Looking for Love?

June 28, 2013

Book Review - 127 : Love is Vodka, A Shot Ain't Enough

[This review is part of Reader Cosmos Book Review Initiative]

Author : Amit Shankar
Publisher : Vitasta Publishing

If love is all about freedom and honest expression then how can one associate it with loyalty?

Being a love child; Moon, the protagonist is anything but a conventional teen. With a leading TV news anchor as her mother, an aspiring entrepreneur as her boy friend, the word LOVE baffles her. The whole idea of having one partner and love being eternal is beyond her comprehension. Life turns upside down when she falls for the CEO, who happens to be her mother's boyfriend too. Destiny further complicates things by blessing her with a big time modelling assignment and she becomes famous and popular overnight.

A war starts waging between her head & heart on a lot of issues exposing her to various forms of love online & offline. Will she decipher the true meaning of love? 

The book starts briskly and maintains an even pace and a youthful tone to introduce Moon, the main character but towards the latter half slides down into an incoherent mess which is neither engrossing nor frustrating. It just becomes a drab. Most of this has to do with the fact that author hardly develops any layer to other characters and hence, their interaction with Moon become plain ordinary.

Author takes quirky ideas like PCOD to show the difficult times for Moon but problem is, these things are introduced at a superficial level for a shock point of view and quickly forgotten. We never get to see a true sense of betrayal and distrust feeling from Moon, rather the narrative hops from one plot point to another without investing sufficiently into the emotional depth the central protagonist is uncovering in her personal life.

I am going with 2/5 for Amit Shankar's 'Love is Vodka'. It does point out certain viable questions about love and lust, but in the end provides very little answers to either the central character nor to its readers. A disappointing read from an author who promised much with his earlier two titles.

June 24, 2013

Under the Banyan Tree

'Under the Banyan Tree' publishes real life stories that reaffirm the faith that our world is a better place to live. Everyday stories that help us heal, motivate and foster humanity across religions and geographical boundaries. Stories that underline the power of sacrifice, sharing and innovation for furtherance of a larger good of our society.

I have contributed a write-up for this. You can read the whole post here on the website.

And yes, feel free to vote for the post and share your feedback/comments.

June 7, 2013

Book Review - 126 : Shoes of the Dead

Author : Kota Neelima
Publisher : Rain Light / Rupa Publications

Crushed by successive crop failures and the burden of debt, Sudhakar Bhadra kills himself. The powerful district committee of Mityala routinely dismisses the suicide and refuses compensation to his widow. Gangiri, his brother, makes it his life’s mission to bring justice to the dead by influencing the committee to validate similar farmer suicides.

Keyur Kashinath of the Democratic Party—first-time member of Parliament from Mityala, and son of Vaishnav Kashinath, the party’s general secretary—is the heir to his father’s power in Delhi politics. He faces his first crisis; every suicide in his constituency certified by the committee as debt-related is a blot on the party’s image, and his competence.

The brilliant farmer battles his inheritance of despair, the arrogant politician fights for the power he has received as legacy. Their two worlds collide in a conflict that pushes both to the limits of morality from where there is no turning back. At stake is the truth about ‘inherited’ democratic power. And at the end, there can only be one winner.

Soaked in the reality of villages, the narrative keeps you engrossed and provides a rich insight into politics of farmers suicide and an almost inhuman approach to desensitize such a appalling issue. Most of the characters may bounce off as too intellectual or politically obsessed with the details but the writer knows the material well and in all probability, as a reader you are ready to delve deeper into these notes to grasp an understanding of their trials and tribulations.

There are hard hitting thoughts on the Indian diaspora and punchy one liners to keep you on line with the critical theme of the story. It also helps that the author does not take a moral stance on the issue and keeps alternating between different point of views punching in both sides of the coin. It does border on giving a moral lecture in the form of rural reportage but in an overall context provides a deeper understanding of the complexities of Indian rural scene.

It raises uncomfortable questions on the plight of farmers conditions and a hope of a nation to do something about them even after 60 odd years of independence. In the end, it is also fight of a one man army among corrupt politicians, slimy bureaucrats and hefty village henchmen. It is a tale of hope, moral judgement and evolution of arguably, the bread winner class of India. The writer blends these critical issues with aplomb and sensitivity.

The book gives a deeper understanding of the rural politics and a great insight into the rigmarole of the farmers suicide. I am going with 4/5 for Kota Neelima's 'Shoes of the Dead'. A little shorter in length would not have hurted it but in its current form, it is a one time startlingly provoking parable from rural India.

PS: This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!