- Language: English
- Genre: Adult Fiction
- Pages: 194 pages
- Publishing Date: 23 October 2016
- Author: Manoj V Jain
- Publisher: Notion Press, Inc.
- ISBN-10: 1946129828
- ISBN-13: 9781946129826
“Now look at the person in the mirror and tell her that you love her.”
Sanjaneka stared and stared, unable to utter the simple words aloud.
Why is Sanjaneka unable to love herself? What past is she running away from?
How does an Uber ride help Samar to save his marriage?
Why does the dull moonlight of a gibbous moon trouble Varun so much?
Three lives. One Utopian centre.
The Total Holistic Centre (The THC) welcomes the broken and those looking for closure through its doors and works its magic to return them to the world fulfilled. This is the story of these three troubled souls who seek solace at the centre, indulge in its unusual treatment and find the cures to their ailments in surprising places.
A book on loss, longing and changing circumstances, The THC dives into uncomfortable topics that are usually swept under the rug: fragile relationships, deteriorating marriages, addictions, impotence, and the delicate bond between fathers and sons.
Welcome to the THC.
I received this book as an Instagram giveaway prize. This is author Manoj V. Jain’s second book. His first book was The BNO (Sex, Life and Hookah) which was about boys casual night out. Like his previous book this one is also an adult-fiction. The story revolves around three individuals who are in their late forties and suffering from different mental and physical illness. They visit a holistic centre named The THC (Total Holistic Centre) to cure their ailments and somehow become friends. THC is a wellness centre where people admit themselves to get rid of their physical and mental troubles and move on with their lives.
Samar Bhatnagar is a married man suffering from nicotine addiction and impotence. Sanjaneka Khurana is a widow, suffering from Arthritis and Genophobia. Varun Agarkar is a family man who is suffering from Insomnia and Mild Depression. As the story unfolds, we get to know how their ailments are outcome of their lifestyle choices. Author takes us to their past where we discover that each of them have hidden sexual issues which they have repressed for a long time.
The narrative is bold, straightforward and engaging. Unlike some writers Mr. Jain has kept the plot and characters relatable. Samar, Sanjaneka and Varun come from different walks of life. Every day we come across such individuals in our daily life and yet fail to see through their deceptive mask of happiness. The story is all about accepting your faults and hidden side in order to move forward. The holistic centre provided these people much required isolation, solace and guidance to sort out their lives.
I liked the way author wrote about homosexuality and marriage in this book. People frequently talk about coming out of closet but rarely converse about becoming aware of your sexual orientation and accepting it. In India homosexuality is still a taboo. It is not generally discussed openly and often swept under the rug. Marriage on the other hand is treated as a sacred institution which must be upheld at any cost. Most people stifle under the excessive pressure of marital responsibility and compromise. Author put commendable effort and dealt with both the topics in a honest manner.
The book consists of many elaborate sex scenes, some of which are completely unnecessary. There is a scene in the story where Samar and his friends meet for a drink and chat about their sexual lives with each other. It was completely needless and could have been avoided. As a sub-plot it didn’t help the main story in any way. Also Samar’s story is not as appealing as Sanjaneka & Varun’s. Those pages could have been devoted to develop Samar’s back-story rather than focusing on the pointless sexual encounters.
The surprise at the climax, where author connected Sanjaneka’s story with Varun’s was really interesting. But somehow the closure of the story was not gratifying and it ended abruptly. I was expecting much more from these characters (at least from Sanjaneka and Varun). I would recommend this book as an onetime read for anyone who wants to read a bold adult-fiction with relatable characters.
Until the next post, bye!