Afterwards – Jaishree Misra

25 Apr

Disappointing, was my thought as I turned the last page. Another Indian author that I had not tried for a long time despite several people urging me. The fact that she is related to Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai as stated by Wikipedia  was certainly one reason to try this one out. May be this is not her best book, however isn’t consistency the halmark of a good writer? Look at Rohinton Mistry or Anita Nair they manage to keep at it book after book. Her other books like Ancient Promises, Accidents Like Love and Marriage seem to have done much better.

With a threadbare plot, Afterwards is a weak novel with nothing that really stands out. It is the story of Maya – her oppressive married life, her brief dalliance with freedom and finally her demise. Abused by her suspicious husband in Kerala, Maya strikes up a friendship with Rahul Tiwari an NRI who hires out the house next door. Rahul is her ticket to freedom and she cajoles him into taking her and her daughter Anjali with him to the UK. After a short but happy life in England with Rahul, she dies in an accident. Pretty simple? While I do prefer simple plots, this one is too simple even for my liking.

In terms of characters Maya is the obvious central pivot. She is the only saving grace in another wise pretty ordinary set of actors. What makes her interesting are the grey shades that Jaishree has painted her with. She is not all love, grace and longsuffering as seen on the surface, she is conniving and scheming at some level especially in the way she impresses on Rahul to help her. Rahul, though the narrator of the story, is not as clearly drawn out. The others like Govind, Maya’s husband;  Kevin, Rahul’s English friend and Rahul’s parents are the others that do not make much of an impact. Rukmani, Maya’s mother is the only other character that has a decent role to play.

Jaishree seems to try a little too hard to make her descriptions of the mileau be it Kerala or London realistic. However, she is no match to Anita Nair or Arundhati Roy in the way they paint Kerala in their writings. She also goes overboard with the phase where Rahul is mourning Maya, a real tear jerker. I had to skip pages to escape repitition and boredom.  

Even the back of book comments are for her other books like Ancient Promises and Accidents Like Love and Marriage. I will definitely be more careful before I pick up another book of Jaishree.


Posted by on April 25, 2009 in Uncategorized


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8 responses to “Afterwards – Jaishree Misra

  1. asmalltimegenius

    April 30, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    hey… i just mentioned this to the author and i guess a copy can be sent across to you… whatsay?

    • davematt

      May 3, 2009 at 7:18 am

      Hi Vivek,

      Thank you for the offer, but I will try and buy it. I did check at stores in Bangalore and did not find it. Would be great if you could let me know which stores stock the book.


      • asmalltimegenius

        May 5, 2009 at 7:24 am

        Hi Dave,
        Knots and No Crosses is now available across Crossword. Should be there in Bangalore as well. You can enquire further here.

        Sohrab Hall
        Pune –
        Phone: (020) 260596 00


      • davematt

        June 29, 2009 at 9:10 am

        Hi Vivek,

        I have not seen Knots and Crosses in either Landmark, Crossword or Oxford in Chennai or Bangalore. Even Mridula Koshy’s If It Is Sweet has been launched in these stores.


  2. asmalltimegenius

    April 29, 2009 at 9:44 am


    i read a few of your reviews and i like your unbiased approach… (for example our views match on “You are here” and i honestly not read the rest… i am more of a gary zukhav, stephen hawking and a bit of robert pirsig kind of a reader)… i would love to recommend to you a new book called “Knots and No Crosses” by Hitesha Deshpande, another debutant Indian blogger author… i personally know the author and have read this book … would love to have your views on it..

    thanks a lot.


    you can get the details of the book on

    • davematt

      April 29, 2009 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Vivek. I will definitely try and get a copy of Knots and Crosses. I have a weakness for unheralded writers 🙂

      Also ask Hitesha to add this on Facebook. There is a group called New Books in India.

  3. davematt

    April 29, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Hi Padma, I am sure you are right about Ancient Promises. However, I wont be reading it in a hurry 🙂

  4. padmajav

    April 29, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I read this years ago… Liked her writing, but had too much sorrow…
    Read Ancient promises recently.. Loved it! You’re right about her consistency, though…


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