Book Review- YOU BENEATH YOUR SKIN (Damyanti Biswas)



Author: Damyanti Biswas

Publisher: Simon & Schuster India

Genre: Crime Fiction

Cover page:

The cover page looks ordinary, but I loved the color chosen-Red. The shades of red can be seen all over the cover, from blood red to dark and maroon. A face can be seen behind the title, it is vague but reveals left eye prominently. Only after I finished reading the book did the cover page made more sense. A great job by Graficus (Cover Designer)


Anjali a half English Half Indian woman who had moved to Delhi about twelve years ago is looking for her son Nikhil at a mall where she lost him while shopping. Nikhil is 14 years of age and is Autistic. Anjali calls Maya and informs her about her situation with Nikhil. Maya joins her at the mall and they manage to locate him.

Jatin Bhatt is Special Commissioner of Crime- Delhi police and Maya’s elder brother. He is married to Drishti daughter of his boss Commissioner Mehra and they have a seventeen year on Varun. Varun is a pampered child with everything at his disposal on demand. Drishti and Jatin have an estranged marriage and stay out of each other’s way as far as possible.

When Anjali came to India Jatin helped her settle. Jatin was Anjali’s father’s favorite student hence they knew each other from long before. She had moved to study law in USA where she met Nate and married him. Nikhil was born as an autistic child and Nate did not take it well and could not bring himself to terms of accepting him. Anjali divorced him and she moved back to Delhi.

Anjali and Jatin were more than friends, they had an affair which they had managed to keep under wraps for over ten years now. Little did they know that Varun had learned of this early in his childhood when he was just six and saw them both together getting cozy in the garden on his way to the washroom.

When Anjali saw Varun finding them she let go of Jatin who was holding her. Jatin turned around and saw Varun but before he managed to reach him Varun ran away.

Little did he know that one day his whole life will turn upside down. Someone had thrown acid on Anjali’s face as she got out of her car to pick up the cake Maya had pre-ordered for Drishti’s birthday.

Thus begins the search for the person who threw acid on Anjali and this leads to a series of revelation which Jatin, Maya, and Pawan (Jatin’s brother-in-law and Maya’s assistant) had never in their wildest dreams had ever thought of.

My Reading experience:

As I started reading the book I found it hard to continue, and kept it away for a day. This book made me ponder over my experience with wine. I am a hard liquor guy, who has his Whiskey’s and Rum on the rocks, single-malts neat, and scotch with just a few drops of water or a cube of ice so when I was offered a glass of wine very first time I found it difficult to drink. Yes, one has to develop a taste for wine, and it takes time to cultivate the taste. This book was like wine, I had to give it some time before giving up on it. I am so glad I did coz as I kept reading I could start seeing the picture getting clearer and characters taking shape. They say “Devil lies in Details” and such was the experience with Damyanti’s writing. The words are refined and use of both Hindi and English as and when necessary made justice to the characters and their backgrounds. Yes, initially the book dragged and I had to keep it away but the next day when I took it back again in hand to read I kept it down only two times one during my night sleep and the next when I finished reading it. By the time I finished about more than half of the book which is good 390 pages it became quite predictable, as with most of the Bollywood movies 😉

My Rating:

I will give it 3 out of 5

The story has elements of broken and estranged relationships, extramarital affair, unsaid love, pain, disgust, angst, all emotional roller coaster, dirt, corruption, hand in glove relation between politicians, police and drug peddlers and prostitution pimps. It gives insight into the life of the elite and not so privileged of Delhi. If you want to get how it feels to be an acidic attack survivor, and how crimes take place in Delhi and the extent to which someone goes to take revenge for something which he kept to himself all his growing years and a peek into dirty bylanes of Delhi slums then this book is for you. You will get to see it all through the eyes of the author in this book.

Important Note:

All the author proceeds will go to the welfare of the underprivileged at PROJECT WHY- Delhi and STOP ACID ATTACK

Online Purchase Links:   Amazon India             Flipkart

Other links:

Author~ Damyanti Biswas

Publisher~ Simon & Schuster India




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