Gosh, this month has been busy, busy, busy…long days and long nights making up for all the fun I had this last month. But, still managed to get in a good amount of reading. What I have been unable to do is log and review all the books I read…so you can expect a bunch of long-pending reviews coming up shortly. Apologies to all you great writers whose books are in my reading/review queue, I am reading them, and will be reviewing them shortly.
One of the first books I picked up this year was A Metro Nightmare by Shiv Kumar. This is his debut novel, and his choice of subject is refreshingly different.
The story starts off with a mysterious suicide. A lovely young girl jumps in front of a passing train, leaving behind a suicide note saying that she has killed her husband. The police in charge now have to investigate her death, and try to find her dead husband.
As the investigation proceeds and more details emerge about the life of the dead girl’s husband, it becomes a love story chronicling an inter-caste love affair. In the process, the story talks about the social issues of our day – conflict between generations, people struggling to develop an identity of their own in a world where engineers/IAS officers/IPS officers are the creme de la creme and the rest just struggle along.
My thoughts on the book:
This is a surprisingly good read. I loved the way the book is structured, the easy way it moves from one chapter to the next, the way the suspense is built. I even liked the surprise ending, normally I don’t like surprises at the end of the book … but here I do. I loved the character development – no heroes or heroines here…just a pair of normal-in love couples trying to navigate their way through life.
There is a faint autobiographical feel to this book, and that only intrigued me further. I mean, we have all read ghastly tragedies in the newspapers about honor killings (where brothers and parents of the girl kill her and her lover if they don’t approve of the relationship), and suicides on railway tracks. This book provides a little peek into what could have gone wrong for people to resort to such violent ends. Did the writer himself face such a situation? Obviously, his life story has a happy ending :).
Couple of things that could be better:
- The book could have been better edited to remove a little of the preachy monologues that slow the pace of the book somewhat.
- The printing quality of the book could also be a little better.
Apart from these nit-picks, I liked this book a lot.
Thanks very much to Shiv Kumar for sending me a review copy, and for being so patient about this delayed review.