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.
Seduction by Truth by Mukul Kumar is the story of Shiva and the women in his life. Armed with good looks, money and the gift of the gab, Shiva is in his early 40s with a haunting feeling that there is something missing in his marriage. The lack of sex, the revelation that his wife might be having an affair with another guy, all messes with his mind and sends him off on a questioning spree where he reevaluates life as he knows it, and plans for revenge.
As a character, Shiva is well sketched out and his knowledge about mythological characters, the manner in which he connects the tales with current realities is impressive.
He meets interesting women on his revengeful quest, whether it is his secretary Sana who is tolerating an abusive husband or his business acquaintance Zeba who is in a polygamous relationship and unhappy or even Mary for whom marriage, love and sex are out of question.
The three women he meets and his relationship or the equation with these women form the remainder of the book.
These women make him think differently about love, marriage, relationships, pleasure and set him off on various journeys of the mind and the body alike, some portions of which make for an interesting dialogue between the characters. My only qualm is that the author was so focused on bringing out Shiva’s character, he forgot Akriti – Shiva’s wife whose characterization I found to be quite weak and unclear.
The book cover is pretty decent, so is the title. The central theme around the book is quite interesting and makes for a good reading for anyone who is interested in this genre. Overall it was a good read and can be picked up as a one-time read because I do not see myself revisiting the book anytime soon.
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