Ranjit Lal’s Smitten is a difficult book to talk about. On the one hand, it will leave you repulsed and enraged. On the other hand, it is a terribly important book because it throws the curtains open on a shameful reality of our world: the sexual abuse of children.
Here’s an excerpt:
Samir is delighted when the Handas move into the flat right across his. He and Akhila, his new fifteen-year-old neighbour hit it off immediately…. But as the narrative alternates between Samir and Akhila, the sinister truth emerges. The reality behind Akhila’s father’s over-affectionate, touch-feely behaviour with his daughter is revealed. His inappropriate advances escalate even as friendship — and possibly a hint of romance — blossoms between the teenagers.