Laiza by Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary- Book Review

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Title: Laiza- Sometimes the End Is Only a Beginning

Author: Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary

Publication: Notion Press

Blurb: In the summer of 2015, an earthquake that strikes Nepal causes destruction and the entire Nepali community perishes in the catastrophe.

Nineteen-year-old Laiza’s parents die in the disaster and she and her younger brother, Ratan are forced to move to Kathmandu with their uncle. The struggle to find resources and the strained relationship between Laiza and her aunt forces her to move to India. Once she reaches there Laiza stays with her aunt’s cousin, Rohit, as she looks for a better future and is subsequently hired as a lady’s maid by a high profile household that holds a dark secret. She soon finds herself trapped in a world she never imagined. While tackling with the sorrow of her past and present, Laiza finds friends where she least expects them- in the company of a Manipuri and a Ukrainian girl along with an Indian Army soldier of the Gorkha Regiment, whose father went missing in the Earthquake.

Laiza

Follow Laiza on her journey as a young woman who overcomes grief and learns to hold on to hope in the face of tragedy

Review: A little over a year ago, I met Kudrat for an author interview even though I had not read the book yet. However, I found the narrative so engaging that I really wanted her interview up on this site. Why? Because she was a young student, just a year or two older and I really needed to pick her mind.

Later I finally got the opportunity to read Laiza. Set in the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, Laiza is the fictional story of a young woman was displaced. While the novel is “fiction”, I believe there is a lot of truth in this story. Not one but hundreds of women must have suffered the same fate as Laiza does in this book. Kudrat, from the beginning, develops Laiza into an endearing character. That is to say, you fall in love with her the instant you read about her- her childlike nature, innocence and her undying belief in love.

And when her world comes crashing down as she is trafficked into India, you feel for her. More so, you are constantly cheering for her to fight the odds. As a writer, I feel the author has wonderfully tackled such a sensitive subject and put forth for all to read.

Laiza

That is not all, Kudrat also manages to include various other parallel topics into the narrative like our ignorance towards the North-East or the apathy of the world towards Ukraine. The book is really well-researched which clearly shows in the writing that keeps you hooked. (Fun fact: I finished the book in a little over three hours in one go!)

However, I kind of feel that at places the book lacked description. I am a visual reader and I like to imagine the whole scene in my mind. But there were times that the writing wasn’t sufficient enough to conjure up those images. Nonetheless, there are moments of sheer brilliance in the book so you are not disappointed.

All in all, Laiza is a great read with a happy ending. You certainly will enjoy the reading experience and maybe just learn a lot in the process. I know I did.

Rating: 3.5/5

Price: Paperback- 350 INR, Kindle- 75 INR

You can buy it from Amazon here.

-Mrinaal Datt

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