Looking for Love?

September 24, 2012

Book Review - 94 : Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake

Author : Preeti Shenoy
Publisher : Ebury Press

'Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake' deal with Nisha and his broken marriage with Samir who unexpectedly announces the end of their eight year long relationship. Nisha is left with two kids and an unknown future. She struggles to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life from scratch. As she see-saws through a series of emotions and feelings of pain and rejection, she finds Akash, an old friend, standing next to her through her dark days. Can Nisha build a new life with Akash or has her broken marriage put off her love life forever?

Neatly written and a not-so-unpredictable story, the book captures your imagination with the sincerity of the characters and the simplicity with which writer puts down the conversations with the lead pair. 
A high point in the book was brought by the balance writer shows in portraying the relationships. This could have easily become those extreme, male bashing & feminist novels, but thankfully the stereotypes are at least half broken. The "we-want-kids-or-not" conversation between Nisha and Samir are heart wrenching, so does the portions about Nisha regarding ability to find your true professional strengths in the matter of adversity. No doubt, the character of Akash is painted with broad strokes with that "Mr. Perfect" Outlook but since it is etched out with love and a rare tenderness, you are ready to forgive the drawbacks.

I am going with 3/5 for Preeti Shenoy's 'Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake'. Within the realms of adult Indian fiction, it is a book which will leave you with a feeling of satisfaction. 

September 18, 2012

Book Review - 93 : The Reluctant Detective

Author : Kiran Manral
Publisher: Westland Publications

Sometime writers start off with a good idea, but get completely lost during the execution. Kiran Manral 'The reluctant detective' is one such instance. The book is about a typical Mumbai Suburban housewife, Kanan Mehra bored with a routine life, looking for a purpose in life beyond kitty parties and shopping. She is a young mother, who is very curious about things that she should be avoiding at any cost. When she finds a couple of quick successive murders taking place in her neighborhood, her curiosity gets the better of her and she makes a team with Runa, her nosy neighbour and detective friend, in an attempt to find the murderers.

I know for a fact that when this book first came out, it was pitched as a breezy murder mystery to be solved by a housewife, which on paper and a pager-summary may have sounded a terrific idea, but the execution delves on plain boring and borderline, ridiculous. The author can't seem to decide what to do with this story line - should this be a tight murder mystery or just a coming of age story of an individual who finds herself in unusual circumstances. 

We do get the point that one should not get involved in the matters of others, specially when you have little knowledge of the details but this is hammered with such languorous pace and insipid dialogues that i found it difficult to complete the book.It does not work as a mystery neither it works as diary entry of a bored housewife. There aren't any surprises and only time you stays with the character of Kanan is when she is with her husband trying to work out some kind of coherent solutions.  

I am going with 1.5/5 for Kiran Manral's 'The Reluctant Detective'. You can see the talent and the scope of the writer in the book, in the end it is just an experiential read which has gone wrong. Read it at your own risk.

September 12, 2012

Book Review - 92 : How I Braved Anu Aunty & co-founded a Million Dollar Company

Publisher : Rupa & Co.
Author : Varun Agarwal

'How i braved Anu Aunty and Co-founded a Million Dollar Company' is entrepreneur and author Varun Agarwal's story who is an alumnus of the Bishop Cotton Boy's School, and the co-founder of Alma Mater (a website dealing with school memorabilia). The story is straight forward, reiterating the theme of following your dreams even when a pushy Anu Auntie is all set to thwart your professional ambitions when they are just taking shape to fly off.

The book is a breezy read with SMS lingo and cuss words thrown in like a routine. The pace is brisk and even though it does get preachy by those "in-liners about entrepreneurship , the basic motivation of penning down the book remain with you. How you should not give up after initial hiccups of starting your own company, how a small idea can be made big if due diligence is done and how one needs to follow the heart at all times, yet be ruthless in the competition.

It completely helps that even though some of the incidents may be fictionalized, most scenes are straight out of real life and duly inspired from author's own experiences of setting up this company which is valued at over million dollars. However, the book has little to dwell on the partner Rohan Malhotra efforts in taking forward this venture and that to me stuck out like a big sore thumb.

I am going with 3/5 for  Varun Agarwal's debut novel. It is a fast read, just don't delve too much into looking for any textures or subtleties. Enjoy it for what it was intended to be, one time read to allow you to think about entrepreneurship, nothing more.

September 6, 2012

Book Review - 91 : Ten Days

Author : Azharuddin
Publisher : General Press

Caught in the carnage Down Under in Australia, Zeeshan Akhtarlies wrecked when Amanda Stewart comes to his rescue. She peels off slowly each layer of his life to make him realize his shortcomings,loopholes, desires and dreams during the casual repartee they exchange and which act as his life saviour.

Zeeshan, after ten days of vital rehabilitation and recuperation, flies off to India forever to the love of his life and his family without whom he feels incomplete. He, however, leaves Amanda back in Australia, gifting her feeling of eternal incompleteness as she had fallen in love for the first time unluckily with an extraterrestrial like Zeeshan. Tried as she might have been, she is unable to express her personal feelings in front of him nor she is able to do so behind him.

You would think that the author tried to get a lot ahead of himself with this novel and almost write this off as a cliche, but you couldn't be more surprised. The story is more about Zeeshan's self-discovery, with the backdrop of the Australia attacks but the whole matter is written with heavy hand, almost trying too hard to fit in everything and ultimately misses the point big time.

The biggest issue is the story here which is as flat as Kareena Kapoor's stomach and is hardly gripping. The back cover encapsulates all the turns and twists, so you would wonder why there is a need to read the book at all. Racism is a big issue which requires sensitivity and detailing to make a good read in the fiction form but it just skims the surface regarding the main issue and concentrates on the love story (which in itself is quite uninteresting).

I am going with 1/5 for Azharduddin's 'Ten Day's. It is written with deathly tone and language reeks of pretentious usage of word. Read it at your own risk!