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Dava Shastri's Last Day

Review

Dava Shastri's Last Day

The comeuppance of the rich is a popular topic these days. If “Succession” was made into a novel, it would look an awful lot like DAVA SHASTRI’S LAST DAY.

A family matriarch who made her name in some unruly business in the music industry is now a philanthropist obsessed with how she is perceived in real life. In order to ensure that her demons will not rise to ruin her reputation upon her death, Dava Shastri calls her four children together from all corners of the world to her private island to give them two pieces of news: she is terminally ill, and she will die on the island but not until her death is announced while she is still alive so she can see how people react publicly to her demise.

"DAVA SHASTRI’S LAST DAY is a fun book (just look at that bright, gorgeous cover!), although it certainly takes its dramatic travails to heart."

Kirthana Ramisetti’s debut novel is a lighthearted look into the wiles and ways of a wealthy woman who is used to controlling every aspect of her life and the lives of those around her.

Naturally, Dava’s children rally and race to her side, but the news of her “death” takes them on a wild ride. Not only are there issues with a certain songwriter who may or may not have written a certain song about her, revealing a relationship she has tried hard to forget (shades of Carly Simon and “You’re So Vain”), she also may have a maternity suit coming up as the world assumes that her wealth is being distributed to her legal kids. The gimmick is a sound one: social media is prevalent during any contemporary life, certainly if you're already famous, but the slings and arrows from bad press are not always commensurate with your achievements.

Dava is a very burnished character, strong and demanding but dying quite fashionably. Her medical treatment and pain are not part of the story as much as her past is. She looks back on the situations that will come to have the most influence in shaping her legacy and find them difficult to truly accept. The songwriter and her relationship with him are heavy on her mind and thus in the novel. Her relationship with her kids, while not as poisonous as Logan Roy from “Succession,” still bear the hardships of a family that has had to sacrifice its most basic needs of love and comfort for the big money that Mommy is in charge of.

However, now that these inconvenient truths have come out, Dava must relinquish her hands-off approach and bring her family together once more before she dies --- ensuring that they will carry on her legacy with a new understanding of her and perhaps will right the perception of her that the world has now discovered.

DAVA SHASTRI’S LAST DAY is a fun book (just look at that bright, gorgeous cover!), although it certainly takes its dramatic travails to heart. Written in the unfussy prose that will attract many readers, it also has some heartfelt ideas about family and obligation and generational trauma that will make it more memorable than its soapy plot suggests. As the holidays carry on and families gather, for better or worse, this novel will be a welcome respite from your own drama.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on December 17, 2021

Dava Shastri's Last Day
by Kirthana Ramisetti

  • Publication Date: November 30, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538703866
  • ISBN-13: 9781538703861