CHARACTERS & STORY
We follow Thomas and Sonya, two millennials who have met through the usual methods and are spending time together, exploring their chemistry and their lives. Now, this is a relationship unlike any I’ve been in or heard of so it was an absolutely new experience for me. From the start it is obvious who is the giver and who is the taker. Thomas is written out as an absolute leech, a freeloader who isn’t really capable of earning is place in society or even earning enough to pay for his own clothes. Surprising then that he is also the abuser in the relationship.
Sonya on the other hand is perfectly capable but she seems to be a masochist. Knowing fully well what he is and how he behaves she continues to be with him in an abusive relationship and this, as you may well imagine, blows up one day when he does go too far. All this in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya story and you have a rather dark and dreary setting where these millennials still manage to party and have fun and be with each other, ignoring the situation that’s around them.
The writing is rather….impersonal. That’s the word for it. It gives you a view, that feels oddly voyeuristic, of their lives and their relationship without actually making you feel like you’re a part of it. I’m not sure if that’s what the author intended but if so he certainly achieved it. I was able to read the book without really caring about what happens to the characters. While this is something I usually don’t enjoy, in this story it gives the reader a unique POV from which they see the whole relationship. Sort of an omniscient view.
While this won’t keep you on your toes it will keep you strangely addicted to it. It’ll keep you turning pages till you reach a point where you realize you haven’t gotten any work done and are forced to put it down. The book is slow and paced, like a steady jog. It gives you enough information to know what is happening but not enough to expect something to come up. In a way, this really reminded me of What Belongs To You, both the writing and the story. They both feature abusive relationships, hustlers (say what you will but there’s no other term for Thomas) and a provider and abuser in different places than normal. And if you’re a fan of Garth Greenwell’s story then you’ll adore this as well.
Mornings After is a book that, on the surface, looked like a regular relationship story featuring the usual break ups and make ups with a happy ending but it isn’t remotely close to that. It’s a book with a lot of depth and a great deal by way of character portraits. But it isn’t going to be easy for you to get much out of this book without putting in hard work first because this isn’t a light easy read. It is quite the opposite and even when you get past the beginning, it leaves a lot left unsaid and you have to work to figure out what could have or could not have been.
On the morning India woke up to the news of the gruesome assault on Nirbhaya, Sonya lay awake coming to terms with a nightmare of her own: If you place your safety in the hands of another, who is to blame for its consequences? Incited by the media post mortem of Nirbhaya that followed, Sonya gives up the security of corporate life and starts a feminist webzine instead.
When a Bollywood matinee idol –‘Bhai’ to his devotees, and simply ‘The Torso’ to the media – expresses interest in promoting the launch of Sonya’s publication in exchange for a little whitewashing of his latest misogynist transgression, she is faced with the age-old question of just how far can one go till the end stops justifying the means? Thomas, her lover of a mere couple of months, suddenly burdened with contributing to food and lodging and Sonya, unable to apply her political stand to their abusive relationship, negotiate the fluidity and chaos of contemporary urban relationships in ways both familiar and unique.
Available for purchase on Amazon India or Flipkart
*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.