A book I bought on an impulse. A confluence of factors – a book I was not enjoying, a very conveniently placed Crossword store and most importantly, a chai-shop that allowed customers to read without having to indulge in bad tea. The setting was good, and all that remained to be seen was what I could extract from the book. A habit I am proud of is that I never read the back cover of a book when I buy one. This way, the gravity of the book physically hits me. The book thrills me, cajoles me, talks to me and hurts me. It hurts worst when the book is bad. I’m hurting when I write this review.
Let the last line slide. I was not being completely truthful. The author sells the books in style at the start. I would ruin the reader’s pleasure if I were to indulge myself by revealing the first few pages, so I shall look to leave you with a grosser picture.
The book started with what seemed to be an attempt to immortalize a god in his human form. Excerpts from scriptures were interpreted amazingly well. For someone who’s already heard these extrapolations, there is an amazing set of characters to follow. The author introduces his characters with immense enthusiasm. The book slowly eased into a trot with the characters gaining foothold in the story. The analogy for the nuclear reactors was strategic in placement and stirred expectations on what was to come.
The progress of the book in itself was amazingly good. Humor was not required and was neglected in earnest and it kept the story alive and untainted. Fiction did not gel with the facts as seamlessly as I wanted them to. This was more because it felt as if the author had clay to mould an elephant and dealt on all the details in the trunk that he had no clay left for the rest and ended with a snake. Facts were recited like the gayathri mantra on avaniavittam and I ended up leaving a sigh every time words slanted to the right. To me, it was a mammoth task to read Sanskrit in English and it was easier to read the translation. As the book progressed, I found myself lazily skipping to the translations.
The storyline gathered momentum and the forks in the line of thought left me wanting to peek at the last few pages. It was total control on my part that took me till the end. The part I had so dreamed of; the part that actually would have completed the storyline. The author, it would seem, somehow wanted to incorporate one particular line of thought in his book and it just blew the whole storyline to smithereens. It was so disjoint that it seemed unfair to piss off such a nice story into this end. His though for the ending was good indeed, but it did not fit the story one bit.
I would suggest the book for my mother.