Neil Kapoor, 23, is desperate to create a life beyond the shadow of his mother’s schizophrenia. Years of successive relapses and rehabilitations have forced his father into the role of caretaker and Neil into that of silent witness. But there is no light within this joyless ritual, and any hope for the future rests on finding an exit.
Amidst her latest breakdown, Neil attends drama school in pursuit of a role that might better express the truth of who he is. What started as a desperate gambit becomes the fragile threads of a new life. A relationship blooms with Emily, and each finds strength – and demons - in the other. New friendships with Quincy and Tim grow close and complex. But the emotional remove needed to keep these two lives separate destabilizes the family. Neil’s father, the one constant in the chaos, buckles under the pressure. Enlisting the aid of an Aunt with means and questionable motives, Neil plies ever-greater deceptions to keep the darkness at bay. But this time there will be no going back. As his mother falls to terrifying depths a decision must be made: family or freedom?
Pages: 276 (paperback)
Publisher: Published February 4th 2014 by Ravana Press (first published January 25th 2014)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Source: Won from TLC book club of the month contest
Date Completed: June 4, 2014
Each month, I get an email about the TLC book club of the month contest and see the selections. I enter for any books that look interesting. I was really excited to win The Isolation Door: A Novel by Anish Majumdar. I was intrigued by the plot and glad that our book club picked for the June selection. The story was easy to get into, but parts felt a little bit disjointed. The issue of stigma with mental illness was addressed well as was the competing desires to start a new life while fulfilling family obligations.
I had a hard time with Neil's relationship with Emily and his pursuit of drama. The friendships he formed in school seemed random and I had a hard time believing the genuineness of the depth of the connection. Unfortunately, I was not able to make the book club meeting. I heard from other members that they could either not get through the book or that they did not like it because it was really dark. I did not mind the darkness, but I think that parts of the plot could have been developed more.
I am counting this book for the following challenge:
The Perpetual South Asian Challenge as the author and the subjects of the novel are both South Asian.