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Book Review of Vanished Girl by Lakshmi Menon

by Rakhi Jayashankar
(Tripunithura, Kerala, India)

A girl who sets out to meet her ailing father who is on his death bed vanishes into thin air. No-one has any idea where she went and when she was missed or abducted. The plot has a lot of possibilities and author has made use of these possibilities.

The plot takes off when Akila boards the train to Kerala where she is going to meet her father who is on death bed. A girl whose whole family depends on her, when goes missing the whole family is unhinged emotionally, financially and physically. Another angle of her teacher Vinod, with whom she had an undisclosed romantic connection is developing. Vinod is also clueless about where Akila has vanished. The next part of the plot shows us what happened to Akila, which could not be disclosed in an attempt to avoid spoilers. The suspense of the book is developing at different levels and author has carefully hidden them without mentioning it in the blurb as well.

The style of narration is simple yet uncompromising in quality. The step by step build up of the plot makes sure the readers are hooked to the book till the end. At every point, the readers would be curious to know what happens next. However, the conviction over what happened to Akila, why it happened and why she let it happen was lacking. Nonetheless, readers could give a benefit of doubt to the characters since they are in a scenario where everyone won't fit in.

The characters of Akila's mother, brother, uncles and Vinod are not given due space since the plot develops after one forth of the book, forsooth. Nonetheless, the shift in scenario is done seamlessly and further the new characters that are introduced lead the plot and does that with finesse. From the author's first book, this one stands out in terms of uniqueness of plot, craft of characters and style of narration. The mysterious cover image has acted as a booster for the plot.


A good, easy read with uncompromising quality.

Scenario: 4 /5
Narration : 4.5/5
Character : 4/5
Entertainment Quotient: 4/5

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Dec 16, 2018
My Review of Vanished Girl
by: Sangeetha Nandagopal

"Vanished Girl" is the story of Akhila which unfolds beautifully in a well structured and simply put narration . In a gist, it deals with the most delicate topic of motherhood for three women,where one craves to know if her child is alive, the other enters a complicated puzzle of surrogacy;The third woman counts her days on earth, praying fervently to see her husband's unborn child. There are men too, three of them again ,whose life revolves around their undying dedication towards their family,wife and true love respectively. Set in Bangalore and neighbouring places ,the book definitely guarantees a peek into the culture and rich tradition of south India. This piece of work may force you to unlearn,learn and relearn few beliefs all for the right reasons!!It's loud and clear in being a small yet significant window for the light to enter the present dark society. Worth reading will only be an understatement!!

Dec 16, 2018
Review of Vanished Girl
by: Enakshi J

Vanished Girl
Author: Lakshmi Menon
Publisher: Quintus
Rating: 3/5

‘Vanished Girl’ is a complete pot-boiler! This novella focuses on the life of Akila and her diabolical present. Set in the South Indian states of Karnataka and Kerala, the story explores the mysterious vanishing of Akila from the train compartment. Living in Bangalore, Akila is left rooted to the spot when she gets to know about her dying father. Immediately, meeting her father one last time becomes her priority. She boards the train to Kerala only to go missing.

The story begins on a grim note as the protagonist receives the terrible news about her father’s ailment which is not at all a figment of her screwball imagination. From the moment she boards the train, bizarre things start happening. The lucid narrative style of the author makes this an interesting read. At times, the explication becomes too long and extra descriptive. Even though the authoress has succeeded in meticulously portraying the emotional turmoil of the characters, the meek character sketch of the characters nullifies the impact. The characters appear as mere caricatures. The narrative and plotting give this story a strong backbone.

I liked the cover. Though it is very simple, yet speaks volumes. The plot serves as a delight for the ones who like reading thrillers. Overall, ‘Vanished Girl’ is a refreshing story that will not only intrigue you but also keep you at the edge of your seat. One thing is for sure: by the time you’ve turned the last page, you’ll never look at the train, the same way again. 

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