In Faani, a wife’s medical crisis gives her time to reflect on what she really wants, and her marriage is threatened as a result.
The story opens with a crisis. As she arrives at work, pharmacist Rose loses feeling in her legs, then her upper body. Her husband, Yaar, comes to take her to the hospital, and, later, to a psychiatric facility. In flashbacks, Rose reflects on her unhappy marriage and growing desire for the man she exchanges art and poetry with online. She must choose one, but learns that some attractions are best left in the realm of fantasy.
Author Rose is a pharmacist like her character (the book’s back cover notes that the novel is “inspired by a true story”), and she gets information about medicine spot on. But other passages reflect a less skilled relationship to English. She seems to get lost in a flowery turn of phrase only to realize there’s no fixed meaning to it, as in: “Her soul amplified; her dance of being paused and wondered. A sneaky joy stole her moment.” Also, she uses incorrect words, such as: “He knew that writing was what would relief [sic] her most of the time.”
Additionally, the choice to render flashbacks in a baroque script font, as well as Rose’s name throughout the text (and Yaar’s 76 pages into the story), feels like an attempt to create additional meaning through a visual cue, rather than trusting that the writing alone will carry the tale. The curly type is hard to read and distracting.
Faani tackles big issues, from women’s ambition to psychosomatic illness as a response to feeling repressed, and Rose confronts them bravely. However, the novel needs editing for language use and revision of type design in order to reach its full potential.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.