Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review #65: The Withering Banyan


Author: Hyma Goparaju
Pages: 357
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Cover Design: Champa Srinivas

  • Ratings-

Cover : 3/5
Title : 3/5
Blurb : 3.5/5
Story : 3.5/5
Theme : 3.5/5
Characters : 4.5/5
Overall : 3/5

  • Blurb:

A well-to-do business family, whose members are torn apart by a turbulent father-son relationship shrouded in mistrust, suspicion, and contempt for one another – a result of the vagaries of the son’s mind and its maladies – suffers silently. Well-wishers fear that Badri is suffering from a mental derangement, and is on the brink of wiping away his father, Siveswara’s hard-earned fame and fortune. Unaware of the boundless periphery of its affliction, descendants of the five-generation lineage are confounded with an enigmatic and stigmatizing battle of their lifetime which they have to decode and overcome in order to ensure the well-being of the ensuing generations.

  • Review-

The Withering Banyanby Hyma Goparaju is the story of a family by the name of Marri wherein a number of family members suffer from Schizophrenia – a mental disorder often characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real. The Marri family holds a high status in the society with their popular sweet-making business. However, their reputation takes a toll and downfall of the sweet house begins after the death of the protagonist Natya’s great grandfather, Siveswara.

The beginning of the plot is very interesting and hooks you to the book instantly. Natya lives in Sydney with her mother who suffers from Schizophrenia. She believes that her own image in the mirror is some other lady who is trying to woo her daughter Natya and make her go away from her mother, as a result of suffering from the inherited disorder. Their entire family considers her, and also the other family members suffering from Schizophrenia, as maniacs. Marri is a big joint family at the peak of its glory. But a single incident in the life of Badri, Natya’s grandfather, is enough to change the family’s fate forever.

After her mother’s death, Natya decides to return to India to inherit their ancestral Irram mansion. Her aunts are skeptical about her visit. They believe her to be a spitting image of her mother and that she too would take the family to further ruins. But little did they know then that Natya would dawn revelation upon them, that Schizophrenic people are not maniacs, but are just suffering from an inherited disorder. How does she do that? Well, only reading the book will let you know!

  • Appreciations:

The book is one of its kind. Picking up a theme about which not much has been written earlier and pulling it off well is a commendable job done by Hyma. The first chapter itself conveyed the main concept of the book which led on to reading the further chapters with more enthusiasm. Using the withering banyan as a metaphor for the Marri family was a brilliant thought. Two parallel stories being narrated simultaneously and merged at the end to complete the picture was an amazing idea which worked very well in favor of the book.

  • Let-downs:

Although Hyma has an excellent narration style, a few incidences and some facts were narrated in a detailed manner which made the book a bit repulsive at times. Too many unnecessary descriptions which could have been avoided. Hyma tried to complicate the narration with twisted dialogues and lengthy sentences. Had these things been taken care of, the book wouldn’t be 357 pages long and would have still conveyed the same message by a shorter path.

  • Verdict:

An interesting but lengthy read, not for quick read lovers. (3/5)

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  • Available at: Amazon(Rs. 295)

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I am a Computer Engineer working with a prominent firm. Writing is my passion and likewise I love reading novels and reviewing them. Want to get your novel reviewed? Feel free to contact me at or on Follow on FB- Happy reading! Keep smiling! ;)

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