Just another middle-class housewife’s story?
It is so refreshing to see Indian commercial fiction breaking away from the stereotypical rosy romance and happily ever afters to explore the grey areas and multiple layers of human emotions, along with their manifestation in relationships. That’s exactly the space A Cage of Desires by Shuchi Singh Kalra fits into.
The book, set in a middle-class environment in Lucknow, traces the story of Renu, a middle-age woman caught in a loveless marriage and the mundane routines of a domesticated life. Married to Dev for a decade-and-a-half, Renu craves love, romance and an emotional connection with her husband, who seems inept at understanding her needs, let alone fulfilling them. Even when he makes love to her, he is mechanical in his approach – as if tending to a mere biological instinct. This stirs an unbridled restlessness in Renu, making her explore her sexuality and vent her desires in ways considered taboo in her conventional, middle-class world.