Chic-Lit wasn’t integrally a part of the IWE (Indian Writings in English) tradition. If ‘aping’ is too derogatory a term, perhaps influence can be loosely used. Personally Chic-Lit had been viewed as a book of vicarious pleasure in the initial years, gradually losing its charm as plots became hackneyed, protagonists predictable and all in all quite a bore.
This week gave me the chance to take on three books from the genre – Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, Seriously Sitara by Nishat Fatima and There maybe an Asterisk Involved by Vedashree Khambete.
Sophie Kinsella has been quite a well-known name in the Chic-Lit market with her ever-famous Shopaholic series. Pitting against her expertise the other two books by unknown names posed as a decent challenge. Alternately that was perhaps also a good thing.
Wedding Night is the story of Lottie (Charlotte) who makes the stupid mistake of marrying a boy she had fallen in love with as a teenager, because her fiancé isn’t exactly ready to wear the ring yet. Her elder sister Fliss (Felicity, oh woe me!) takes it upon herself to annul the marriage based on the flimsiest logic ever. If the marriage has not been consummated – then it can be annulled. Your guess is as good as mine when we come to list a million things Fliss tried to do to stop the deed.
There maybe an Asterisk Involved is quite an interesting story of people in an advertising agency, loosely modelled along the lines of the great Leo Burnetts and JWTs, where all those in office collide and get along with easy frequency till finally, the protagonist finds her love.
Following the firm belief that what Fatima and Khambete write comes inspired from the likes of Kinsella, it would not be too wrong to say that they have taken the game ahead. For frankly, we are a tad bit tired of the Bridget Jones’. Women who mess up their perfectly decent love lives over dreams of some sheet-scorching sex (or so they hope). On an aside, are the English even capable of incredibly hot sex? I am blaming the stiff upper lip. The end of terms in Ikonos, the glamorous job in a travel magazine, a single mom, an useless childhood love who seems to have spawned from the Rothschilds...throw them all in and you have Wedding Night. It seems to follow the Murphy’s Law – what ever can go wrong – will. Not very amused, sadly.
Tackling Seriously Sitara and There maybe...together is a little easier along these lines as both the protagonists of both the books are headstrong and often (incredibly) stupid women who like all others of their species cannot find love even if it is right under their noses. Pitted against Sitara, Ira is much smarter – she has her skeletons in the closet but quickly she learns to lay it off to find love with a marketing guy. When creatives marry marketing people – match made in heaven, eh?
Sitara on the other hand goes bumbling about, wearing her bad sense of style, her unruly hair and her sour attitude for all it’s worth. She almost seems repulsive. I’d pick the flaky Lottie over her anyday.
I’d pick There maybe...over the other two books if I were you, and if you still have to pick another one – pick Kinsella. The tried and tested rarely go wrong and you can always rely on the experts.