ideation, I can relate to the blame game.

  8. Suicide is a horrible tragedy. I knew a woman whose teenage son committed suicide. The only reason she survived the experience – she had two sons. She had to be there for her other boy.
    We all make mistakes as parents. I know I did. But some of our mistakes have more devastating consequences that others.

  9. Life can be so complex, and I love how you touch on that in the beginning. That must have been a terrible loss. We never know what another person goes through. <3

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