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.Verdict
A good, easy read with uncompromising quality.
Scenario: 4 /5
Narration : 4.5/5
Character : 4/5
Entertainment Quotient: 4/5 ***