Published November 2014
Laxmi Hariharan’s RUBY IYER opens with a note from the author that struck a chord and stayed with me throughout my reading of her action-packed, thrilling dystopia.
I wanted to be economically independent. So, everyday I would leave the relative safety of home, knowing that my commute to work was going to be nightmarish. It’s just how public transport is in this city. When you get on a crowded local train platform, you accept that you are probably going to be felt up. Every time this happened to me, I would get really angry. But, I would deal with it and get on. So, when a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight, I was furious.
It was as if nothing had changed in all the years I had been away. Then, I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down anymore, who would stand up for herself regardless of the consequences. Who would follow her heart… Thus Ruby Iyer was born.
I love this note – it’s a feminist call-to-arms and every time I read it, like right now as I typed it into this post, I feel angry and disgusted for all those women in India getting groped by those men – as a kid, I remember walking through the Chennai airport with my mom, when a man approached and grabbed her breasts…because he could – and then empowered by Laxmi’s vision of Ruby Iyer and her take-no-prisoners, suffer-no-fools attitude.
Which is all a long-winded way of saying Laxmi sucked me into her tale of a badass girl, a sexy rogue cop, and a crumbling city from the very first word. And boy, am I glad I took a little time away from my writing to get lost in Ruby’s world because the adventure was exciting and thrilling and read like an action-packed Bollywood film that all of us would stand in line for and pay good money to see.
But I must say, just as enthralling as the action and adventure, the characters and the danger, is Laxmi’s writing; her ability to make you touch and taste, smell and hear her city is spellbinding. I found myself closing my eyes and letting her descriptions really get into my bones, deep down and dirty, and felt Bombay, that grimy, throbbing, smelly, loud city of never-ending energy right along with her. It’s escapist to the extreme and even if you’re not a fan of YA or dystopia, you should read RUBY IYER just to lose yourself in Laxmi’s descriptions.
The world created by Laxmi is fast-paced, full of righteous anger, and so well-written, you close the book only wanting more. More Ruby, more Vikram – please, Laxmi! more Vikram – and more of those delicious, delectable descriptions of a city on the verge of collapse and a girl on the verge of greatness.
Rock on with your bad self, Laxmi, and keep writing because I can’t wait to see what’s next. And if you haven’t done so already, grab a copy of RUBY IYER by clicking HERE.
Happy reading, bitches.