Rohan has always collected butterflies, so much so that his personal study has always been known as the Butterfly Room by his family. Unfortunately most of his family feels as trapped as those butterflies, under the relentless thumb of their overbearing and unhealthy paternalistic father. He wants to control everything, and has the means to do so, until his children start living their own lives. It’s either cope or quit, and his coping methods aren’t particularly nice.
This is a sad commentary on the state of those stuck in outdated and unhealthy life expectations. While it occurs in an East Indian family situated in England, a lot of the themes easily translate across other cultures and families - domestic violence, unmet expectations, modern lifestyles and infidelity. If nothing else this reveals the power of family secrets juxtaposed against family “honor” and it does so in tragic clarity. Although not a particularly uplifting story, it makes a crucial point. The writing was poetic, although somewhat repetitive (got a little bored with the metaphor of a hallway being a throat) and a little preachy. Still it’s a really cathartic read for anyone who has dealt with difficult family circumstances, and who hasn’t?
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