The Guest

The Guest - Suneetha Balakrishnan

It's difficult to read a book from a different perspective than you're used to. 

That being said, I think it's important that we all do so. It creates an understanding and empathy that would otherwise be difficult to naturally develop. 

Suneetha gives three new perspectives from a situation that is very different from any experience I've ever had. There's a wife and her mother-in-law who have formed a complete family unit despite the husband/son's lack of participation. 

By looking out through each set of eyes at various points throughout the book, we're given the ability to see each unique perspective, and how easy it is to form judgments when there's a lack of communication. 

I really enjoyed the progression of the story. I had no idea where the plot was leading me, but I knew that I was missing an important piece of information. With each chapter, I felt as though a little bit more was revealed, but it wasn't until the grand finale that the author really brought the entire piece together. 

Despite the husband's inaction throughout the book, it was heartwarming to see his wife and mother respond with nothing but love for him at the end of the piece. This is what being a family truly means. 

Some Bio Information

Suneetha Balakrishnan is an independent journalist, writer, and bi-lingual translator. She lives and works from her home in Trivandrum, India.


1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I started reading quite young and was bi-lingual too, there is still nothing else that matters to me as much as words and the stories built with them. I guess one reads, reads and reads and then somewhere along the road decides one cannot but write. This happened with me too. 

2.  Which character do you most identify with? 

Characters? I WOULD like to be Elizabeth Bennet, Scarlett O'Hara and Sathyabati ( Main protagonist of Prothomprothishruti by Indian writer Asha Poorna Devi) as also Phantom, Spiderman and Sri Krishna. But I have always been Alice perpetually in Wonderland. :)

3. Describe the perfect writing environment. 

I write best on the desktop monitor, with the TV blaring in the next room, someone speaking on the phone outside the window, a deadline looming and my cribbing away at all this. But it has to happen in my home, me wearing an old housecoat, at my writing corner which is always untidy & full of clutter, and with a bowl full of snacks at an arm's reach. That's writing heaven. 

4. Who inspires you? 

Fast writers, prolific writers and writers who give us interesting plot lines are my inspiration. Names I would mention are Enid Blyton, Elinor M Brent-Dyer, Nevil Shute, A.J. Cronin, Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, Colleen McCullough, Hemingway... well, there are many many more writers who write diverse genres...I grew up reading all of them and they continue to inspire me.

5. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? (or have you already been there?)

Yes, there is a place which I long to go to and have not located yet. Since childhood, I have this recurring dream of an island in the middle of the sea, a sea where the shores are calm and there are waves in the middle, and its a brilliant blue...I am sure I am going to dream of this place again tonight. Otherwise places don't matter much to me, only people do.

6. Can you tell me a little bit about your writing process? 

I don't start writing easily, but once its on, I like to just forget everything and write on without a care. I have tried hard to be disciplined, and achieved it almost in my work-writing. My writing-writing is still a process which initiates itself without my consent. 

7. What are your future writing dreams/goals? 

The Guest is my Amazon debut. My next novel is up for pre-order on Amazon and releasing March 31, 2015. It is a satiric romp through the 'methods of matrimony' of a society that promises to leap into modernity, yet restrains itself within the chains of conservatism. A third novella Gandhi Colony, a social story placed in small-town India is being readied. A few other stories are plotted and ready to be fleshed out. I hope to put them all out soon, and only as ebooks. These are in the upmarket genre.

Other than this, I write literary fiction and short stories usually, which have won a few awards here and there. I am looking to compile these into a print anthology with a traditional publisher. 

I am also a journalist and bi-lingual translator and have published 5 books in translation in 2 languages, including the Malayalam translation of Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies. This year I am on a reading spree and posting a blog 'Reading Across India' introducing Indian Literature in various languages to the world reader. I hope to read one book from every Indian language this year.