“I wanted to tell the story of a woman who went away, and explore why, despite her life seeming so perfect on the surface of it, she never came back.” – Kiran Manral
Today on our blog guest post we have with us the multi-talented and award winning author Kiran Manral, the author of Saving Maya and The Face at the Window besides several other books. Her recent release, Missing, Presumed Dead, is getting rave reviews from critics and readers alike. Let’s find out what this book is all about.
What is the inspiration behind your recent release, Missing, Presumed Dead?
Many a times, inspiration strikes you when you least expect it. You don’t even think of it as inspiration. At others it marinates within you, settling deep within your brains, snaking its tentacles around your thoughts until you can’t help but write the story that demands to be written.
For me, Missing, Presumed Dead was the second. It all began, I think with the Chinese whispers of a woman of distant acquaintance, who one fine day out of the blue, upped and left home. She never returned. She was never found, nor did the husband attempt to find her. No missing person’s complaint was filed. She left behind two children, both rather young. The son was a toddler, the girl was older. The grandparents moved in to take care of the children, the husband didn’t get married again. Of course, we moved away from that neighbourhood, and that story went the way all stories go, into the filing cabinet of my brain. It wasn’t until much later, when I was married and had a child of my own that one fine day I thought about what must have compelled a woman to go away and leave her children behind. It was something incomprehensible to me. What made living with her husband and children so unbearable that she would rather disappear to never be found again, what was her story, why was there no attempt to track her, was there something, we, the onlookers didn’t know, was it an amicable separation, was it a loveless marriage, was there sexual incompatibility, was there emotional abuse, or was there someone else she loved and went away with.
Women’s stories are often secondary in a marriage. Their stories are told through the prism of being a wife, a mother. I wanted to tell the story of a woman who went away, and explore why, despite her life seeming so perfect on the surface of it, she never came back.
That’s what happens with my protagonist Aisha, she goes away, unwittingly, and never comes back. Her husband doesn’t file a missing person’s complaint for her. Her children, bewildered at the loss of a mother, pick themselves up and try to cope the best they can. What compelled Aisha to stay away, why did she never come back, how marriages can become stifling cages, her battle with mental illness, these and more make up the book, Missing, Presumed Dead.
a must read psychological thriller
Missing, Presumed Dead
“A gripping and sinister tale. Kiran Manral holds you with every page.”
– Ashwin Sanghi
Missing, Presumed Dead is a disturbing look into a broken marriage that has been torn apart by emotional distance and mental illness. The book takes us down scary pathways where we are forced to reckon with ugly truths about love and death, and the loss of everything we hold dear—including ourselves. The novel is a mystery cum drama, packed with all the elements that make a thriller.
The reader is left to keep guessing till the very last page!
In a dysfunctional marriage, it may seem convenient when the wife commits suicide, but things aren’t always what they seem…
Battling both a fractured marriage and the monsters in her cranium, Aisha leads a sequestered life on the outskirts of a bustling tourist town in the hills of North India. She struggles to stay functional, and tries to wean herself off the pills that keep her from tipping over the edge. Prithvi, the husband she loved once, seems as eager to be rid of her, as she is to flee from him. Only her children keep her tethered to her hearth.
One rainy afternoon, the last thing Aisha expects to see is a younger version of herself at the door. It is Aisha’s half sister, Heer, her father’s illegitimate daughter from another woman. Despite her misgivings, Aisha lets her into the house, and she stays over. Two days later, Aisha goes into town and never returns. Seemingly unperturbed, Heer slips into her missing sister’s shoes effortlessly, taking charge of the house, the kids, and even Prithvi, who responds to her overtures willingly.
A note found in Aisha’s wallet states that she has taken her own life, though strange happenings leave plenty of room for doubt. But, if she is not dead, where is Aisha? Is she really dead? Did she commit suicide as the note found in her wallet states? Has she been abducted, run away or in hiding? Why does Prithvi not grieve for his deceased wife? And why does Heer walk out of the house one fine day, leaving no forwarding address?
As it examines the destruction a dystopian marriage and mental illness leave in their wake, Missing, Presumed Dead brings us face to face with the fragility of relationships, the ugly truths about love and death, and the horrifying loss of everything we hold dear, including ourselves.
More about the author
Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective, in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush, All Aboard, Saving Maya; horror with The Face at the Window and nonfiction with Karmic Kids, A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up and True Love Stories. Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey and Boo.
She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and was a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017. The Indian Council of UN Relations (ICUNR) supported by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, Government of India, awarded her the International Women’s Day Award 2018 for excellence in the field of writing. Her novella, Saving Maya, was long listed for the 2018 Saboteur Awards, UK, supported by the Arts Council England.
For interviews, reviews and excerpts please call or email:
Megha Parmar, 9711404608, firstname.lastname@example.org
PB | Fiction | 268 pp | Rs 350