The Other Side of the Table


This is a short epistolary novel written in a series of letters between two friends – Uma and Abhi. Uma is in Calcutta studying to be a doctor and Abhi is a neurosurgeon in training in London.

This book spans a several years in their lives as they grow into their different lives and use each other as storytellers, chroniclers, and witnesses of each other’s lives.

As I read along this book, I was expecting something on the lines of a romantic story. I didn’t know anything about this book before hand, and for some reason, I thought this was a romance. But really, it isn’t. It’s a story about friendship, about being able to be honest with oneself, and with others.

My Thoughts

I liked this book, it’s very easy reading and the story flows smoothly. The story is also quite original and Madhumita Mukherjee is brave enough to take the protagonists through troubled places and situations. That said, I really didn’t feel too connected with the main characters. Probably because the story is conveyed through letters, I couldn’t really sink myself into their issues. The story arc doesn’t cover too many years; in such a short frame of time it’s unrealistic of me to expect characters to develop drastically unless a major tragedy occurs. This is probably the reason why the first half of the book has a certain sameness.

But once things start to turn sour in both their lives, that’s when the story comes into its own, and I whole heartedly appreciated the direction the book took. And since this is a very short novel, that sameness I was experiencing in the beginning of the book is really a very minor quibble.

Overall, a very pleasant and readable book. I like the maturity and the quiet unexpectedness of the book. A very pleasant surprise.

I also love the very nice book cover – it’s a combination of London’s Tower Bridge and (I think) a bridge on the River Hooghly in Calcutta…very nice image showing the connection between Abhi and Uma. Nicely done.

Thanks to Fingerprint books for sending me a copy of this book to read and review. I also read this book as part of the Indian Quills Reading Challenge hosted by The Tales Pensieve.

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