Reviewed by Ranga Iyer-Rajah
Life at times can get heavy and unbearable. It could start with little things like wanting to move from one place to another to be able to find solutions. Or it could be ‘wanting’ to get out of a relationship and maybe hope for another, better one.
But every change we make or go through leaves its traces in the form of emotions, various feelings and thoughts. Therefore, when we enter a new place or a relationship, we are never free of our past baggage, experiences. Some of us carry all that, knowingly or unknowingly.
Danila Botha explores relationships of Dez, Lukas, Adriana, Marlize, Nicki. These are her characters and Botha shapes them, constructs and deconstructs. She makes every character in this amazing narration go through the rigours of life, living and loving.
The best thing about this book is how she commands her characters to explore their feelings in as intricate manner as humanly possible. Dez for example likes to indulge in sex, love-making with different women. He wants love but does not know the route to travel on. Yes we all get into relationships thinking of love and lasting.
But either in the beginning or somewhere in the middle, we all become aware that it is going nowhere. Yet we want to stay in it because as human beings we get ‘used to’ and like getting ‘used to’ familiar and known stuff around us. Even after we realize that known comfort zone is making us hollow, lose ourselves, our whole being, identity. Nicki shares a relationship with Lukas somewhat on these lines. She eats and keeps eating every time Lukas hides things from her and doesn’t reciprocate the way she would like him to.
Botha has handled such complexities extremely well. Nicki, though lives and loves Lukas, while exploring her feelings during the last phase of her relationship says this, ‘A part of me never really believed that Lukas Love me, as much as I wanted to believe it.’
We all know, yet we put up, stay in it and live with it. This ‘it’ could mean a love life, just our life, living with people, ourselves and everything else. Why do we all do this? And most importantly, how do we all do it? Is it good to stay in the same situation because we are ‘used to it’? Or move on to different things yet familiar?
Do we all really seek ‘different’ or just the familiar under different circumstances, place and people?
These and many such complex life situations are explained and narrated beautifully by Botha in Too Much On The Inside.
Too Much On The Inside is published by Quattro Books. Toronto.