Book Review of “The Forbidden One” by Zaarra Khader

The reference to this review is broadcasted on India Post Live on the show “Interview With the Author”, Check it out at Interview with Zaara Khader on India Post Live


Desire enchants! Irrespective of what that desire is for and no matter how correct or blatantly wrong it seems to the world around us – it leaves us stirred. The more we try to resist it, the more irresistible it becomes till there comes a moment when we actually have to take a call whether to draw lines or to cross those intimidating boundaries. The Forbidden One is for all those who believe that one can feel to be alive only when one takes that leap of faith to cross the barriers to your moment of truth. The Forbidden One is also for those who haven’t fulfilled their forbidden dream as yet and are on that cusp of time to take their chances.

The Forbidden One is a compilation of short stories – the chronicle of characters who, in some way or the other, are either excluded or restrained or tattooed ‘promiscuous’ by the society. Malicious and primitive in its ways, pushing such people on the periphery is bourgeois. Yet such people have a life of their own and as we go delve deeper into the lives of these characters we discover strengths, self-belief and even a sense of ease with which these characters go about their daily chores. Each of the ten tales here is set in the deep ocean of human emotions. Except that some of these emotions find their expressions in forms that are supposed to be suppressed as per the norms and inherited wisdom of the society.

My Review:

The Forbidden one is a novel consisting of 10 short stories, each consisting of a very strong message – either a social issue is being addressed or a socially condoned act is portrayed in a classy manner. Each of the stories has something to say other than the mere meaning of the words. There is a lot of Food for Thought in the stories of the novel.

Be it the simple story of a husband and wife, or the love a devotee has for her favorite God, or an almost extra marital affair, or the wish to follow your dream against those of your family / society, or female infanticide – such issues are addressed rather delicately but artistically in the 10 stories. There are stories and sentences in those stories which feel like an art is being crafted with black ink on white paper.

The moment you feel like you are losing yourself in the characters of the stories is the moment when you get the true essence of the book. The way the characters are molded in those lines feel so natural that it feels more like narration of a true incident than a story. Most of them, in fact all of the stories can almost be true stories. Zaara has made a wonderful compilation of the stories and strikes the crucial matters beautifully. It is a read-to-believe kind of book.

Must try definitely.

Check out the book at

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