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November 21, 2011

Book Review - 58 : The Reverse Journey


Author: Vivek Kumar Singh
Publisher: Frog Books

This is a story about a young man faced with a decision - to follow his heart or brain. The heart wants happiness in India, among his family, friends and people who are like him. His brain wants money - without it what security does he have? All his friends are relocating to the USA. He feels isolated. And so he decides to follow 'the rat race'. He travels to America. Will the journey to a foreign land bring happiness? Will money be the answer to his prayers? Or will he finally realise that true joy is the sense of belonging?

Reverse Journey is one of those books where author is not sure which tone is suitable to take forward the narrative. So it becomes autobiographical when the author starts narrating own experiences while becomes a fiction when he decides to throw in a love story. As a result, it ends up being a mixture of awkward plot-points, cringing dialogues and clunky transitions. What finally manages to stay with you is the detail with which the author has penned down the minute details about living away from the country, adjusting to the new culture, momentarily forgetting your own and hypocrisy of Indians when subjected to racist remarks.

The book is thought provoking, delving deep into the psyche of Indians abroad or who move abroad after living for a substantial time in India. The author manages to capture the small nuggets of life abroad sincerely, but fails to enthuse any kind of reliability to the characters. Yes, you can relate to them at human level but all of them are written with flat note and hardly any variation, that in the end it fails to enthuse you.

I am going with 2/5 for Vivek Kumar Singh's 'The reverse journey'. It makes some pertinent points about brain-drain and living away from India but it is so poorly structured and told with flat narrative, that it will leave you with an empty feeling. How you wish author showed a little restraint and properly-laid straight storytelling to complement very competent thoughts about his journey.

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