PW #134: Adult Literary Fiction with elements of psychological thriller (#ownvoices): MALAISE

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Kristen Lepionka

Mentee Name: Rheea Mukherjee


Category: Adult

Genre: Literary Fiction with elements of psychological thriller (#ownvoices)

Word Count: 55,000 words


Young Indian widow, Mira, witnesses a beautiful woman faking a seizure at the park. She’s pulled into an obsessive relationship with the woman and her husband. As Mira unravels the couple’s mystery through the lenses of history, philosophy, and urban irony, she realizes finding the truth not only risks experiencing loss again but will challenge her understanding of sanity.


Take my story like you would a large pill. Place it on your tongue and swallow it in one gulp. I intend to write the truth. The truth is perspective, and I have been scrupulous with mine.

Suryam, like most Indian cities was hot in summer, cooler in the winter, and the rains unpredictable. We did have one thing that grew in this city that no other town, city, or village had. The Rasagura fruit was pink on the outside, yellow inside, and speckled with tiny brown seeds. A micro-ecosystem that offered a global paradox. Its replication has been tried of course, in the fertile soils of many other places, here in India and around the world. No, there was something in the air that made its way into the soil. The fruit is just there, and I’ll try not to mention it again. I digress, just to find the right moment to start my story. Because the Rasagura certainly has nothing to do with it. My story starts with Sara.

The first time I saw Sara

Sara was sitting on park bench. I came to West Point Gardens every Sunday for a 5 kilometer walk. She couldn’t see me, but I stopped walking explicitly to stare at her. I looked at her for three reasons:

(1) Her face was twisted in contemplation

(2) she was wearing a beige kurta with a transparent golden dupatta

(3) she was fucking gorgeous



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