The Mystery Mountains by Aurijit Ganguli – Book Review

The Mystery Mountains by Aurijit Ganguli is a mysterious book, different from the common murder mystery novels. It is not a murder mystery, first of all. And secondly, it is a book that is fiction from its face, but its core contains the elements of a non-fiction book. Why did I say so? To present a detailed and authentic version, authors of non-fiction books go over the selected subjects with a fine-tooth comb before they write and publish their books. The theme demands so. However, do you know any author who does painstaking research for a fictional work? I guess the name of Ashwin Sanghi should come to your mind if you read Indian English fiction regularly! However, make room for one more name in this category of authors from India, Aurijit Ganguli. He has done quality research before his first book came, The Shambala Sutras. He has done the same before his second, the most recent, publication – The Mystery Mountains. Though the comparison between Ashwin Sanghi and Aurijit Ganguli might appear a bit bland to many who observe Indian English fiction, you should read Aurijit’s novels first. You will, then, surely agree with the enthusiasm.

The book has four prominent characters who drive the story and make it move forward at a steady pace to the end. The author has given them vivid backgrounds. Lisa is a chef, Arjun is a botanist and Marcos and Miguel are anthropologists and archaeologist. Where Arjun and Lisa are in their thirties, Miguel is a retired professor and Marcos happened to be his younger brother and still working with the University of Sydney, Australia. Each of them is thorough in their disciplines and together they make a perfect team to resolve a mystery designed for them. This vividity of characters brings distinct perspectives throughout the story. It is more like a movie where oddly paired characters are put together by the director and scriptwriters to offer the audience something new, different and entertaining. And, eventually, this combination of characters breaks the monotony that might create a hurdle in your exciting journey. I am sure, it wouldn’t be difficult for you to get along with Lisa, Arjuna, Miguel and Marcos as they are simple, knowledgeable and goal-oriented like many of us.

It is not one or two things in the novel that make it exciting. Aurijit Ganguli has discussed many things in this book that are usually uncommon because of lack of attention. I am glad that the author has genuinely thought about them and presented them before for us. You won’t be prying to know what happens with a character or two at the end like you might have done while reading contemporary thriller fiction. Here, The Mystery Mountains offers the readers a chance to know the antediluvian tribe living in the distant landscape, far from the city life. The novel also provides the readers with an opportunity to think about our existence from a few different perspectives that we could seldom have worked out on our own… well, that is why the world needs novelists from time to time! The storyline takes the readers to meet ‘Uros or Uru’ from the region of Lake Titicaca near Puno. Marcos and Miguel are descendants of this tribe. As we move in the story, the author has introduced some different and unique species of plants (at least I have heard about them for the first time) to give it an angle of Botany as Arjun is a botanist. The further layers of the novel reveal the Neanderthals, an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans. Besides this, it talks about people with higher consciousness and Vaman Avtaar of Lord Vishnu. The book also draws the lines of connection between Indian history, mythology, and religious beliefs with the same in other parts of the world. With this, the author has involved the spiritual perspectives in the book in a manner that’s not conventional. Last but not the least, anthropology and archaeology are at the centre of the storyline.

Lastly, The Mystery Mountains draws its inspiration from high values of Mythology, Theology and Ecology. The author’s writing style, composition and narration style take a rather classical approach in describing every possible detail. The language is simple, coupled with a writing style that every reader can understand and enjoy. He believes readers should not only connect with the characters but with the context and content too. Although simple in style, the intriguing plot and sub-plots of the novel challenge readers to figure out ‘what it is’ and ‘how it is, using the clues the author drops in frequently before the story ends.

Moreover, the book tries not only to engage readers with the help of an intriguing story but also to connect them to the times they could not live in the past. Aurijit offers the readers a tour into the past through this book. It is amazingly awesome. I will recommend this book to the readers who seriously want to enjoy an excellent fiction book that offers entertainment and information together.

You can get a copy of this novel from Amazon India by clicking the link below.

Get a copy – Amazon India (click here)

 

Review by Devendra for The Book Blog

Before you criticise Chetan Bhagat (again) for his writing style or lack of literary qualities, think – the thought

Slandering Chetan Bhagat is one thing everyone loves to do. This act does not come out of merit. Criticising someone on facts is an ideal thing to do. Many do it. However, slandering someone without knowing the work is a job that tells how frustrated some people are!

I am not defending Chetan Bhagat. I am not defending his poor writings. I am not telling people should read him. This article intends to hold a mirror to those ready with daggers without knowing the hole to dig. Yes, Chetan Bhagat is a novelist who works on the same framework. However, have you read any of his works? Have you ever tried to discover why does he do so?

Traditional readers and book reviewers in India, in general, are always against anything that Chetan writes. They do have the right to do it. However, what is the reason behind Chetan Bhagat working on the same themes time and again? Many research scholars have tried to bring different aspects behind Chetan’s fictional craft. Some papers explore the wide range of social issues that the author fuses with local themes in his novels. Why do research scholars bother to work on an author whom the world belittles?

Chetan Bhagat rose to fame on the horizon of Indian English literature unexpectedly. While there may be debates on this phenomenon, no one can deny it happened. His novels are shallow, without literary richness, and one-time-read. However, if you get into the depths of the themes of Chetan’s novels, it will be a surprising discovery. This author has tried to portray the issues that the population of the time faces day in and day out. Relationships, love, friendship, job, frustration, dreams, heartbreak, break-up, hook-up, one-night stand, sex, movies, politics and governments – things that synchronise with the thoughts of today’s generation feature in the works of Chetan Bhagat. Traditional authors, conventional critics, and intelligent book reviewers may dislike these things. However, readers do love reading Bhagat’s novels. And that is why he is immensely successful today!

Yes, you can find faults in his style. He writes with an intention to keep his works bereaved of literary riches. He brings drops language to a level that we can call sordid. His novels are dry and singular. And there are other things that we can hold against the novelist. However, one has to substantiate these arguments with evidence. If you do that, you are a critic of repute. If you do that because others did so, you are not a critic in good faith!

We should not forget one more point about the novels of Chetan Bhagat. His writing style (simple, otherwise) has created the space for authors who write anything they like. Writers like Nikita Singh, Durjoy Datta, Ravinder Singh, and many others have followed the tracks made by Chetan Bhagat on his way to success. No one can deny it!

At last, before we tend to criticise someone, we should ideally look for all the possible ways to substantiate the criticism. Otherwise, we become a part of the gathering, knowing nothing about anything and pretending to know everything!

All the best!

 

by Alka for The Book Blog

The Moon Wolf by Sanjana Kanamarlapudi – Book Review

The best thing about this novel is that it has been written by an author who is very young, talented and who does have a vision for the ideal children’s literature. Once you start reading The Moon Wolf, Sanjana Kanamarlapudi’s latest fictional book, you will understand the statement in the very first line conveniently. The novel has all the essential elements that fuse together to craft an ideal book for young readers. Written by a young author as well, The Moon Wolf will get special treatment from the readers as well as book critics, I am sure.

The novel has very favourable ratings and reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as on the popular book review websites in India and globally. And it is no coincidence because the novel does have a certain appeal about it. Novelists often try to put entertainment above anything else in their novels even if they are writing for children. However, Sanjana Kanamarlapudi had her priorities sorted and she has tried to balance between acts of motivation as well as instances of entertainment. It is a story consisting of wolves, their struggles, conflict with humans and a web of assassination plots, battles and prey-predator games. Everything changes with Moony, a wolf supposedly came from the moon, mysterious and magical, strong and able, friendly and fierce… I must admit that the novelist has done her best in creating this protagonist that’s inspirational and ideal for the roles ascribed to it.

The Moon Wolf is for children who are in their early primary sections, children in their early teens and anyone with an interest in fantasy novels, fiction involving animal kingdoms and novels about magical powers, myths and legends. Yes, at the core, you will certainly find a drive that will essentially appeal to the young audience only. However, the novel has certain elements that make it different, adds to its depth and help it stand out among many other novels. Sanjana’s novel has different layers in the storyline, one is about the curiosity of the protagonist itself, Moony looking for its origins and one is about the curiosity of the readers, whether Moony will be successful in leading the pack of wolves to a victory in the war against Grey’s Dark Pack. This makes things interesting.

The Moon Wolf, as a novel, excels because it does not rely merely on any one issue or idea. It has Moony, the hero. It has Grey, the villain. It has the secret prophecy of someone from the Moon and it has the regular day job involving training, leadership and preparation for the battle to come. The novel also has negotiations and compromises, mitigation and political ties. Everything in the novel is tightly connected and the author has not left space for loopholes, as it appears after the first reading. However, critically, the novel may find itself in want of a little more depth in the development of characters and 2-3 more characters from each side, if developed, could have added more to the overall appeal of the novel. Nevertheless, in its current form, the novel will surely attract readers and will make for a day spent well in the life of children and lovely young readers. So, if you are thinking about a gift for someone’s birthday around, do consider a copy of this brilliant novel!

Buy the novel from Amazon – click here

 

Review by Nishant for The Book Blog

Centripetal by Rohit Shukla – Book Review

Some novels are to be read within hours and some are to be read first few chapters and left alone for good of everyone! However, there are the novels that we like to read but, somehow, cannot finish it in one go and we have to take breaks, come back again, start reading and take another break if necessary. Centripetal by Rohit Shukla is one of the latter. A reader must want to accept the challenge and keep reading to the end but the complexity of the text does not allow it to be done in one simple go. The layers of the storyline and angles with which the plot can be interpreted are many… The author has fused various timelines, various styles of narrative, various devices to distract the readers from the major course of action… and thus, Rohit Shukla has almost succeeded in keeping his readers engaged to the text and divorced from the facts that he wants to keep secrets hidden… till the last!

There are a few major characters in the novel and they appear in a sequence. Once we are exposed to all the major characters in the novel, flashbacks and daydreams take us to major episodes that readers should ideally know. There are songs and music in the background and the narrator, who is unknown, is very careful in setting the scenes and telling the readers of every minute detail before the action begins. The language might be crude sometimes but it perfectly synchronizes with the flow of the text and the characters who are uttering those words. Yes, the characters develop very nicely and readers will certainly have curiosity about certain characters and their history, present and even future.

Centripetal, as the name explains, does not display any characteristic that might lead the readers to believe that all the actions lead to one central goal. Every character in the novel have their separate goals and they are busy achieving the same. One is longing to be coupled again with his love and vice versa and another character is eagerly making sure that his writing comes to life… yes, a struggling author. Another one tries to make a living and keeps himself up doing the same. All characters somehow come across each other on different occasions and on those occasions only, major actions in the novel take place.

I truly appreciate such works of fiction by modern Indian authors. This is mainly because we need to come out of the cocoons of simply-read starter novels that have a lead female and a male character and that’s done. No, we need to get out of the teenage romance phase and authors like Rohit will certainly pose challenges in front of other young authors to think about something new… something beyond the usually selling semi-juvenile love stories that may attract the teenage readers for an hour or so. Centripetal, as a novel, will not let the readers rest for a while unless a resolution is met and this is what an author should aim for.

On the other hand, it should also be taken care of that authors do not cross all the limits of textual and contextual unity and make the text entirely unreadable or out of the ambits of comprehension of the readers. At some points in Centripetal, Rohit might have overdriven the plot to the blank spots that might lose the grip of the readers’ attention and the accumulated interest that comes running in the previous pages might be lost in a flash. That is something many readers might experience in the course of the novel.

At last, reading this novel will surely be an interesting job for many readers and I wish them the best! You can get a Kindly copy from Amazon India and start reading the novel right away. It is not costly as well! Click the link below to get a copy right now.

Buy the novel from Amazon – click here

 

Review by Nishant for The Book Blog

Sudipta Roy, an emerging novelist, brings back the concept of an ideal narrative – an analysis

Many authors have emerged in India and many have ripped the rewards of their very first books. Getting into the details might not be necessary as we are here to learn about a new author, a novelist who is emerging with his splendid narrative and his debut novel has made certain fans. I will mainly focus on the writing style, philosophy, narrative and the art of fiction that distinguishes him from the rest of the contemporary novelists in India or, at least, puts him on a different pedestal among the Indian authors who are looking to make space for themselves. For the book review of his debut novel, A Dumb’s Story, you can visit platforms like Indian Book Critics or Literature News or The Last Critic.

Style: Sudipta Roy has begun his story with an ordinary set-up depicting an extraordinary young man braving the challenges of life and excelling at every front securing a good job for himself, making wealth, friends, luxuries and also a girlfriend. However, one bad habit brings him down to nothing as cancer gets his tongue and he is rendered dumb… a critical reader can observe a pattern in the writing. And then, starting with rising and continuing in a fall, the protagonist rises again to do something for others rather than himself. So, a traditional style and equipped with modern linguistics usage will help modern readers to stay connected with the storyline. The author has tried his best to stay in the loop with word selections, sentence formation and length of the chapters. However, at times, the length parameter does get out of sync and readers might feel otherwise. The author is not looking for a readers’ version of the novel and conclusion and he has gone with his artistic intuition and I feel he has been able to add more value by doing so.

Thoughts and Philosophy: Once you read his very first novel, you will feel that the novelist has tried to offer something new, even though it’s traditional. The names of the characters, the names of places, the chapters and major episodes… everything suggests something. Readers will not only like but also admire the philosophy once they connect with it. It is not new in Indian English writing, I must say. However, it is rather rare in modern Indian English fiction and the author has to be admired that he could come up with such thoughts and still manage to keep his storyline very close to youthful ambitions and ideas. A social worker, a politician, a reformer… the multiple facets in the personality of Nairit, the protagonist, also depicts the vivid thought lines that Sudipta can continue in one single fiction and yet not lose a bit… well-done!

Expectations & Future: Into the future, I do fancy this author bringing more delight and entertainment to the readers of serious fiction. Yes, I believe that authors like Sudipta produce serious fiction and they can still manage to bring modern and traditional, casual and alert and all the binary opposite class or cluster of readers together. He has been able to manage many things in the novel that come together to create the ideal fiction and make an impact upon the readers that’s useful, entertaining and also furthering… anyone who reads this novel will ask, answer and discuss…

All the best to the readers and the author as well!

 

Ashish for The Book Blog

Cross Connection by Preety Praveen – Review

Romance has become a regular genre in India and many authors tend to begin their writing journey with the same. However, only a few novels are able to offer entertainment, something beyond to be remembered by the readers and something really meaningful. One such novel that was published in 2019, towards the end, recently attracted my attention and I read it. Cross Connection, written by Preety Praveen, an author and a poet, is about, more or less, a campus love story that goes beyond the campus and also promises a next episode of the same story in the form of a new novel. Though it might sound similar when you hear campus, love story and a couple, the novel is different in nature, tone and content.

Cross Connection, the title, aptly justifies the storyline of the novel. A girl from Punjab and a boy from Kerala, different cultural and social backgrounds, different aims and ambitions and even attitudes, however, the couple comes together (though in weird situations after initial confusions, anger and feuds). This coming together of Simar, the female protagonist and Naveen, the male protagonist, is the meat of the story that one needs to find out… and believe me, the novel gives you every reason to read it. While recapitulating her own story (and her husband’s), the novelist has been very vocal, honest and straightforward about the events, sequence of episodes, and the results. Though a little bit of fictional environment is necessary for any novel to be able to contain the readers, the novel still smells realism in plenty and you will find that.

Preety’s style and the narrative that she has used have been simple, straightforward and a little hurried. She seems to walk the readers through the episodes of her life at the campus as a medical undergraduate quickly. However, after the entry of emotions, the story walks at a normal pace and readers will enjoy it. Though the novel has been written in a third-person narrative, it seems that Simar is narrating the story herself because it is written more from the female protagonist’s perspective.

Cross Connection entertains the readers, no doubt. It does not bring unnecessary sensuality to the fore in order to keep the readers excited and indulged. It is a clean tale of a love story that is born out of emotions and continues to be so. Family, society, her, his, their and our perspectives are involved as the love story furthers towards union and a kind of seriousness is always there amid fun and entertainment. Thus, it can be said that the novel offers something to every kind of reader – women readers will like to know about emotions that overpower when you fall in love, men would like to know how did the man from Kerala, who lost his father at an early age, manage to introduce the love of his life to his mother, youths would like to know the funny episodes on the campus that bring these protagonists together. A packed piece of contemporary fiction!

You can get a copy of Cross Connection from Amazon: click here to buy

 

Review by Anand for The Book Blog