“that thing called LOVE”: A Promise Broken

Well… when I took up this book “that thing called LOVE”, I was very eager to read it and to find out what biwi had found so exciting about it. The fact that the author, Tuhin Sinha, is from my college and biwi’s hometown created an immidiate bond with him. I expected a lot from a novel that promised a story about an obssessive lover, a hopeless womaniser, a jilted marriage, an adulterous woman, a call girl, a gay and above all Mumbai monsoons.

I won’t say that they were not there but the shame is that even with such great ingredients, all that the author could cook was a khichdi and not biryani. There are a lots of issues with the narrative and style. The book progresses in a haphazard way with no coherance to the timeline. The characters have a lot of emotional baggages and are not built strongly. I, for my part, never found myself identifying with any of them. The protagonist is an irritating, stubborn, overgrown kid, whom I started hating as the book progressed.

The only good thing about the novel is its core plot which is enticing and binds you to the book. The fast pace of the novel makes it good for a one night read. I think the author has deliberately cut down on vivid explanations in order to save on the count of words. But then he had missed the very essence of a novel and has created a screenplay for a 1.5 hrs movie. Novel reading is a serious and leisurely business, and the author seems to have seen more movies than read books in his life time.

A lot of amateurishness is shown in the book and you may forgive the author considering its his debut work. There is a constant bragging of the brand names that the author knows. It gradually becomes the case of a lower-middle class guy is trying to vocalise his knowledge about name-brands. I dunno about u guys, but I find it embarrasing to read that Provogue and Tuscan Verve are the only “upscale” brands that the author knows of. Also, why would you care if the protagonist drives a “Hero Honda Splendor”, that too if you are told in such a nonchalant way in the first para of the novel.

I already had a long discussion with biwi regarding these shortcomings and I don’t want to go around bashing the author anymore but I was totally dissapointed with the way that he had given up a perfect storyline and an oppurtunity to write a booker winning novel to create a very mediocre and commercially viable one. I think that his conditioning as a script writer for the TV serials had influenced him a lot. The book is a very big promise broken down by the comercialising tendencies of the increasingly capitalistic world.

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