Evil Eye is an Audible Original available to members free during the month of May. Otherwise, it has a tag of $7.95. It’s a short story, less than two hours long. Madhuri Shekar is an Indian-American author. This is my first audiobook by her.
The story is told through a series of phone calls and voicemails between Pallavi, a young Indian-American woman living in California and her parents living in India.
Pallavi is in her mid twenties and single. Her aging mother Usha is trying to set her up with potential suitors. Apparently, arranged marriages are a thing in India. Usha is overbearing. She has created an online dating profile for her daughter which she herself runs. Very odd. Furthermore, mom is convinced that the daughter is plagued by the “Evil Eye”, hence the title. I gather from the story that this is some type of superstition or curse in the Indian culture.
As the daughter’s failed attempts to find love continue to pile up, the mother becomes more convinced of this curse. Mom comes off as crazy. Daughter comes off as career oriented. However, on a failed date setup by mom, daughter meets an unrelated guy and hits it off.
“He seems too good to be true, no?”
Predictably, Usha finds fault with the new romance. She becomes convinced that the romantic interest of her daughter is actually a reincarnated ex from her youth. Moreover, this man was abusive and controlling. Hence, mom must sabotage the relationship. Daughter thinks mom is losing her mind.
The rest of the story is the family dynamic at play over the relationship.
- Mom; This has to end.
- Daughter; I’m going to marry him.
- Dad; Can’t we all just get along?
My thoughts on Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar
It’s not terrible. I know, every author’s dream review, right? That said, it’s an odd mix of romance and suspense. Furthermore, there’s a cultural gap for me. Perhaps these are common superstitions and behavioral patterns in Indian culture. However for me, it all seemed a bit contrived.
There is also an issue of presentation. After all, this is an audiobook. However it comes off more as a play acted out on radio. The entire book is a series of phone calls. Performed by different actors for the corresponding calls, there’s a bit of a voyeuristic nature to it. The calls are complete with ringtones, background noises, and even the occasional lapse in signal. Not bad, just odd from an audiobook perspective.
The performance of the narrators is good. Moreover, the perspective of learning the story through a series of calls and voicemails is unique. However the story is very predictable. As opposed to twists and turns, it has long bending curves, and exit and entrance ramps.
It’s not a terrible listen. However, there’s no chance I would pay $8 for it. If it’s May and you’re bored, great. Kill an hour or so. Outside of that scenario, I would probably pass on this one.