Wednesday, 20 June, 2007

Local (Jaideep Varma)

As good a first book as The Kite Runner is what came to my mind just after I finished it.

For those who have travelled the Mumbai way, it's a great nostalgia trip. And for those who haven't yet, a close substitute.

If you are expecting Local (short for local trains that run in suburban Mumbai) to be a coffee table book in prose recounting interesting train journeys, then wait till the power of the narrative hits you and you get hooked on till the finish.

I thought the author has tackled the 'fleshing out' of the characters bit, in a really amazing manner, away from the main plot and yet retaining the flow.

The author's observation of people, habits, mannerisms, the hollow world of advertising, the napalm-bombed, oxygen-less life of the central character is so real it socks you in the stomach and you can't help but identify with the pain, long after you've emerged out of the book.

To write more would be injustice and any less, even more so.

Powerful stuff.

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