A Bad Character: A Novel
Deepti Kapoor has created a new voice and a new rhythm in her writing. She writes in paragraph spurts, not chapters. A Bad Character is a protected girl living in the capital city of Dehli. It feels like the entire city is crowded into the book’s pages. But this isn’t the story of a typical Indian girl nor is it the tale of the city. It is a young girl’s adventure into the dark side of life. It is true that when women are protected, they long for freedom and can go quite wild. The girl’s mother has died and her father has left her with an aunt in order to arrange a marriage for her. Without the usual constraints of close family, the girl drives through the city risking everything in breaking taboos against women. She seeks greater freedom and meets a boy who is initially her guide to the city and eventually her lover. She is increasingly debased by this Aghori lover. We fear for her and pray for a happy ending, but of course in seeking pleasure and ruin, the girl is left adrift. In a parallel story, a girl imprisoned in a tower apartment by her father to keep her from harm jumps to her death. We are left wondering at the limited freedoms for women in the world.