Monday, February 10, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Isolation Door by Anish Majumdar

Title: The Isolation Door
Author: Anish Majumdar
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Ravana Press
Release Date: February 4/2014
Adquired: Print copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Neil Kapoor, 23, is desperate to create a life beyond the shadow of his mother’s schizophrenia. Years of successive relapses and rehabilitations have forced his father into the role of caretaker and Neil into that of silent witness. But there is no light within this joyless ritual, and any hope for the future rests on finding an exit.

Amidst her latest breakdown, Neil attends drama school in pursuit of a role that might better express the truth of who he is. What started as a desperate gambit becomes the fragile threads of a new life. A relationship blooms with Emily, and each finds strength – and demons - in the other. New friendships with Quincy and Tim grow close and complex. But the emotional remove needed to keep these two lives separate destabilizes the family. Neil’s father, the one constant in the chaos, buckles under the pressure. Enlisting the aid of an Aunt with means and questionable motives, Neil plies ever-greater deceptions to keep the darkness at bay. But this time there will be no going back. As his mother falls to terrifying depths a decision must be made: family or freedom?

In this powerful fiction debut, acclaimed journalist Anish Majumdar shines a much-needed light into the journey of those coping with serious mental disorders and the loved ones who walk alongside them. Incisive and filled with moments of strange beauty, it marks the arrival of a unique voice in American letters.


There seems to a rampant theme in my 2014 reading thus far, and that's the ever-present aspect of mental illness. Each book that I've read has explored the rise and fall of it's characters, with a knowledge that seems to stem from personal experience-though I was never given solid proof of that assumption, in The Isolation Door, Anish Majumdar WAS coming from an angle based on personal happenings, and it made me appreciate the narrative that much more. This novel was a fantastic, emotionally charged, depiction of the irrevocable damages of mental decline-on it's occupant, and the people existing around them. I didn't know what to expect when I started The Isolation Door, but what I didn't expect, was to feel the pull of emotion on every single page, as I did while reading it.

Neil Kapoor was looking to disassociate himself, and not in the medically diagnosed way of developing amnesia, but by building a life and world away from his schizophrenic mother. The first three pages of The Isolation Door had me sitting stock still, as Neil describes a specific witnessing of his mother's mania. It was made to sound as both intentional, and dangerously suggestive, as his mother dangles halfway through a window to prove a point to the world. Skip to present time, and we're faced with the sad reality: Priya Kapoor suffers from chronic schizophrenia, and her family has suffered because of it. A delusional husband and father, who only wants to make his wife happy-the wife he knew, before the grips of her illness consumed her. A son, Neil, who can't help but misunderstand his father's need to avoid reality.

Neil finds solace, and eventually, insight, when he strikes out on his own, and enrolls in drama school. Against his father's wishes, Neil pursues a dream that his mother held steadfast to, and still fantasizes about in her declining state. The Isolation Door was a mash-up of so many themes, and though the dominant one dealt with mental illness, I was able to identify with the coming-of-age aspect of it. Anish Majumdar's poetic prose made the difficult content easier to swallow. His characters were so diverse and unsure of their roles, that I found myself identifying with more than one at a time.

The Isolation Door was powerful in it's execution, and was written with a hand, and voice, that I would have known came from a genuine place even if I didn't read about the author's personal experiences first. I look forward to many more narratives by Mr. Anish Majumdar.
Recommended for Fans of: What I Had Before I Had You, Etched on Me, Web of Angels, Adult Contemporary, mental illness in fiction.


Click HERE to read all about the talented Anish Majumdar!

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Thank-you to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Ravana Press for sending me a print copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. I hate to sound stupid, but your title says "giveaway," and you don't mention a giveaway in this post.

    1. Hi! Not stupid at all, that was definitely written in anticipation of a giveaway, but I decided not to. I do apologize for that!

  2. Really enjoyed reading this review of the book- thank you so much Reeka! Interestingly, when I first began working on what became The Isolation Door, I was really thinking in terms of creating a memoir. However, I quickly learnt that the way my brain dealt with difficult moments was to fuzz them out, along with a huge number of related events. So out of necessity, really, I began to create the characters in the novel and the world they exist in. Looking at the book today, I think it communicates how it felt to grow up in the shadow of that kind of illness and damaged love better than a non-fiction book could.

    1. Very interesting! ... I can only imagine how difficult it would be writing this as a memoir!

  3. I love that you say that you can tell that this came from a very personal place, even though you didn't know it when you started.

  4. Terrific review, Reeka! Thank you so much for being on the tour.


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