Love’s Labor by Andy Paula is the third novella that I’ve read. Published by Toronto-based publishing house Indireads, which exclusively publishes e-books and was started with the aim to revolutionizing the popular fiction genre in South Asia.
Piali, a fierce, independent and confident teacher from small-town Jamshedpur, falls in love with Sathya Nair, son of the chairman of the school, on a workshop at the hill-station Panchagani. But, both face the hurdle of convincing their parents to agree for the marriage.
Lots of efforts later parents of Sathya give in and agree for the marriage, but Piali’s father, a traditional middle-class Bengali is against inter-caste marriages and staunchly objects. When he doesn’t budge in spite of repeated attempts, Piali quietly moves to Mussorie stating that she won’t go against her father but she wouldn’t marry anybody else either.
Rest of the story is about how Sathya reacts to her disappearance and whether her parents agree for the marriage or not.
The best part of the novella is its simple writing. We can identify with the characters instantly, the strong bond of relationships between Piali and her father and between Piali and Sathya and their various struggles in the journey of their love-life are portrayed in a nice way.
Piali is the protagonist of the novella, who is confident, fiery, intelligent, leader and strong-headed. Her transformation into a meek and a weak lady in love who is torn between the love of her father and the love of her life is also nicely portrayed.
The author has nicely shown the differences in 2 generations where a daughter is in a strong position while her mother only lingers in the background meekly following everything her husband says. She also shows how most middle-class families are against inter-caste marriages even in the 21st century and how ‘name’ and ‘image’ in the society is more important than the love of their wards. Another good aspect of Love’s Labor is that although she is head-over-heels in love with Sathya and she cannot live without him, she doesn’t elope and hurt her parents when they don’t initially agree. She goes into a self-exile and thus the name, Love’s Labor.
The novella is short, simple, entertaining and lovely. A must-read.
Connect with the author here : Andy Paula