“Every Here is Beautiful is a stunning debut,” Shruti said. The story is about two sisters, Miranda, the older sister, and Lucia who is schizophrenic. In spite of her precarious mental health, Lucia lives a life of no compromise and it is Miranda who tries to help her sister in time of need. The novel, which featured as a Top 10 debut, talks about a variety of issues from love, mental health, marriage to immigration and displacement.
“It seems autobiographical,” Shruti said. “The experiences outlined in the book are so real that it can not be otherwise.” Mira T. Lee is familiar with mental health issues in her family. She’s also invested heavily in research.
“This is one of the better books on mental health, I have been told. The book particularly interested me as the author talks about schizophrenia impacting young mothers. It’s amazing that many of us can wake up in the morning without feeling depressed and be able to spend time with our children with a sense of joy. You just feel blessed,” Shruti said.
Theater is an excellent medium when it comes to educating the public about mental health disorders. For those of you in Bangalore on June 14, you may want to catch a play called Broken Images starring the talent Shabana Azmi, written by Girish Karnad and directed by Alyque Padamsee. The theme of the play centers on schizophrenia.
Another book Shruti found fabulous was Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale. The story hosts a number of parallel plots. Tenants, landlords and developers each have their own agenda at a time when the landscape of Bombay was changing drastically. The book does share the theme of real estate in Mumbai with Adiga’s Last Man in Tower but there the similarity ends.
The conversation moved onto the delight of children’s books these days and the beauty of native stories brilliantly translated by writers like A. K. Ramajunan and Arunava Sinha. It was debatable whether the English language could provide the range of experience that native languages were able to.
More books in Part 3.