Love and acceptance are basic human wants; and when denied can wreak great harm on a person’s psyche. A Quiet Dissonance is the story of one such woman, Anu, who goes through life seeking love, friendship and acceptance.
Set in England, the story revolves around an Indian family Anu, Ravi and their daughter Neha. Recently having moved from a predominantly Asian area, she feels like an outsider. At her daughter’s primary school, she struggles to find a place amongst the other mothers. Despite the best of her efforts, she ends up as an outcast. Unlike her husband Ravi, who fit in easily.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t gel well with the Indian moms at her daughter’s classical dance classes either. Regardless of the fact that she is amidst ‘her own people,’ she still feels unaccepted.
With time, she makes a few friends with other school moms and her neighbors. But these friendships don’t happen easily, there’s a lot of drama and it takes a toll on Anu. She tries her best to blend in, even at the cost of trying to become someone she is not. All for just one reason–to have her tribe of friends!
When I started reading, I wondered why Anu struggles so much. Why does she lack confidence and always seek validation from others? The chapters unraveled the answers to my questions; and I saw the protagonist for who she is, and understood why she is the way she is.
Her insecurities stem from her unloved upbringing. Anu loses her father at a young age, and never receives much love from her mother, grandparents, or half-siblings. She is a talented artist, and finally finds friendship, acceptance, recognition and happiness by absorbing herself in her paintings.
The book is divided into four parts, each phase reflecting on important stages of Anu’s life. Her struggles, insecurities, journey, self-doubt and acceptance are well expressed.
Having read Manco’s short stories earlier, I was aware of her writing style. But with ‘A quiet dissonance,’ she has upped herself. The moods, the emotions, the journey may be of Anu, but this is a story almost every woman can identify with. Apart from the main protagonist, even the minor characters are well etched. The language and narration are flawless, and sure to stir the reader’s emotions.
Sharing few unforgettable excerpts from the book –
“Family, she realised, wasn’t just about who was related to you. It was who was willing to forgive you your foibles and embrace you, regardless of your flaws.”
“Sweetie, life’s like that, isn’t it? Sometimes you don’t get answers and you just have to let it go.”
“A long time ago I read that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
“The moment you develop self-respect, everyone else starts giving you the respect you deserve.”
A Quiet Dissonance is an inspiring read of self-discovery and acceptance!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to every woman. There’s a bit of Anu in all of us!
I received the ARC from Reedsy in exchange for an honest review.
Wordsopedia rating 4/5
|Title: A Quiet Dissonance||Author: POORNIMA MANCO|
|Publisher: Mango Tree Publications||Publication date: March 29th 2021|
|Genre: Fiction||Format: Paperback|
|ISBN: 9781916269996||No. of Pages: 348|
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About the Author
Born and raised in New Delhi, India, Poornima graduated from Delhi University with a degree in English Literature. She lives in the United Kingdom with her husband and two daughters, and remains an avid reader. She also loves travelling all over the world, baking decadent cakes, dancing the night away, laughing at celebrity fashion faux pas, watching black and white movies, immersing herself in all kinds of art and music, and going on long rambling Nature walks with her family.
Get in touch with the author on her website.