When retired architect Arthur Howard receives an unexpected invitation from the elegant businesswoman he has just met, her promise of two weeks of incredible sex is enough to persuade him to forget his stale marriage and follow her to India. Leaving thoughts of his younger wife Ester far behind, Rani leads Arthur into paradise; her home lies in a beautiful valley filled with quiet villages, tranquil lakes, tea plantations and crocus fields, a place where his every need is catered for and his attention sought wherever he goes.
But danger lies hidden here. Arthur discovers that Rani and the other villagers he meets in this rural Indian idyll are the descendents of an ancient civilization, thought to be merely mythical. From his contact with them, he succumbs to a mysterious illness that keeps him bedridden for a long period in a darkened room. Confused and stricken, Arthur’s days and nights are haunted by wild dreams; when he is unable to sleep, he reminisces about early love affairs and fears for his failing relationship with Ester until he is unable to distinguish dreams from reality.
Published June 29th 2017 by Clink Street Publishing
I like to branch out now and then from my usual type of reads and try something different, and was intrigued by the mythical elements described in this book. While I’m usually very grounded in real life with my reading choices, I do enjoy a twist of magical realism occasionally, and Molly Fish sounded like it may fit the bill.
It begins with recently retired Arthur arriving in India to spend two weeks with the beautiful and mysterious Rani. When he arrives at Rani’s home, he is welcomed by a range of other women, who all appear desperately attracted to him and desperate to serve his every whim. I felt a bit awkward with this – Arthur had left his poor wife of twenty five years at home and I couldn’t help but feel a bit repulsed. As things get quite steamy, with a lot of bed hopping, I really doubted this book was going to work for me. I’m not going to lie – it was close to stepping out of my own personal comfort zone. Yep, It appears I’m a bit of a prude!
However, I stuck with it and after my initial misgivings I actually became quite engrossed in this book. Jack McMasters has a wonderfully descriptive writing style which brought the beautiful scenery of the remote Indian village to life. Colours, sights and smells explode from the page, and there’s an atmospheric feeling swirling around of something mystical, I wanted to know what it was.
I thought the story behind Rani and the other women was fascinating, a mix of myth, magic and ancient history. Arthur is initially swept away by the apparent adoration and attention bestowed upon him, but then begins to notice things – like there are no other men in this particular village. I enjoyed reading about the origins and history behind the almost cult like group of women. What seemed like a story about a very weak man, actually turned into one of very strong women. It took me by surprise.
Molly Fish is an unusual book, quite different from what I usually read. It took me a while to get into to begin with, however once I’d given it a few chapters I found it a flowing and intriguing read. It is a little explicit at times, and like I said earlier, made me feel a bit uncomfortable – however this is just a personal feeling as I’ve already admitted I must be a bit prudish! (I didn’t make it past the first couple of chapters of that very well known steamy book for example!) Yet I am glad I stuck with it, because I did really enjoy the mystical setting and mythical story behind Rani and her people. It is intriguingly different – with an unexpected twist at the end!
(I read an ebook courtesy of Rachel @ Autheright)