To be honest the first thing that caught my attention was the cover. It was a white background with a simple white toggle switch on it. There was a translucent jacket on it which gave it a more eerie feel. And then there was the introduction; the prologue was good stuff. It definitely felt like a good piece of literature. If there was any doubt left about it, the title made me grab the book. I know what I just wrote is the tailor made phenomenon of judging a book by its cover and one should never do it. I wasn’t right in doing so. And I was proven right when I reached the end.
There are times when the author doesn’t quite know how to finish a book and it lays the entire, supposedly good, premise in tatters. The introduction on the cover made it look like a terrific work of thriller was in the making. Three women abduct a dancer as he steps out to buy cigarettes! Cross that with “The Book of Revelations”, and it was a classic make of a page turner. The anticipation of reaching the end was so high that I finished the book rather quickly.
Anyway, the story starts off with the author sitting in the cafeteria of his dancing company waiting for his girlfriend, also a trained dancer, deep in thoughts. What catches you, though, is the use of similes and metaphors. Maybe I was just concentrating a lot but I was impressed with his style. His girlfriend, Bridgette, comes over and asks for cigarettes. The narrator is happy to see her. But when he says that he doesn’t have cigarettes she gets upset as if it is his fault. The contrast between them was laid open and was apparent right from the first word she utters. The narrator is soft and caring towards her while her feelings are strained. This was only after the first 5 pages or so.
Bridgette is easily the one who is a little cold and less compassionate while the narrator is of the kinds who would bend backwards to make it easier for both. Where he would smile at her behind her back she would, perhaps, scowl. So, to make her calm down he tells her that he would go and fetch her cigarettes while she waited there in the cafe. He steps out and walks towards the tobacconist and this where the act takes place.
Three women abduct him.
The three women are always hooded; always protecting their identity from him. The reader realises where the story is going and no sooner does it cross his\her mind the three ladies appear in masks and thus begins the sexual assault. The three women take turns in playing out their fantasies. It is not as graphic as you think, trust me. They try and arouse him by various role playing scenes and he is forced to accommodate their requests. The narrator is put through the ritual daily and we can quite clearly see the mental breakdown of the narrator.
With their visits becoming regular, the narrator starts looking into their intrinsic movements and body languages to differentiate between them. He also decides that playing out to their fancies is the only way out and, after a few days in captivity, does it without fighting back. But his self respect is clearly seen to pummel through new lows.
After 18 days of doing their “stuff” they let him go for some alien reason. Perhaps, because, he starts getting certain ideas about his location. He returns home, all the time apprehensive about how Bridgette would react, and he is proven right when the first question she asks him is along the lines of why he left her and who else is there. The word “left” hits him hard and he just can’t gather enough courage to tell her the truth. Her theory of his disappearance revolves around him cheating on her with three women over an unannounced holiday, and she doesn’t want to hear anything regarding it.
One thing about the book is that the author has spent a lot of time studying the human behaviour, or, at least tried to. He spends a lot of time on the character’s aimless life after the incident. I mean, he does want to catch hold of the 3 women but he has nothing to go upon. He starts sleeping with women in the similar age group and leaves them as soon as he knows they’re “innocent” but apart from this his life is pretty much drab. I suppose the author uses the drab time as a soliloquy and rumbles along studying his psyche. After all, a man being gang raped is pretty much unheard of.
Maybe that is what the author was trying to address. Maybe this book was to be a literature on the fact that the word “rape” and “sexual abuse” is only used in terms of the woman being the victim and never the other way around! The author has made an effort in that direction but it lacks the punch it requires to address a social issue such as this.
Bookhad rates it 2/5.