Drama-Shrama & All That Jazz! Kirthana Ramisetti’s ‘Dava Shastri’s Last Day’ Is A Must Read!
Neha Kirpal is a freelance writer who lives to read,…
NYC-based author Kirthana Ramisetti’s debut novel ‘Dava Shastri’s Last Day’ (Grand Central Publishing, 2021) has been making all the right noise. It is an entertaining family drama and a Good Morning America Book Club pick. So if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, check out this review. It will surely have you tingling to get your hands on this one!
The book is a rendition of Dava Shastri’s life. She is one of the world’s wealthiest women and a well-known philanthropist. Shastri had created Medici Artists, an influential platform that disrupted the music industry, as well as her women empowerment-oriented Dava Shastri Foundation. When she is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at the age of seventy, she opts against treatment, instead, arranging for a doctor to perform assisted suicide for her. She calls her four adult children, Arvie, Sita, Kali, and Rev, along with their families to her private island to break the news to them, and also the fact that she has arranged for the news of her death to break early so that she can read her obituaries and see what the world says and thinks about her.
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While her children are shocked and horrified, Shastri’s “death” ends up revealing some deep, dark truths about her life. Over the course of the next few days, hidden skeletons, including an illicit love affair and an alleged secret daughter, gradually come tumbling out of the protagonist’s closet, and are out there for her children and the rest of the world to see.
As the media focuses more on the juicy gossip surrounding her personal life rather than the incredible legacy she has left behind, it feels like a whole lifetime of her work is undermined by “wagging tongues hungry for scandal”. “No matter what a woman achieves, she is always reduced to her sex life,” it leads her to conclude. Dava Sashtri decides that a biopic on her life needs to be made in order to do justice to all the charity work she has done.
The story constantly shuttles between past and present, highlighting different phases of the protagonist’s life—her childhood, youth, marriage, and later years—as well the many choices, mistakes, successes, failures, and regrets she made along the way.
‘Dava Shastri’s Last Day’ famously quotes:
“If I hadn’t lived the life I did, met and married your grandfather, been able to help so many people, had a family, and seen my children have their own children, then maybe I would be afraid to have it end. Life has done well by me, but life did not happen to me. I had the ability to make choices, and it led to all of this.”
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On the whole, ‘Dava Shastri’s Last Day’ is a light, fun, and entertaining read. And definitely a noteworthy one for a debut – which is soon going to become a TV show with Veritas Entertainment having nabbed the rights!
Kirthana Ramisetti is a former entertainment reporter for Newsday and The New York Daily News, Ramisetti has written several stories about the lives and deaths of the rich and famous. She has a master’s degree in creative writing from Emerson College, and her work has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, and elsewhere.
Neha Kirpal is a freelance writer who lives to read, write, and travel. Her other loves include listening to music and watching movies.