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  • Original Book Title: THE SPARE ROOM
  • Availability : Available
  • ISBN : 9788184983074
  • Edition : 1
  • Weight : 0.00 gms
  • Pages : 204
  • Language : ENGLISH
  • Category : FICTION
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Helen has little idea what lies ahead when she offers her spare room to an old friend of fifteen years. Nicola has arrived in the city for treatment for cancer. Sceptical of the medical establishment, placing all her faith in an alternative health centre, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice that Helen can offer. In the weeks that follow, Nicola`s battle against her cancer will turn not only her own life upside down but also those of everyone around her. THE SPARE ROOM is a magical gem of a book that packs a huge punch, charting a friendship as it is tested by the threat of death.
आपली मैत्रीण निकोलासाठी हेलन तिच्या घरातील ‘स्पेअर रूम’ अतिशय प्रेमाने तयार करते. हेलनकडे निकोला तीन आठवडे राहून कर्करोगावरील उपचार घेणार असते; ज्यामुळे तिचा कर्करोग बरा होणार आहे, असा तिचा ठाम विश्वास असतो. ज्या क्षणी जख्ख झालेली, कृश, अडखळत चालणारी; पण तरीही देखणी निकोला विमानातून उतरते; त्या क्षणापासून हेलन तिची परिचारिका, देवदूत, पालक आणि कर्तव्यकठोर न्यायाधीश बनते. दोन स्त्रिया – एक संशयखोर, एक हट्टाने प्रसन्न राहणारी. त्यांच्या मैत्रीतून एक अशी बाजू समोर येते, जिचा न आखलेला मार्ग कादंबरीच्या भयानक अंताकडे ठेचकळत, अडखळत पोहोचतो. ‘स्पेअर रूम’मधून दया, विनोदबुद्धी व संताप यांची एक कथा उलगडते.
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  • Rating StarNEWSPAPER REVIEW

    Some time or the other, maybe we all have been through this experience of having a terminally-ill relative or friend in our care. Each of us might be having an array of good, bad, sweet or sour experiences to narrate about how life alters when it enmshes with such a person’s. Australian writer Helen Garner’s first work of fiction titled ‘The Spare Room’ is more or a less a concoction of several such thoughts and experiences penned on the backdrop of a cancer-ridden friend staying with the protagonist for three weeks. Helen the protagonist spares a room in the house for her bowel cancer-ridden friend Nicola for three weeks. A bohemian who has lived life on her own terms, Nicola puts herself up with a multitude of friends who are more than happy to accommodate and help her. So it is that the sixty-five year old Nicola comes to Helen’s house in Melbourne to embark on a vitamin-C alternative medicine treatment at a shady-sounding institute called ‘Theodore Institute’. Helen takes an instant dislike to the institute and its wonky staff; she keeps persuading Nicola to not fall prey to its glib marketing talk. However, the feisty Nicola brushes off Helen’s advice with the argument that anything that promises to lessen her suffering is worth a try. The book portrays a vivid picture of the parallel lives that these two friends try to lead even as their tracks keep crossing at every juncture. Helen tries to nurture and protect Nicola in every way she can – waking up several times at night to change her sweat-soaked sheets; cleaning her soiled clothes; taking her for the treatment; running around to get her medications; and motivating her every time she feels low. As for Nicola, she alternates between getting cosy in Helen’s care and wanting to break free of it. While Nicola is certainly grateful for all that Helen is doing; at times she also unabashedly tries to slip out of the protective shell – especially when Helen tries to emphasise the futility of the Theodore Institute’s ‘treatments’ that leave Nicola drained and quivering most of the times. Things come to an extreme when Nicola starts poking fun at Helen’s ‘over-protective’ attitude and increasingly starts taking the reins of the decisions about her treatment in her own hands. While it does not come across very overtly in the narrative, the reader can read between the lines to empathise with Helen’s hurt and pain borne as much out of care towards her gullible friend as out of rage towards her insensitive attitude. Nevertheless, Helen does not stop her efforts. As Nicola’s condition goes from bad to worse due to the vitamin-C treatments, Helen talks tough with the institute’s founder and even tries to initiate legal action against them. However, nothing substantial comes out of it. Lastly, Nicola goes in for regular medical treatment and eventually returns to Sydney where she is looked after by a string of friends till she embraces death – eventually in peace, instead of fighting against it. While on the downside, the book seems a tad diary-esque than a work of fiction (maybe because Helen has drawn out of her real-life experience of caring for a friend in the last stages of cancer), one does get to savour the several tinges and layers that a ‘friendship’ goes through. Apart from the philosophy of the inevitability of death and the prudence in embracing it peacefully, the biggest lesson that this book teaches us is about the deep-rooted meaning of friendship. This unique relationship has generally either been pigeonholed or just unfairly branded into narrow segments. But ‘The Spare Room’ shows us that friendship can be much more than sharing a laugh or a cup of tea together. It can be about caring, nurturing, supporting; as much as about hurting, jibing and taking each other for granted. The pertinence of all these aspects is best understood whilst reading this novel. Definitely worth a read! -RESHMA S KULKARNI ...Read more

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