Red River Rising by Husna, published by the Locksley Hall Publishing LLP and The Book Bakers Literary Agency, is a thriller/fiction based on the deluge of 2018 in the flood plains and hills of the Periyar river in Kerala. It is a compelling natural disaster novel; one of the very few from the genre in India. The plot takes the reader on a roller coaster ride, unsettling at times, resonating with the reality of a post-truth world. The effects of climate change and environmental degradation, area reality that holds us all accountable, and the author has convincingly conveyed this message in a tragic narrative, angry at times and hopeful of others. The characters are so real and the plotting engaging. In an almost anthropomorphic storytelling, veering between heart-wrenching realism and hopeful idealism. The story revolves around 5 characters who are affected by the river, and hose lives become inexplicably entwined.
The narrative opens with a disturbing relationship a young woman, Lakshmi has with the Periyar River. Her traumatic childhood, social conditioning, and relentless search for love push her to the edge.
Radha – an activist from Delhi, travels to the tribal town of Attapadi in search of her husband Krishnan, whom the authorities allege is an Aisha Maoist sympathizer.
Mani – a resident of Attapadi belongs to the Kurumbar tribe and is involved in the marijuana trade in the region and assists Radha in the search for Krishnan.
Sabu, a fisherman from Vypin is instrumental in the rescue and evacuation of those affected by the floods in the Athesteady reserve forest. He stumbles upon vital information regarding Krishnan.
And at the center I, all is – Krishnan, Radha’s husband who has gone missing. In the search for Krishnan, Radha discovers startling truths that have graver implications in both her personal life as well as society at large. The treacherous waters of the deluge thus play the ultimate leveler and revelationist.
How did Krishnan disappear? Where is he? Will Radha be successful in her search for her husband? Can Radha and Mani survive the treacherous waters of the deluge? What is the mystery behind the mass burial in the middle of the forest? All these questions remain the crux of the story.
Red River rising is a potpourri of different genres. Though the central narrative is about a natural disaster it has elements of love, loss, betrayal, and politics woven into it. From the student politics of Delhi to the tribal region of Attapadi, it addresses the human condition that exists in our hyper-consumerist world. Set amidst the devastating Kerala floods of 2018, Red River Rising explores the social, psychological, environmental, and political impact the river has on its unsuspecting protagonists amidst nature’s fury.