Book review: Missing, Presumed Dead

Illness is not good, but when it comes to mental illness somehow everyone’s first concern is to hide it from the world. We never try to understand the depth of the problem and the solution that can cure this illness. Any kind of problem is labelled as madness and tucked into some secluded corner of the house and life.

Kiran Manral has written a story of one such woman who is battling her demons that exist only in her mind. Aisha has a history of mental problems, and when her half-sister, Heer pays an unexpected visit to her house, her life takes one more turn for the worse. Aisha lives with her husband and two children, all of whom have been affected because of her illness. But, it is Aisha who is hurt the most.

We see her as a woman who has seldom control over her mind and there are days when she can not bring her to move from the bed at all. She has been given medication but she stops taking them as soon as she feels better. Her married life has been affected by all this and she and her husband rarely talk to each other. Her children love her but are also scared of her. And amidst all this, she opens her door to find Heer at her doorstep and Aisha’s control over herself unravels. And barely two days later, Aisha disappears.

Missing, Presumed Dead is a good thriller with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia at its core. Rarely do we have the main character suffer from such a problem and not branded villain. Mental illness is real and should be cured just as someone would cure a stomach ailment. The major characters are good, and have a grey side to them. It is quite easy to hate Heer and like her at the same time. Kiran Manral has woven an interesting story and the twists will keep you hooked to the end. It is quite enjoyable.

My rating: 4/5

P.S. Thank you HT Brunch and Amaryllis Publishing for the book.

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