Author: Anish Majumdar
Publisher: Ravanna Press
Type of book: Schizophrenia, family, relationships, college, problems, acting, struggle, striving, friendship, Bengali male/American female, New York, Bengali community
Year it was published: 2014
Neil Kapoor, 23, is desperate to create a life beyond the shadow of his mother’s schizophrenia. Years of successive relapses and rehabilitations have forced his father into the role of caretaker and Neil into that of silent witness. But there is no light within this joyless ritual, and any hope for the future rests on finding an exit.
Amidst her latest breakdown, Neil attends drama school in pursuit of a role that might better express the truth of who he is. What started as a desperate gambit becomes the fragile threads of a new life. A relationship blooms with Emily, and each finds strength – and demons - in the other. New friendships with Quincy and Tim grow close and complex. But the emotional remove needed to keep these two lives separate destabilizes the family. Neil’s father, the one constant in the chaos, buckles under the pressure. Enlisting the aid of an Aunt with means and questionable motives, Neil plies ever-greater deceptions to keep the darkness at bay. But this time there will be no going back. As his mother falls to terrifying depths a decision must be made: family or freedom?
In this powerful fiction debut, acclaimed journalist Anish Majumdar shines a much-needed light into the journey of those coping with serious mental disorders and the loved ones who walk alongside them. Incisive and filled with moments of strange beauty, it marks the arrival of a unique voice in American letters.
The main character happens to be Neil, although there is also his mother and his father. His father is a professor who deeply loves his wife and even at the cost of everything is willing to go through what sounds like hell. His mother suffers from schizophrenia and believes she's a famous actress, as she also has numerous other issues that are barely addressed in the book. Neil is a loner and desires to be an actor just like his mother was. (His mother starred in some Bollywood movies before marriage.) There is also Emily who seems to have crippling anxiety as well as some other problems with a friend and her ex. There are also Tom and Quincy who are Emily's friends but at the same time they might be holding her back or else holding her in place.
Do the best you can under any circumstances.
Its written in first person narrative from Niladri's (Neil's) point of view. I would say that this isn't for a casual reader and instead its an in-depth book. I felt that the story lacked character background and the author didn't go into a lot of information about learning about acting. Instead the reader is plopped down in the middle so to speak and isn't given a lot of necessary background stories to explain what happened. My favorite things about the book happened to be vivid descriptions as well as the very first scene of the book when Niladri's mother threatens to jump from the window unless she gets her own way. In some way I wonder if the writing style like this was on purpose, because its strangely disconnected from the events that were going on at the same time.
As a child growing up in Montreal, Canada, Anish Majumdar’s first creative writing lessons came courtesy of his mother, a former English teacher. Witnessing her struggle with schizophrenia had a profound impact and inspired The Isolation Door, his first novel. His non-fiction work, appearing in many publications, has garnered Independent Press Association Awards for Feature Writing and Investigative Journalism. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives with his wife, son, and a growing menagerie of pets in Rochester, NY.
Its a powerful story with very powerful imagery but I do admit that certain things about it frustrated me: for one I wasn't sure at first where the story takes place and I thought it would take place in Canada because that's where the author was born originally, not to mention I'm not familiar with what Public Trustee is and how the system works. I also felt there was lack of background for the characters of Emily and her friends and I had trouble understanding what was going on especially when there wasn't details on the classes he's taking at a university, or the methods that were mentioned. I am also of opinion that I need to re-read it to fully appreciate the writing and the imagery.
Anish Majumdar’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, February 3rd: Bookish Ardour
Tuesday, February 4th: Book Lust
Wednesday, February 5th: WV Stitcher
Thursday, February 6th: Books in the Burbs
Friday, February 7th: Guiltless Reading
Monday, February 10th: Bound by Words
Tuesday, February 11th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, February 12th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, February 13th: Found Between the Covers
Friday, February 14th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, February 17th: The Best Books Ever
Tuesday, February 18th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, February 19th: Reading on a Rainy Day
Thursday, February 20th: 5 Minutes for Books
Friday, February 21st: My Bookshelf
Monday, February 24th: Literally Jen
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)