In India, there are 650 million people under the age of 35. These are men and women who grew up with the Internet, and the advent of smartphones and social media. But when it comes to love and marriage, they're expected to adhere to thousands of years of tradition. It's that tension between obeying tradition and accepting modernity that drives journalist Mansi Choksi's book.
Choksi's narrative structure braids the three couple strands cleverly so that, as the stakes keep rising, the tension escalates through cinematic jumps and cuts. Her scenes are alive with singular details, vivid language and crisp dialogue. The net effect is that we become so vested in the lives of these six people — and the collateral damage they leave in their wake — that they linger with us long after reading. This very quality might leave a reader feeling like the stories end too soon or without satisfying resolutions. But, as she writes in her introduction, her aim was to discover whether love could endure with dignity if it became tainted with shame.
The book includes background information regarding Indian laws around arranged marriages, religious conflict, honor killings, and same-sex marriages to inform unfamiliar readers ... An interesting and highly readable examination of the complexities and intersections of love, marriage, and tradition in India.
The author skillfully uses these human stories to highlight the dangerous trajectory of Hindu fundamentalism under the regime of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Her descriptions are rife with detail and, at times, truly lyrical. However, the couples’ stories end abruptly, rendering Choksi’s overall argument difficult to discern and the narrative frustratingly open-ended ... A moving and largely well-reported account of love in modern India.