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Confessions on an Island

confeConfessions on an Island is the debut novel of Ayan Pal. Published by Readomania, this 2016 novel  is a thriller set in a picturesque island, where  a girl has been held captive. As she grapples to find the reason behind her abduction and captivation, the novel takes us on a journey far and wide across India and into the lives of both the captor and the captive.

What is most interesting about the novel is the narration style. The suspense unfolds in the form of several stories [much like the Russian Matryoshka Dolls, the little dolls that mysteriously appear one after the other from a single doll], stories that the captor and captive tell each other. While the abductor chooses his stories carefully, the girl is left with a bunch of newspapers and the previous story with which she needs to weave a new one while being beaten and abused.  She struggles, like the readers, to make sense of it all, to discover the reason for her captivity, to try and put together plans for escape, wondering what her next punishment is going to be. But the author skillfully keeps her and the readers guessing. As the suspense unfolds, right at the end, you are taken aback. Even till the last story you are left clueless as to where all this is leading to.

As suspenseful as the journey is, even the end takes you by surprise [though you might find it a little bollywoodish with the love angle thrown in ;-)]. While a couple of the stories did leave me a little unimpressed, yet the author deserves appreciation for trying out a new style of storytelling.

ayanWhat I also found interesting was how the author uses the island beautifully as the third angle in the narrative, taking us deep into the minds of both the captive and the captor.

I must however warn you that the abuse and violence at certain instances is very hard hitting. There were parts which grossed me out completely. If that’s what the author aimed at achieving, well, I must say he was successful.

Overall however it’s a worthy debut, fresh and innovative storytelling powered by a fast paced and skillfully woven tale of suspense, this is a roller coaster of a novel, which with it many highs and despite some rare lows, packs quite a punch

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Let us Mock, Stalk & Quarrel

Anupama…captures the essence of the book like no one else…😊😊

AkkaAcerbic

15111089_1167050083364261_1330858925931304118_oA wikipedia would define Satire as a genre of literature in which the vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings of individuals, corporations, government, or society are held up to ridicule, ideally hoping for an improvement. A feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, it’s greater purpose is constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.

We are seeing some solid society churning. In such times, a true writer uses the pen to echo the turmoil around.

Whether it is the gentle mocking at the wax figures who masquerade as role models, 

or the goddesses mulling over festering sores of gender inequalities 

The domestic drivels or the mismanaged familial relationships or the idiosyncrasies of our daily humdrum

When knowledge acquisition suffers a collateral damage as you go chasing degrees, 

When even after 70 years of…

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Have you Mocked, Stalked and Quarreled yet??

img-20161123-wa0016Friends, Indians, countrymen

Lend me thy ears

This Friday, the 25th of November, a very important book is due to be launched

What, you ask is, special about it?

Well, well, I would love to tell you all about it, but Big Brother is watching

It’s a Catch-22 [29 to be precise] situation you see, so I will just tell you that it is a book of satirical tales by 29 wonderful writers

If you wish to know more you need not travel to any Animal Farm, but to the IIFT Campus

You can make it, can’t you? If Gulliver could travel the world, you can surely come to support us

By Jeeves, you can!

So before anyone uses a Magoj-dholai [brainwashing] machine to dissuade you

Mock them away, let laziness not stalk you

I Promise we won’t Quarrel, just entertain you with lots of humour, and maybe shake you up a bit

Your presence will make us feel high up in The Clouds

So come over, we will talk Of Mice and Men and other things under the sun

Did I mention it’s this Friday, November the 25th? No not 1984, 2016 it is!

Stalk us at

download-3

To Mock [with] us, like our Facebook page:

But don’t you Quarrel, we have copies available on Amazon for you to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/dp/9385854267/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479930476&sr=8-1&keywords=Mock+Stalk+and+Quarrel

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Ashvamedha

download-1Ashvamedha – The game of power, is the debut novel of Aparna Sinha. Published in 2016 by Srishti Publishers, Ashvamedha is a political thriller set in present-day India. The story encapsulates the journey of Ashwin Jamwal from his college party office to the corridors of power in Delhi and beyond.

The story starts offs brilliantly, a plane crash in the midst of a desert in Rajasthan which kills the occupant, a Union Minister.  As the television channels play out the breaking news, there is another person apart from the country and the political parties keeping tab on all the news, Hades. The death sets on roll a huge upheaval in the corridors of power, heralding Ashwin Jamwal into the limelight.

Ashwin Jamwal, 30-something, honest,  dashing, social media savvy, smooth-talking, dark glasses sporting PM face of the Nationalistic Party who wants to bring change,  enough to herald him into the seat of power? or maybe not…

Almost parallel to Ashwin runs the story of Hades, a shrewd, anonymous man with a twisted brain, who is planning the destruction of the world or is he?

I must admit that when I picked up the book, I assumed it to be just another political thriller, haven’t we all seen and read enough already? I was wrong however; the author very deftly weaves a nail biting tale with enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged.  Not only is there enough politics at play, but she takes the stakes much higher with an impending virus attack that Jamwal needs to save the world from [her skill lies in making all of it convincing] and amidst all of this she throws in a tale of friendship, loyalty and love, A blockbuster won’t you say? While you might find certain aspects predictable and stereotypical, but she still manages to keep up the suspense till the end.

download-2Though overall the novel is well written, I felt the author wasn’t able to handle some of the twists early on in the novel with as much elan as she does towards the end. Her characters are very well written though, her eye for detail is commendable and helps bring the characters alive in your mind. The last few chapters are especially racy and I was not able to put it down till I finished it.

Do I recommend this book? Ofcourse, who would mind a 30-something dashing Indian Prime Minister, someone who is rumored to be having an affair with the US president [Oh yes, the glass ceiling is finally broken], well that’s what the fictional grapevine says atleast 😉

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A Thousand Unspoken words

downloadA Thousand Unspoken Words is Paulami Dutta Gupta’s 4th novel. Published by Readomania, this 2015 novel, though essentially a love story, is also a poignant tale of courage, idealism, failure and redemption.  Though I read the book a couple of months back this year, this is one review which I kept pushing, afraid that I might not be able to do full justice to its brilliance

The book cover is a beautiful mustard with the half hidden face of the hero and the Hoogly Bridge in the background.  I have a thing for beautiful covers, on many occasions I have picked up a book only because of the cover.  The title is almost poetic but what drew me to the book was the blurb ‘journey of a hero who falls’. The story begins with a miserable Tilotamma wondering where Musafir was. Musafir, a writer, a hero, her hero, who dared to write against the establishment. Nobody knows who Musafir is, nor does Tilotamma, but that does not stop her for being in love with him.

A chance encounter brings her face to face with her Musafir, but she fails to recognise him. Their paths cross again after a couple of years but as Ridhhimaan, the one who despises Musafir as much as she still loves him.

The writer pens a soulful love story taking us deep into the minds of Tilotamma and Ridhhimaan. Just as the idealist Tilotamma is not able to let go of Musafir, Riddhimaan struggles to come to terms with the new he. It becomes not just a story of finding love but also about discovering oneself. Though both Tilotamma and Ridhimaan are flawed and relatable, they are also larger than life. The writer succeeds in creating characters that will stay with you long after the book is over. But do not mistake it to be simply a love story, it is also a scathing take on the convenient communism we see in on display today.

As the story progressed I found myself completely engaged, I felt rage and despair as I saw Ridhimaan moving away from Musafir, I, like Tilotamma hoped that he would sooner or later make his peace with Musafir. As Tilotamma pined away for Musafir, not realising how much she was distancing herself from Ridhimaan, I like Ridhimaan, wondered if she was ever in love with him.  So much so that when the story ends I cannot decide whose side I am on,  Ridhimaan or Tilotamma.

12670274_770122263119715_5437675306764414861_nNot only is it a great story, it is a great read as well. The writing is evocative and engaging, the scenes pan out in front of you as if you are watching a film. The language is lucid and beautiful, the pace just perfect.

This definitely is one of the best books I have read this year and as a little birdie tells me that a sequel is in the making I cannot but wonder if Tilotamma will ever go ‘knocking at Ridhhimaan’s door’

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The Girl Who Loved a Pirate

the-girlThe Girl who loved a Pirate is a 2015 thriller by Kulpreet Yadav. The book is the 2nd in the Andy Karan series, the first being Catching the Departed. The book revolves around Andy Karan, our very own desi Action Hero.  An ex serviceman, the suave and  sharp Andy is the star investigator of New Delhi Today magazine by the day and an undercover agent working for the Government of India at other times.

I had totally loved the first Andy Karan book and so was really looking forward to this one and I must say the author does not disappoint.  What excites me about the series is that we finally have a home grown Jack Reacher a la Andy Karan. If the first one had him investigating a dirty bomb, the 2nd one has him fighting a pirate, yes you heard me right, a pirate!

The story starts with a high voltage pirate attack, the last such adventure for Ba-at, the ‘Pirate of the World’ before he settles down with the ‘only woman he had ever loved’ the beautiful and serene Dao Ming, but fate has other plans in store for him. While Ba-Qat prepares for attack in the Malacca Strait, Andy Karan is summoned by his boss to investigate the Drug Mafia in Goa, which has cost the life of one the reporters of the magazine Andy works for. As Andy heads to Goa little does he know that he would soon cross paths with the “Pirate of the World’ and fall in love with the beautiful Dao Ming.

The novel however takes a little time to warm up. The beginning where Andy is investigating the drug mafia in Goa is a little simplistic, with things falling in place all too quickly. Even Andy does not seem to be in his element and the story moves at a slow pace. But things pick up speed with the introduction of Rupa, the badass, sharp thinking, meticulous planner from NTRO. As she relates to Andy about their secret mission of attacking a North Korean ship off the coast of Goa you know you are in for some adrenalin pumping action and henceforth the author does not disappoint at all. The pace picks up, there is action galore both on land and the high seas and some well put together twists and surprises with just the right dosage of a love story.

kulpreetThe author has written some great action sequences; especially the one where Ba-Qat captures the North Korean ship is nail bitting. The author’s detailing of the entire mission, makes it an extremely interesting read, must say the book is very well researched.

If compared to the last book of the series, this book surely scores high. While in the first one, I found Andy and Monica’s love story forced into the storyline, here the author weaves in the love story beautifully.  ‘Silence is a beautiful story’ and so is his treatment of the love angle. If in the first book the ending seemed a little too simplistic and quick, the climax here is very well put together. He also gives us a glimpse of Andy Karan, the person, through his Prologue and the Manmohan Desai-ish back story of Ba-Qat’s birth gives it that Bollywood touch which makes it a total paisa vasool read