Author: Smruti Mohanty
Publisher: Frog Books
The Engineering Train, writer's debut novel is an allegorical fiction. To put it mildly, that is just a market positioning stunt and an attempt to place yet another 'campus tale' in the guise of a literary gimmick. In fact, it does worse for its readers as it turns out to be neither allegory nor fiction in its entirety. It dangles somewhere in between, interspersing philosophical BS with a random love story in an engineering college in Gunupur.
There is nothing new in showing the good, bad, ugly side of the youth which has been clattered in every second book in the market. Randomly going through each of the routine portions while studying in a college -friends, booze, panga with teachers, placements and love-turned-lust story; it all sounds so familiar. It could have still worked if it concentrated more on the characterization of these college graduates but i guess that is the last thing you should expect from a book which never takes itself serious enough to bother about the basics of writing. As writer claims, 'a simple story of a common man needs to be told in a common language'. That, my friend, is indeed not an easy task.
I am going with 1/5 for Smruti Mohanty's 'The Engineering Train'. It is neither funny nor original. I cannot recall one point which made me think or feel engaged. It is a serious test of your endurance level. Read it if you must.