Book Review: ‘Now You See Us’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The Dark and Untold Stories of Domestic Workers

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Book Title: Now You See Us
Author: Balli Kaur Jaswal
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 344
ISBN: 978-9356297005
Date Published: May 17, 2023
Price: INR 366

Book Review

Now You See Us”, written by Balli Kaur Jaswal, is based on a true story in 1991 and revolved around Flor Conception, a Filipino domestic helper accused of murder and eventually murdered in 1995. The book digs into the realities of maids and carers in Singapore via its story, illuminating their lives and hardships

The plot centers on three Filipina maids who work in the homes of Singapore’s upper crust. Corazon, a seasoned maid, is hiding secrets from her background. Donita, a free-spirited young woman in her twenties, navigates life on the spur of the moment. Angel, a lady with a wounded heart, seeks a new beginning and an opportunity to go on. As they manage their experiences working for different families, these Filipina ladies build friendships and give mutual support. Their relationships go beyond gossip since they openly discuss their personal stories. Each woman encounters her challenges and copes in her manner. With her years of expertise, Corazon shows power and poise, while Angel demonstrates equal tenacity. On the other hand, Donita struggles to adjust and express her independence at her first work abroad.

The characters come to life with colorful and compelling voices, transforming the murder investigation into a thrilling and generally appealing modern drama. While the presence of the investigative maids adds an exciting aspect to the plot, Jaswal’s characters and interactions truly captivate readers’ attention.

Now You See Us” by Balli Kaur Jaswal focuses on treating domestic assistance in Singapore, highlighting both the positive and negative elements. While most of the families featured in the book are sensible, there are a few that exhibit unsavory characteristics. The tale contemplates the depths some people might sink when dealing with hired workers, showing human nature’s stinginess. It forces us to question if we do more harm than good and whether it is worthwhile to imperil our fellow humans’ dignity and self-esteem simply because we can do so. The ideas and topics handled in this book are not easily understood, but they inspire thoughtful consideration.

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This novel expertly mixes aspects of a finely observed mystery with thought-provoking social commentary on classism, all while injecting a lovely touch of humor.

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