08 May, 2021

A Bruising Pursuit Of Love

Autobiography masquerades as novel in a tale of vicious dysfunction overcome by resoluteness of spirit

A Bruising Pursuit Of Love

The only lie in this pack of truths, so far as I can tell, is its title. The author’s voice is so raw with the need to tell her story that it simply doesn’t make sense except as autobiography.

But as she is the daughter of the late poet and novelist, Gauri Deshpande, it isn’t possible to think of this as just another tale of derelict parenting, embellished by a young writer’s lively imagination. A grotesque portrait emerges of life in the shadow of a highly acclaimed mother who simply did not have the time or patience to care for her three small daughters, two by her first husband and a third by the second.

Virginia, as the book’s protagonist is called, uses herself as a battering ram, a shield, a spear, anything in order to draw her famous mother’s attention. To no avail. She succeeds only in putting herself in harm’s way in various time-honoured ways. She humps every boy, man or rusty nail she encounters, she and her friends support themselves for a period on the sale of hash, she...

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