Conversational Review: Invisible Walls by Chandrika Balan

Hey Guys.

Since you loved our previous conversational review so much, we got you another one. Again in collaboration with Deepak @EmptyhouseofLiterature

Pic Credit: Empty House of Literature

Invisible Walls is about two women, Aparna and Kamala, whose lives run in parallel, though they do not know each other. They dream of a world without walls, but invisible barriers surround and crush them. Kamala reads a book titled Invisible Walls, about Aparna’s life, on a train journey, and thus the reader discovers a story within a story…
When the narrative begins, Aparna is a student in a university campus in Delhi. She is happy with her close group of friends. Later, constrained in an arranged marriage, she struggles against the confining limits of the invisible domestic walls that tighten around her with her pregnancy.
Kamala, also in Delhi, is surer of her ground than Aparna. She is part of what she and her friends call the Four-centric Gang—two men and two women living together, practising free sex. Kamala finishes reading Invisible Walls when her train reaches Delhi. She sees a pregnant woman being helped out of the train by her irritated husband. Kamala looks at her with sympathy and moves ahead. Their parallel lives move on, without touching each other.

Conversational Review:

Reasons I picked this book:

M: Reasons I picked the book- It was a review copy.

**Honestly, books like these don’t receive much publicity which means they come to notice only when we get it as a review copy or when someone we know has read it and is raving about it. :P**

D: Haha! Don’t we have a lot to read at times?
The title of the book gives me the feeling that it could be magic realism and that cover picture just strengthen my belief.

M: I was sort of disappointed with the cover. I thought it gave out nothing about the book.
Also, the title is a good one because it fits perfectly with the plot.

Reality vs Wants:

M: The story is pretty simple actually. Since translated works are supposed to focus on certain aspects such as the region but this one is based on strong emotions and hope.
So throughout the book, there are these invisible walls that each character has put around them. That’s why some of them are running from commitment while others are running from criticism. I found the emotions really low and the writing super simple. The message was loud and clear though. So maybe it’s a win-win.

D: I agree with you. Also, the author couldn’t justify the story. For example, Aparna’s feeling for the slum king could have been explained much more. The author talked about a lot of things and didn’t explain anything properly.

M: Yes exactly. The language was too simple and we were being fed events rather than emotions.

D: I don’t think that if simple language is a problem or not, but she definitely couldn’t express what all she could have.

M: Maybe the translation was poor.

D: Maybe.

M: What else disappointed you?

D: Even characters were restricted too. I wanted to know about that poet’s mother’s relation with Aparna.

M: Maybe she only wanted the relationship aspect to reach the audience. Everything else was background.

D: Perhaps. I really like her lookout on relationships though.

M: Her look out on relationships is what we all have become now. Running from commitment, trying to find a safe zone with no hurt in the process. Cupid is smarter btw😂
D: For us, Kamala is the protagonist because we are reading Kamala’s story.

M: Yeah but I would call Aparna the protagonist because it’s her actions that are playing games with Kamala’s mind.

D: Aparna is part of Kamala’s story

M: Yeah. I get that but Aparna has a greater hold on the story.

D: That’s because the author didn’t explain much about Kamala.
Also, the structure of the book is confusing. The similarity between the two characters actually could confuse the reader in the first half.


M: It’s a onetime read. Also, it frustrated me in a novel way because the author wrote the whole story on hope and no conclusion.

D: S A M E!

M: Honestly there are good things in the book but bad things too, more than the good actually.

D: I didn’t like it as a whole but I love some parts of the story.

M: Yes. Bits were good.

D: I wanted a powerful ending because the story has potential. So in a way, the story was raw and need more nourishment.

M: It was raw. Absolutely.
The conclusion fails to make an impact basically…

D: I will give it 3 stars in a hope that author writes next part of it and justifies the story because the end was trivial.

M: I would give it 3 stars too because I liked the concept.

Buy your copy from here: Amazon


Deepak’s Rating: 3/5

Mridula’s Rating: 3/5

Average Rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: I would like to thank Niyogi Books for the copy. These are my and Deepak’s personal thoughts about the book.

P.S.: The following conversation is copy pasted from our chat window – I hope you would like to read our quick conversation about this book. 

D: Express your feelings about the book in two sentences. 

M: The book makes it easy to relate to characters, as once in life we all have felt trapped by something or the other, especially relationships. But it’s also frustrating because somewhere, in some people’s lives that is the harsh reality.
The book reminds me of a lot of other books I have read by Indian authors, where a woman is trapped and the man is an asshole /womanizer.
It’s definitely not a unique plot but I did like the story within the story concept.
-Okay. That’s a lot of lines. 😛

D: See that’s why I wanted you to read it. Though, it doesn’t really have a good writing style and concrete end.

M: The book wants the readers to imagine a happy ending but in a life like this, there are no happy endings.

4 thoughts on “Conversational Review: Invisible Walls by Chandrika Balan

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