Rastaa by Janaki Sastry is a novel based on the journey of two sisters being raised in Bradford. A real life family drama unfolds in the flashback of the narrator. There are heart curdling tortures bestowed by the closest, the most trusted relatives and then on the other hands there are moments of pure love shining through among the strangers.
The letters written by Naz the younger sister of the two are the most emotional. For example,
"Abbu, they all loved us when you were with us, as soon as you were gone they changed a lot. They hated us, Abbu. Is it my fault that you died so suddenly? They said nasty things about you Abbu. I felt so helpless."
The novel explores the depth of victimization and how difficult it becomes for the victims to come out of the vicious circles they find themselves in.
The author has woven the ups and downs of the two main characters in such a way that it keeps the readers glued to the book. From the suggestion of incest, misunderstandings, domestic violence, extreme cruelty to love flourishing in all the wrong places, the story has all the ingredients for the making of a good read.
A Book Review
By Smita Singh