Salini Vineeth’s Lost Edges Addresses Mental Health Issues Through A Nuanced Narrative

I loved how Salini Vineeth's Lost Edges wonderfully and effectively champions seeking help and counseling both for personal and interpersonal issues.

How many of us have tasted real freedom in our minds? Most of us are caged and entangled in our head. It may be our personality quirks or our difficult upbringing; societal expectations or difficult interpersonal relationships; our unfulfilled dreams or incorrigible habits; whatever is holding us back or imprisoning us will often raise its ugly head once in a while and impact everything and everyone in our lives. No wonder our generation grapples with many mental health issues. Most people have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they are flawed or they have erred. Some are not even aware of what is killing their spirit, others hate to even admit that they are in troubled waters, even when they are drowning.

Salini Vineeth very bravely navigates through these messy, complicated, convoluted dark spaces of human mind in her debut novel Lost Edges, often gently guiding the readers to explore their own failures, relationships, fears and insecurities in the process.

A broken marriage that began with love

Lost edges is not a easy novel to read even though its protagonists Ravi and Geethu are extremely real and relatable as people. The couple are bitter, on the verge of a divorce and each is going through his/her own personal hell. Ravi is constantly troubled from ghosts from his past while Geethu deals with a demanding career, an even more demanding parent and a failing marriage, alternating between invisible strength and crushing vulnerability.

Salini imbues her characters with empathy and compassion as she aces the non-linear narrative form by interspersing the couple’s present days with their heartwarming love story from the past. This book is a page turner and I found myself being gently but compellingly drawn into Ravi and Geethu’s lives, as they both tell their own stories alternatively in first person. The language is lucid and filled with beautiful metaphors and the writing is so effective, the readers literally travel through the minds of this couple, even as they travel through life both literally and figuratively.

Sensitive handling of mental health issues

The strength of Salini as a writer lies in the way she has portrayed mental health issues. Ravi is constantly pushed to the brink of survival, and we the readers can feel his pain, agony and despair. Yet, like many people, he feels life is not in his hands. He constantly feels like he is the victim of his own circumstances; like a lonely lost boat in a choppy sea, always looking for an anchor to hold him in place. Geethu, on the other hand, is trying to put up a brave front even when she is breaking down from within.

These characters are so true life, most of us would be personally able to relate to them in some way or the other. What Salini does, is to present anecdotes from both their lives, right from their childhood, which has shaped them as people, given them certain vices and impacted their relationship. We, the readers, can see what they probably cannot yet; the reasons they behave and react the way they do and it almost made me want to shake them up into reality. Also, the book made me revisit all those forgotten incidents in my memory, which probably has shaped me as a person.

It also made me reflect on life, on relationships and also on the fact that each one of us is grappling with our own personal crisis, which may be completely unknown to the outside world. It also gave me a rare insight into how people that surround us- parents, siblings, friends and spouse , even strangers can have a deep impact on our psyche, determining our interpersonal and social interactions.

Yet, Lost Edges is not a depressing book

Salini may have held us and taken us through dark tunnels through her story, but she doesn’t leave our hand until we see the light. There is hope, despite the pain. There is revival, beyond the hopelessness. And there is realisation, before everything is shattered, dispelling the impending doom. I loved how the book wonderfully and effectively champions seeking help and counseling both for personal and interpersonal issues. This book will help those who see themselves in the troubled protagonists’s shoes to reflect, develop self-awareness and seek help. Yes, we all have dark phases, but the light comes only to those who are willing to search for it.

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Relationship troubles and mental health issues cannot be brushed under the carpet; doing so will only lead to further complications. Running away from problems will not solve them. And yet, most people in our society are forced to do so, fearing harsh judgements and character assassination. Salini, through this wonderful book, forces us to reconsider the stigma around mental health and nudges people to seek help despite their fears and insecurities. And for this alone, this book is a must-read.

Reviewer’s note: Trigger warning: This book contains scenes of child abuse and panic attacks and may be triggering to the survivors.

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Image source: book cover Amazon

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About the Author

Soumya Bharathi

Writer| Poet| Self-published author| Oral Surgeon| A woman who believes that subtlety is strength, feminine is formidable, beauty is in benevolence and vulnerability is validation of strength of character. For more read www.soumyabharathi. read more...

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