Author- Ravi Kumar R
Publisher- Book Banyan
Pages- 87 (Actually the story ends at Page 54)
So, I get this email from the author requesting for a review and a few monthes later, I am holding this lean book with many blank pages in my hands. The author is an IIT Kharagpur graduate and this is actually his third book. He hails from Hyderabad and reside there at present.
The cover of the book is eye-catching and the graphic of suicide paints a curious picture. India’s map gives it a political hue which is intended and intelligent. The pages are crisp and the font is appropriate, easy on eye. There are no syntax or typographical errors of major consequence.
Franz Kafka’s quote- “One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die.” can well be called the book’s tagline and it’s all downhill from there. The story revolves around a suicide by a student named Siddharth in IIT Kharagpur. Apparently there was a message behind this untimely death and that is explained in these 54 pages. It is more of a short story that you can finish in one hour and then regret reading it. It has self-righteousness written all over it and all logic is thrown out the window to make a point.
The story suffers from the Jesus-ification of personalities and at one point, it turns into a mystery which is easy to predict. As far as the message is concerned, there is no message except that there is need to change. The issues that this suicide hopes to solve range from women empowerment to Hindu-Muslim unity to inclusive development and so on. The suicide letter is more like a rant from Rahul Gandhi’s speech. I apologise if I hurt any sentiments with my words but, as a reviewer I have to be honest with my readership. The novel is a preachy piece of work with no clarity and it isn’t layered either. It is a bad bollywood masala movie that comes and goes without anyone noticing. Even Karl Marx would disown this radical piece of work due to sheer lack of pragmatism.
The saving grace (somewhat) of the novel is that it is short and the language is free from errors and lucid. I wish the author works more on the narrative skills and contents because he has the raw material but the maturity of thought is far from sight. The last 40 pages which are almost blank except for the headlines from a utopian future (all because of one freaking suicide) are each like nails in the coffin of the book.
I’d give this book half a star.