Book review | Seduction By Truth by Mukul Kumar

Genre: Romance, Drama

No. of pages: 187

Published by: Bloomsbury India

Published on: 18th October 2018

Format: Paperback

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Shiva is handsome, an irresistible talker, well-off, lives in Delhi's poshest suburb, is a
dutiful husband to the attractive Akriti and is a perfect father to their little son. So why is he the picture of disenchantment?

Is it that not-so-uncommon human condition-boredom that sometimes accompanies fidelity-that haunts him? In Shiva's case, the discovery that Akriti has already found distraction with someone else frees him to look for excitement on his own-but with a mind conflicted between dharma and desire. Which is the path that he will choose to walk on?

Shiva embarks on a journey to empirically explore different options-the sexually vibrant Sana and Mary, to name a few-but at the end, winds up with more questions
than he started out with. To confuse things further, Akriti continues to occupy a tender place in his heart-as a woman first and a wife later.

A slice-of-life tale, which is part reality and part legend, Seduction by Truth dares the modern reader to solve civilization's oldest puzzle-marriage.

This book is about a forty-one year old man, Shiva, who has a hard time accepting the fact that his wife, Akriti, has lost interest in getting intimate with him. A self-confident and proud man, Shiva, unfortunately comes to know that his wife is having an affair behind his back. Shiva, unable to accept the fact that some other man has won over Akriti, defeating him as a man and a husband, goes on his own quest to conquer three other women. He sees these conquests as his own way of evaluating his charms and skills of wooing a woman and thus gaining a twisted type of self-satisfaction. 

I don't know whether I liked the book or not. I want to love it because it depicts the reality of marriage. A marriage that unconventionally goes out of hands because of the lack of being sexually active. Again, the book focuses on a lot about 'conquering' these other women as a sign of masculinity. I really did not get the point of this side of the book. 

First, coming to the premise. I loved how the author has incorporated mythology in the book. Shiva is a very interesting character. He uses logic and draws inspiration from the Hindu Gods to justify his acts. The book, in a sense, is rich with information about the Gods and Goddesses who themselves committed adultery. Shiva justifies that if the Gods can do so and still be jailed as all almighty then mortals can do so too. 

Secondly, Shiva's conquest of these three women are very interesting. The three women belong to three different religion. These women's unique individual prejudices or views about adultery makes the story tasteful and the author shows artfully how Shiva changes their minds about adultery by carefully examining their views and changing them into his own views, not to forget, deftly considering the myths about their religion. So the book shows how religion and prejudices revolve around the concept of adultery. 

One thing that I did not like about this book is the mindless objectification of sex and women. It could be calmed down a bit. I personally felt that this much was not needed at all. I still don't get the point of the book. Like did it want to show how adultery can be normalised or did it just show a journey of a man's egoistic boost through his sexual competency? 

I really enjoyed the author's writing style. It's extremely poetic and full of metaphors. Sample this: 
"... But it's good that we are able to talk about this; most people don't and remain as if in a cauldron simmering with unease,..." 
I enjoyed reading this book because the poetic style was really mind-boggling. Loved how the author narrated Shiva's story and through him, Hindu mythology about adultery. 

Mukul Kumar is a civil servant of the batch of 1997. An Indian Railway Traffic Service officer, he is currently posted in the Ministry of Railways, New Delhi. A graduate of Kirori Mal College, Mukul has studied Public Administration at the prestigious Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi.

His publications include an anthology of English poems, The Irrepressible Echoes (2012), and his first work of fiction, As Boys Become Men (2016).

I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset


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