Author– Vadassery Thaiparambil Rakesh
Price– Rs 145
Genre– Crime Thriller/ Fiction
Publisher– Leadstart/ Frog books
So, I received this book review request from VT Rakesh (No, I am not going to spell out his full name again :P) and thought to give it a go. First, I’d like to mention that leadstart publishing has been doing a great job for lesser known, first time authors and the books published are also of agreeable quality and are well-edited. Kudos to the team! Their website is pretty friendly to the budding authors too. Here is their submissions page- Submissions
About the cover
The cover design contains the background of a skull cap and green background to set the stage for the novel in the shadows of the gun-toting soldiers. The book introduction clears up certain doubts due to the extreme graphical representation of Islamic symbols with violence; the book is actually an attempt to unify and re-ignite the patriotic sentiment in India and not a controversy stirring the hornet’s nest. I think the cover could have been a little more sensitive with the representation so yes, don’t judge the book by its cover, judge it by its introduction.
About the Author
The author VT Rakesh is from Kerala who has grown up fostering the typical Indian dream in a typical Indian setup amid all the cricket frenzy in rural India. He also has a typical Indian B Tech degree and a typical Indian MBA and is now working for a typical Indian private company. What is not so typical about him is that he is a fan of Marquez’s work and has read stuff written by Tharoor and Nilekani. All the authors had a journalistic/ contemporary theme to them and that influence clearly shows in his work.
About the book
The book is written in a monologue of the protagonist who goes through a whirlwind of emotions travelling across India on a brave journey. Food, cricket and all things Indian are liberally sprinkled across the book to make it a delicious read. One thing I am impressed with is the quality of writing. Especially the parts relating to Kerala are good and understandably so. The book has a good pace, a tight plot, all the elements of a neat story and also kicks up memories of one’s childhood as it has everything is relatable to one’s own recollections. I did not expect the book to be as good as I had judged it by its introduction so, I stand corrected. Do not judge a book by anything, not even what I say about it.
The book’s target audience is the average, young Indian aware citizen who watches news, is proud of Indian culture and heritage; if romance and light comedies which do not require much thought are your genre, do not pick this one up but if you’ve a penchant for current events and are socially active and aware on the political news and are a proud Indian, pick it up. Due to the simplistic writing style, the book does not take much time to finish. You can finish the 170 pages read in less than three hours based on your speed.
About the drawbacks, I’d say the predictability of the plot and the fact that the book could have been given a more memorable title. Also, the language is quite crisp at certain places, it is highly uneven as if written by two different people. You can find good expressions interspersed with silly typographical errors (eg. C’mon becomes common) and you do tend to ignore those errors but they are necessary to point out. Also the North-South syntax variation is clearly visible and the few Hindi dialogues that exist in the book have South Indian way of spelling. I don’t think a Rajasthani would like Daal Baati to be called Daal Baathi.
All in all a good read and I’d rate it highly only because of all the food and the thrill with its distinct Indianness. Also, this genre has a lot of scope.
My rating- *** (3 out of 5)