We sometimes come across situations that make us feel sick. There is the tightening of stomach and the possibility of throwing up. The thought that what transpires before us is in fact a dream, might also creep up in our minds. But to our horror, we would realize that what has happened has happened and cannot be changed. That is exactly the feeling that one gets while reading Death in Every Stride.
Krisanne is a young girl who gets married to Paul with great expectations. She meets the harsh realities of life in the guise of Paul and his erratic behaviour. How she leads her life with patience and doggedness is explained by Megha Agarwal in this short novel.
Try as one might, it is impossible to go into the ‘novel-reading mode’ after a couple of chapters. The ferocity of the words used to describe the protagonist’s husband makes the reader to reel under the punch of each word. In the process, the author has managed to bring out the varied emotions of Krisanne, the protagonist of the novel. The Hopeful Krisanne, dreaming of the joy of married life and yet wondering about the change that is to happen is a nice opening to the story. What perhaps makes one to look at this not as a story is the narrative technique used. The lack of additional information about the characters, the places and the story in general gives one the feeling of reading a personal diary. That is what makes this story so disturbing and real.
The thought of the possibility of many Krisannes suffering silently in this country makes the reader to pause in his/her reading spree and ponder. Paul has been portrayed as nothing short of a marauding monster – suspicious, inhumane and sickening in his sexual preference. The perseverance of Krisanne is evident throughout the story, reminding the readers of the many housewives across India holding fast to the tradition of marriage and bearing the atrocities of their husbands.
Megha Agarwal, the young author, has expressed the untold miseries of many a woman pan India in a way that few experienced and older women would be able to do. Be it the shifting emotions of Krisanne, her shock at her husband’s behaviour, the solace that Krisanne finds in Patricia, the submissive nature of Aarav and the scornful nature of Emily, Megha has wrought all carefully and presented them as a bundle of feelings for the readers. Authorspress has indeed come out with a book that almost every Indian can connect with because of the issues dealt with in the book.
However, there are some downsides to the book as well. If Megha Agarwal had only lengthened the stroke of her writings and increased the word count of the book by adding more details, Death in Every Stride’s stride would’ve turned into a gallop, garnering more interest. The reader as of now, completes reading the book almost as quick as he/she starts reading. Another big letdown of the book is its editing. Proper editing of the book could’ve transformed this book into a wonder beyond belief.
But what cannot be denied is the fact that Megha Agarwal has contributed to Indian Literature a book that talks for women, their plight, their perseverance and their ability to fight back. Megha is an author to look out for!