Witness the Night
, written by Kishar Desai, is a crime novel. It is a tale of social injustice against women in India. This crime story set in India, and it enlightens one to what life is like for a woman who lives in that country. An impressive debut novel, it will make you think. There is a possibility it will make you angry, but it could also bring tears to your eyes.
In India, Durga is the fierce, many-armed goddess of vengeance and victory. This novel is centered around a young teenager named Durga. Only 14-years old, she is found alive in her house amidst the bodies of the members of her family, all of whom have been viciously murdered. They have been poisoned, raped, stabbed. Since she is the only survivor, she is accused of murdering the thirteen members of her family. And her family happens to be one of the wealthiest in Punjab, India.
Simran, an unconventional social worker, is called in to convince the girl to tell the authorities what happened. She finds Durga unwilling to talk much at all about what happened. When Simran asks if there is anything she can bring her, the only things Durga asks for are the books from her room.
Simran becomes convinced that Durga did not murder her family, and she is convinced that the authorities know this. With the help of Durga's sister-in-law, she begins to delve into what has happened in this wealthy family. She discovers that Durga has an older sister, and this older sister has disappeared. Supposedly, no one knows what happened to her. What starts out as a gruesome, yet simple, murder mystery begins to evolve into a case of deceit, more murders, dishonesty, social injustice, infanticide, child abuse, and just plain cruelty. There were several of the characters I wanted to yank out of the book and hurt for the atrocious things they did.
The reader gets a glimpse straight into Durga's life through the entries in her diary that are throughout the book. What happened to her sister, Sharda? Is this prominent family as good and innocent as everyone says they are?
Except for the Indian terms and Indian names scattered throughout the story, it was an easy story to follow. The beginning was a bit slow, but it picks up rather quickly and makes one reluctant to put the book down.
I received a free copy of this book from the management at BellaOnline in exchange for an honest review. If you would like a copy of this book to add to your library, I have provided an Amazon link below.