Title- 60 Minutes
Author- Upendra Namburi
Publisher- Westland Ltd
Genre- Corporate Drama/ Fiction
Price- Rs 350/-
This is a tale of twisted morals, a world of conniving people and cut-throat competition. Upendra, the author is a sales and marketing professional which will be clear by the first few pages into the novel as the language is mostly corporate jargon. He is an engineer and an MBA, seemingly the route to being anything in India these days. He is an evolving blogger and writes for newspapers too, lives in Gurgaon; and is on “his voyage to writing the triumvirate of novels” which have numbers in their names. His first novel 31 was a bestseller.
The book starts off with a neat table of contents like a textbook and displays the 26 chapters with their titles. Every chapter starts with powerful, slightly cheesy prose poetry and the plot races off from the word go. It is not a page turner for those who are uncomfortable with markety stuff and uses terms like ‘selling short’, ‘going long’ profusely. I think the book’s target audience are the finance people and they will actually love the book as the author has not held back in terms of inner politics and the insider stuff.
The characters are layered and flawed- which is beautiful. The character of Maithili comes across as a rather strong one and seems to be the most thrilling character of the book. Agastya is the pivotal character and his adversary Sailesh keeps the thrill alive on the business front as Maithili takes care of the emotional aspect.
The plot is supposedly promised to take place in one hour and is based on the events that transpire in that slot but understandably, there are many flashbacks that help the author make sense of the ongoing turmoil. The flashback is a handy tool that Upendra uses to explain the quirky behaviours as and when they unfold. It also somewhat takes the thrill of guessing away as any answer is possible based on the unknown events of the past which are many. It seems to be too chaotic a world to be true at times.
The writing is crisp, the thrill is present, the characters bring lot of masala to the plate and there is a lot of bush to be beaten around due to the present of many side-characters. There are as many characters in the book as there are workers in an office and sometimes you wish the clutter was a bit less as the names keep on piling up but, this is no “War and Peace” and the read is easy enough.
The pages are crisp, recycled paper; the size of the book is perfect for outdoor reading, the cover art is minimalist and attractive, the city lights paint an apt picture. I finished the book in four days which was a bit longer than expected.
I’d give it 2.5 stars out of 5