A gruesome account on rape on a pleasant beach in India!
- Book: The Sea of Innocence (Simran Singh 3)
- Location: Goa
- Author: Kishwar Desai
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every day 93 women are being raped in India.
I know, being an Indian, it’s not only a shocking information but also an embarrassing piece of data. Moreover, in my country, we do not celebrate Republic Day, instead, we celebrate “Rape-“public day. Likewise, an Indian author named, Kishwar Desai, has opened our eyes with her new novel, The Sea of Innocence that features the dark, grim and forgotten world of rape victims. Not only that she has even paid tribute to the 16th December, 2012 gang rape victim in Delhi- which happens to be the most horrific gang rape in the history of our country.
Goa, south India. A beautiful holiday hideaway where hippies and backpackers while away the hours. But beneath the clear blue skies lies a dirty secret… Simran Singh is desperate for a break and some time away from her busy job as a social worker-come-crime investigator. And so the unspoilt idyll of Goa seems just the place – white beaches, blue seas and no crime. But when a disturbing video appears on her phone, featuring a young girl being attacked by a group of men, she realizes that a darkness festers at the heart of this supposed paradise. And when she discovers out that the girl is Liza Kay, a British teenager who has gone missing, she knows she must act in order to save her. But first Simran must break through the web of lies and dark connections that flourish on these beaches. Everyone, it seems, knows what has happened to the girl but no one is prepared to say. And when more videos appear, and Simran herself is targeted in order to keep her quiet, the paradise soon becomes a living nightmare.
This is the third book in the Simran Singh series. Having never read any other books from this series, didn’t much matter to me, since in every series, the author comes up with an all new Simran Singh adventure.
Simran Singh, a social work living in Delhi with her adopted teenage daughter, receives an anonymous racy video of a young girl from her ex-lover, Amarjit, who is top-shot cop in Delhi, while holidaying with her daughter in the beach-lover’s paradise of India, Goa. This embarks yet another thrilling and riveting adventure in Simran Singh’s life.
But sadly, I’ve to confess that the book didn’t click with me that much. Firstly, the book has got a very slow pace, and at times, I felt like things should really move faster, considering this is a mystery book, the mystery was not properly revealed or layered by the author, because of the narrative style which is at times very dull and going out-of-topic at times. I understand the author had paid tribute to the Delhi gang rape victim, but that doesn’t mean that she have to include the details of gang rape victim in each and every conversation. Moreover, this is a fictional book, and the author have managed to made it like a non-fiction one. I mean while reading a fictional stories, no body wants factual data and statistics and what-to-do or what-not-to-do in our real lives in a fictional story,since it will mar the charm of the fictional story, and that’s what happened in this book too.
Yes, the story was sensational, bone-chilling and jaw-droopingly shocking and an eye-opener for all Indians ans well as for international tourists visiting Goa. But the story-telling is not at all that interesting to keep us on-the-hook all the time.
Well, the characters were well-developed, but then once again, the characterization was not done with much required depth, since it’s crime novel, and since there were too many characters, I felt that at least a few-lines of back-story was very much required to understand the primary characters, like Amarjit- he has a vital role in the whole story, but I really couldn’t connect with him, he was more like a miss-and-blink guy in the whole story. The sister of Liza, another important character, vanished from the story all of a sudden and once again, there was no supporting story to understand her character. Yeah, I liked Simran and her demeanor, and she crossed me not only as a careful mother but also as a determined woman trying to justice with Liza’s missing case.
Well, the story-line is may not be that good, but the author has portrayed a colorful and bright back-drop of Goa which is not only beautiful like some paradise but the author has also carefully painted the under-belly and the darkness of Goa, which is not only striking but also thoroughly vivid! And her intricate details about the beach-destination not simply transported me into that paradise, but I could almost feel the salty breeze on my skin! And reading this book, simply urged my interest to go and visit Goa.
Note: A must-read for all the international female tourists, who are planning to visit Goa in the near future. This book enlightens a lot about how a foreign tourist must behave while holidaying in Goa and if you want to learn about the cold hard truth behind rapes in India, then definitely grab a copy of this book!
Verdict: Read it, only if you want to enjoy the carefree Goan lifestyle.