A handbook for my lover Rosalyn D’Mello

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I procured this book from a heap of books at my bibliophile friend’s house as I felt intrigued by the book’s title and devoured it in a day. This book, declared by the author herself, as not a work of pure fiction, explores the complexities of an unconventional relationship between a 23 year old writer and a photographer who is 30 years older than her. Rosalyn D’Mello is a Delhi based art writer and author of a blog titled Cartographic dyslexia. A Handbook for my lover is her first book which was published in 2015.

The idea to document her love life dawned on her, following a casual phone conversation with her lover about her past lovers. It took her 6 long years to write the book and in that process she ‘dissected’ and examined her lover and their relationship. To observe and to be the subject of observation at the same time is a pretty difficult task to accomplish. Rosalyn D’Mello is quite successful in that attempt. I am surprised and glad that a relationship could survive such close scrutiny and exposure. Her language is intense and arousing, resulting in the book being labelled as erotica. The author wonders why there are no specific descriptions of various positions that can be adopted for sleeping together, compared to innumerable positions described for sex. In the chapter ‘The Poetics of sleep’ , she provides a vivid and poetic description of various sleep patterns they adopt. I feel the author has done justice by using all the various possibilities of language and words to explore and document an important part of her life experience. She should be appreciated for taking the lead in the narrative as we seldom get to read about the intricacies of a relationship and its inherent intense physicality from a woman’s perspective. I loved this book for its absolute clarity, lucid language and candid approach in dealing with love, which is one of the most complex phenomenon experienced by human beings.

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