Book Review: – The Bastard of Istanbul : -“An under-cooked likable mess”


3/5 Stars,

“Imagination was a dangerously captivating magic for those compelled to be realistic in life, and words could be poisonous for those destined always to be silenced.” ~Elif Shafak

Once there was, once there wasn’t…….indeed. This book is just like the Turkish dessert ‘Ashure’, a congee made with themes like ‘Humor’, ‘History’, ‘Identity crisis’ & ‘Self discovery’, ‘Nationalism’, ‘Philosophy’, ‘Depredations of the Past’, ‘Armenian- Turkish conflict’, ‘Present day reality’, ‘Family drama’, ‘Magic-realism’ and finally sprinkled with ‘the chaotic beauty of Istanbul’. All mixed together, promising a wonderful flavor, but surprisingly under-cooked, leaving you with a strange longing in the end. Back in 2006, Elif Shafak was still finding her voice in the literary world, this book is full of her probes in different directions, but in her zeal to do justice to all the issues, she fell short of doing it to many.

Goodreads Blurb :-  A novel about the tangled histories of two families. At its center is the “bastard” of the title, Asya, a nineteen-year-old woman who loves Johnny Cash and the French Existentialists, and the four sisters of the Kazanci family who all live together in an extended household in Istanbul: Zehila, the zestful, headstrong youngest sister who runs a tattoo parlor and is Asya’s mother; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as a clairvoyant; Cevriye, a widowed high school teacher; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. Their one estranged brother lives in Arizona with his wife and her Armenian daughter, Armanoush. When Armanoush secretly flies to Istanbul in search of her identity, she finds the Kazanci sisters and becomes fast friends with Asya. A secret is uncovered that links the two families and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres.

This was my second book by Elif Shafak, the first one ‘Forty Rules..‘ post dates this by 3 years. Mrs.Shafak’s propensity to distill down day-to-day life’s philosophies into rules, which took the center stage in “Forty rules of love”, can be seen in this novel too, where some of the characters make up their own little check lists to deal with the world, be it Zeliha’s ‘Rules of Prudence for an Istanbulite woman’, or Asya’s ‘Personal Manifesto of Nihilism’ or the tit-bits of survival Armanoush’s grandmother tried to instill in her. These philosophical dives into the character’s thinking should have resulted in our deep understanding and/or bonding with them, finding common ground perhaps, and although not totally unsuccessful, it lacked the effect it had in ‘Forty rules..’. The problem with character development was (one.) there are a lot of them (two.) despite her tries, she failed to sketch them all in enough detail, within the right time, even at the end of the novel I was discovering new dimensions to them (Specially Aunty Banu).

The book works because it never shies away from the fact that it’s an undecided mess. Never conceding any one theme full control of the plot, and the end chapters were a rush tying it all in a sweet little bow, achieving what exactly? I was left to wonder. This makes it confusing sometimes, one moment you are dealing with the serious issue of Armenian suffering and their search for closure for the 1915 atrocities, the next a rebellious teenager trying to scratch her identity in defiance of her past, in the third you appreciate Istanbul’s complex place in the world and its paradoxical society,  western values with eastern culture, agnostics and believers sharing the same roof, truly the mixture of all the world. I once read a quote somewhere, that if you had just one glance to give the world, gaze on Istanbul. The book though not primarily advocating this, hints heavily on it all the same.

And ahh the food, this was one quirk I enjoyed, all through the novel Turkish and Armenian cuisines have been described in all their glory. Making my stomach growl from time to time, thankfully I had a box of Lokum(Turkish delight) handy, which I popped in my mouth, pretending I was tasting all the dishes mentioned. From watching one of the author’s Ted Talks, I realized that the family dynamics of the Kazanci clan in the book is influenced from her personal experiences, which makes the novel more interesting.

Despite having its faults, I liked reading it. The story is fast paced, and though not satisfactorily resolving the central ‘Conflict’ issue, her advice to the Turks to shed their amnesia and to Armenians their victim-hood is a sound one. An enjoyable little read, which though trying to do much, ultimately fails in some. But its humor was on point, making me chuckle in the right places. So, read this, keeping your expectations in check,  and playing Johnny cash’s songs in the background, something that I am currently engaged in.


Book Review: Midnight’s Furies :- “A Deadly Legacy, Still Alive”

Midnight's Furies

3.5/5 Stars, Death Destruction Disaster

“If India wants her bloodbath, she shall have it!” Mahatma Gandhi to Archibald Wavell, 27th Aug, 1946

It is ironical that the one time, the messiah of peace & non-violence uttered words of carnage, they turned out to be prophetic beyond belief. ‘Partition’… the word has become a synonym for ‘meaningless disaster’ to Indians, and probably for the Pakistani people as well. I have read and seen books, documentaries, featurettes about the ‘Why’, ‘How’, ‘When’ & ‘Who’ of that time, trying to make sense, to find justification for the enormous loss, that both nations suffered, and found none. No apt ideology, no holy war, no past, no explanation to it all, save one, ‘Ambition & Arrogance’. That’s what doomed us.

Goodreads Blurb :- Nobody expected the liberation of India and birth of Pakistan to be so bloody — it was supposed to be an answer to the dreams of Muslims and Hindus who had been ruled by the British for centuries. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi’s protégé and the political leader of India, believed Indians were an inherently nonviolent, peaceful people. Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was a secular lawyer, not a firebrand. But in August 1946, exactly a year before Independence, Calcutta erupted in riots. A cycle of street-fighting — targeting Hindus, then Muslims, then Sikhs — spun out of control. As the summer of 1947 approached, all three groups were heavily armed and on edge, and the British rushed to leave. Hell let loose. Trains carried Muslims west and Hindus east to their slaughter. Some of the most brutal and widespread ethnic cleansing in modern history erupted on both sides of the new border, searing a divide between India and Pakistan that remains a root cause of many evils. From jihadi terrorism to nuclear proliferation, the searing tale told in Midnight’s Furies explains all too many of the headlines we read today.

“History is written by the Victors” and so finding an impartial account of it is nigh impossible. The pages, if written with intent, can be colored any which way, So reading this book was a sobering experience like bathing in cold water. Mr.Nisid Hajari, has tried his utmost to remain neutral, to present the events ‘as is’ and be critical of them as impartially as he could. I am almost thankful that he didn’t use a lot of imaginative writing while describing the massacres. Reading about them in pure statistics was chilling enough, ten’s of thousand of women raped, many thousand children slaughtered, men cut down with indifference, like swatting flies. The Sikhs with their Jathas, The Muslims with their war cries, the Hindu RSSS with their fanaticism, trains dripping with blood and filled with body parts, utter bloodbath. Furies let loose indeed.

The book gets full marks on researching the ‘Indian follies’ for the partition, many a time, the only story told is the one critical of the British (Don’t get me wrong, the lion’s share of the blame does go to them, they were the prime mechanics of the hate that festers across the Indian subcontinent still, though Mr.Nisid Hajari has not delved into that, he has portrayed the Brits as someone who just wanted the job done.), in popular retelling the Indian leaders come across as helpless victims. Not so, though heavily influenced and burdened by the long standing policies and the departing chaos of the Raj, the Indian leaders and their vanity deserves a lot of the blame too. Nehru with his idealism, trying to be the white knight all the time. Patel with his stiffness, Gandhi with his meekness  and of-course none more than the ‘Lucifer’ of the Indian ‘Eden’….Jinnah , the vainest of them all. Each of them with their necks stiff and noses in the air. A cause that they have fought for, for so long together, forgotten in an instant, replaced with the pursuit of deluded fame and personal glory.

A considerable portion of the book is focused on the partition of ‘Punjab’ , and the ensuing riots which happened. The key players behind it all, their attitude, how the insecurities of all the communities were stoked into a fearful frenzy, to the point that they forgot that they have been living with each other for centuries, in relative peace. And it became ‘them’ or ‘us’ that quickly. It also does a good job in explaining the other’s side attitude, the friction between the two regimes has its roots in the tussle of partition. Every little spat between the founding fathers has now bloomed into a full on policy of suspicion and distrust for the two nations. The insurgency in Kashmir and the tussle for territories in the early days of independence, has been covered in quite detail, something lacking in the standard histories.

An interesting read, for any history buff or politics enthusiast, though it does read for the most part as plain History, but I found that a welcome aspect. Something, this volatile should be treated with an analytical attitude, rather than an emotional one. The later, would happen on its own, despite our best tries.


Book Review: – Fahrenheit 451 : -“Everything Burns!”


3.5/5 Stars, Knowledge vs Ignorance ‘El Clásico’

“The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, ‘Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.'” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

It is an exercise in futility to ‘judge’ or ‘review’ a piece of classic literature. It is much more satisfying to just discuss it. The idea that forms the corner stone of this novel is a nightmare for any bibliophile, “reading of Books is a capital offence”, your books along with your house, with you possibly still in it, will be soaked in kerosene and burned to ashes if you are caught. Just imagine that! A future where that might be the law.

The dystopian world of  ‘Fahrenheit 451’ is a profound comment on a great many things, on censorship, free thinking, equality, misuse of technology, pressure of conformity, importance of empathy & of creativity, war, peace, corruption of ideologies, FREEDOM!…. and perhaps many many more. Neil Gaiman in the introduction to the book states that :-

“If someone tells you what a story is about, they are probably right, if they tell you that that is all the story is about, they are probably wrong,”

And I concur, each of us would take an extra lesson from this book, based on us, our experience, our environment and our biases, along with the common ones that are explicitly stated in the book. That’s what classics do don’t they? make you think, sort out confusing thoughts in your head, agree, disagree, like, hate, but they provoke your brain cells to churn out those extra moments pondering, precisely the thing Ray Bradbury preaches about reading I imagine.

Precisely the thing that happens to Guy Montag ‘The fireman’ in the book, the very guy who’s job is to destroy books and fight against all they represent, turns to love and adore them & the ideas and ability they stand for, and is plunged into self doubt by reflecting on his actions and the state of the world for the first time in his life, all because of a chance encounter with a Girl ‘Clarisse’ who walks for pleasure in a world where no one does, who smells the flowers in a world where no one does, who stares at the moon, enjoys an actual conversation, delights in ideas, Cares! in a world WHERE NO ONE DOES.

Each character is a lesson in itself, ( Montag, Mildred, Clarrise, Captain Beatty, Faber ) each lesson an important edict to be passed on to the next generation with a warning tag “Beware!”. Will we ever Get them all I wonder?  Even if we do, will that be enough? It would be a start anyhow, a start is important, very important.

The writing is marvelous though not easy, the story though linear not plain, this book despite being only 180 or so pages ( My version has 249, 70 pages worth of commentaries and essays on its genesis, which add extremely interesting tit-bits to the whole book) packs a lot of punch and demands a lot of your attention, you can’t skim through this, can’t miss the subtle hints, perhaps on rereading it you would find something new altogether. So, it is one of those mind boggling books, that in the first read might almost defeat you, you can sense the brilliance yet you can’t shake off the bafflement. As ‘Beatty’ quotes ‘Alexander Pope’ in the book : –

“A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

So drink deep, even if you have to drink again and again from this book, because the sobriety that it promises in the end is worth all the drunken stupor and hangover that you could possibly have to endure.



Book Review:- A Prophet Without Honor: A Novel of Alternative History by Joseph Wurtenbaugh

A Prpphet Without Honor

4/5 Stars, Surprisingly Good!

“Heil Schicklgruber!”  ~Joseph Wurtenbaugh, A Prophet Without Honor

Ahh History and the world of ‘Might-have beens’, The ‘What-if’s’ always hold us don’t they, If only a small thing would have changed, if only! ,the butterfly effect on the world as we know it would have been immense.

Goodreads Blurb :- ……The plot focuses on the one great, unrealized opportunity of the Twentieth Century. 
In the first months of 1936, Adolf Hitler risked everything by ordering his untrained military to reoccupy the Rhineland. It was a bluff. The Germans would have been forced to retreat if the French or British had offered the slightest opposition. But the bluff succeeded. History changed decisively. Hitler quieted the opposition at home, and marched the world relentlessly on, to the edge of destruction and beyond.The story examines that lost chance in detail. The result is a compelling story full of intrigue, danger, romance, and action, culminating in the reckoning that Hitler might have faced, had events taken a different course…….

The novel is written as a collection of letters, telegraphs, extracts from journals, memoirs & history books(of the might-have been world). We are exposed to each character through this epistolary form. And despite the limitations that one would think this would pose on the story and it’s narration, it was surprisingly engaging, entertaining, absolutely believable and absolutely fantastically written.

We follow the “Haydenreich” family from Bavaria, through the years, from 1910’s to the 1940’s, through WW1, the rise of National socialism in Germany and ultimately to Hitler, the characters are sketched well enough, as well as they could be given the restrictions of the style but that’s what added to the intrigue of it all, with many real characters whose lives would have taken different turns had the events of the novel could come to pass. The story itself was interesting, though sometimes the book seemed too long, but no detail was redundant I found, every letter had to be read, every interjection adds to the flavor, so despite it being a little too long it is amazingly composed.

To compare it to other Alternate History novels won’t be fair, though it could stand it’s ground if it comes to that, but “The Man in the high Castle“, “Fatherland” and others mostly talk about what if ‘Hitler’ NEVER lost, compared to that this gives a lot more hope, and the perspective of the various characters gives insight about the split in that world that the others could not. Though the gore content (the horrors we generally relate to the Third Reich) in the novel is surprisingly low, the moral conundrums are more highlighted, the politics of it all takes more of the center stage, this could be again due to the way the book is primarily written and due to the fact that the whole premise is that Hitler be stopped before he could unleash the full extent of his mania on the world. So, in the novel, the people who could have done something and didn’t, DO what they could, they realize what they face and despite the consequences to themselves deliver the world from evil, to know How and Why is profoundly satisfying.

A great (albeit a bit long) read, full marks on creativity, research, plausibility and narration. Any history enthusiast would enjoy this extremely, I recommend it wholeheartedly, And thank Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy. To the world of alternative and speculative history this is a welcome addition.


Book Review: – The Ministry of Utmost Happiness :- “Its not! trust me it’s really not”

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

1.5/5 Stars, Don’t Judge a Book by its cover, Seriously, don’t.

“Nietzsche believed that if Pity were to become the core of ethics, misery would become contagious and happiness an object of suspicion.” ~Arundhati Roy

And so it has, for Mrs.Roy at-least. She has followed Nietzsche beliefs to the T. This book is so full of pity invoking misery that you would choke on the lines, words, syllables and ..will…find…it…hard…to…turn…the…page, as it is so full of biased political nonsense! It was a mistake picking this up before reading ‘God of Small things’, by what I have gathered (just by reading reviews and such, not read the actual book yet) her first book is much better and more objective, than the pure bias that has oozed out of her and stained every page of this 464 page lengthy tome.

Goodreads Blurb :- The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent – from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.
The tale begins with Anjum – who used to be Aftab – unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her – including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo’s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs’ Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi.

It was a hell of a coincidence that I finished George Orwell’s ‘1984’ just before this. The novel’s name “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” is a reference to George Orwell’s world where ‘Ministry of love’ tortures people and ‘Ministry of Peace’ conducts wars. Similarly Mrs.Roy’s Ministry of Utmost Happiness talks about utmost despair, also this is perhaps what she thinks of the Indian government, an institute that is guilty of extreme cases of ‘Doublethink‘ in her opinion.

The two main characters ‘Anjum’ and ‘Tilo’ , I found were her (‘Mrs.Roy’, the hater of Modi, the champion of insurgents, the comrade of Maoists, the self declared expert on what a hateful and shitty institute the government and society of India is, the very woman who any anti-India clown can use & say ‘HAH! she is one of you so she ‘knows’ things, you guys are really shit‘, herein referred to as ‘her’ now and later in the review) own two sides, or perhaps her one side divided into two people, because how can so much hate, misery, bias and venom be contained in only one person, people would just not believe it! So, two people, Anjum ‘the hizra’ to lay bare the total hypocrisy of the Indian society, of our communal frenzy and caste misuse, the bourgeois pigs all of us. And Tilo ‘the eccentric’ for Kashmir of-course, to showcase Indian atrocities and oh the evil designs and completely unjustified behavior of the army towards terrorists (ahh sorry, ‘Freedom fighters’ in her views, ‘Azaadi ka matlab kya ‘la ilaha illallah’, Seriously? Mrs.Roy? I have many Muslim friends who would be completely disgusted by what you consider ‘a just cause’). The characters main purpose is to show, point by point how unfair everything is in their world, and how they have become used to it, that the cradle of civilization, is anything but civilized.

I really wish I could review this book on purely literary basis, just the story (Which I can’t as there is no story, ..lives, ..two miserable lives, but no story) but I can’t. Her views are what stayed with me, and they are so nihilistic that despite my love for cynics, I was just plainly irritated through out the book. Yes, there is a lot wrong with us, there really is! but this!..this was just over the top plain old nonsense.

To all the people who think that their knowing about India a little better, would perhaps improve their reading experience of this book, It Won’t. It would just make you sigh with exasperation and wish to God that this book was shorter or written with some sense. So, yeah, despite some profound text in the book, I did not like it. And coming from a ‘Booker prize’ awarded author this was a great disappointment (and this was nominated this Year for Booker’s! what were they thinking?) .

In my opinion, you could do without this book, it’s just a lady being bitter about everything she disapproves of in her world, whether right or wrong she doesn’t care, I could have definitely done without it. All that glitters is not gold my friends, spare yourselves.

Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell:- “Holy sh@%snacks Mr. Orwell!”


5/5 Stars, Hands Down

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” ~George Orwell, 1984

“Big Brother is watching you”, this statement is everywhere. The scholars & political pundits use it, the anarchists use it, the revolutionaries use it, the eccentric paranoid conspiracy theorists use it. You, me every second person on the TV uses it. And here I was having no idea where the reference came from. Every ruling regime which imposes some unpopular restriction on its people by default gets the title of THE BIG BROTHER. Even the bloody realty shows that have sprouted all across the globe have used this all seeing all hearing omnipresent idea that Mr.Orwell introduced in this book. This amount of impact on the world is a testament to what a marvelous piece of literature this book was, gory, depressing and utterly crushing, Yes, but marvelous.

Big Brother

The year is 1984, the great ideological struggle of the early 20th century is over, Socialism won, Capitalism is completely eradicated from the face of the earth. And now the world is divided into 3 great superstates, each with their own brand of socialist or communist ruling regimes, ‘Oceania’ ruled by IngSoc(English Socialism), Eurasia by Neo-Bolshevism & Eastasia by the political ideology of Death-worship,or more correctly ‘Obliteration of the Self’. And all these states are in a state of perpetual war with each other, trying to claim the disputed territories of the world.

The world Mr.Orwell creates is a truly horrifying and haunting place. Not because of Socialist regimes, Mr.Orwell as I understand was a leftist himself, but the corruption and complete mutation of the ideology by the ones in power just to attain absolute subjugation of the masses. I mean wow. When your party slogan is


You can very well imagine what such a regime would do. Think (Stalin’s USSR + Hitler’s Third Reich + Mao’s PRC) * 100, and you get IngSoc. This book was a profound comment on the sociopolitical nature of the world. Written in 1948, this is as much relevant now as it was back then, maybe more so now, our generation has never really paid anything for the freedoms we enjoy, we have taken all that we have for granted and have always grumbled about wanting more. Then, imagining a world where there is no concept of freedom of any kind, where every which way you turn the passive face of BIG BROTHER greets you with a promise of pain, if you so much as twitch the wrong way, is nothing short of an eye opener.

This book has inspired so much of today’s world. The extremes that the book tried to educate us about, the brain washing that it showed and warned us about, “2+2=5” is something that each of us should appreciate. The whole concept of “Doublethink“, “Thoughtcrime“,’Psychological Conditioning’ through The Two Minutes Hate are truly mind boggling. And whats more, is that, these very concepts ARE being used today, not in the extreme way of the book, but subtly, the masses, it seems, were not the only one to take lessons from this book, the higher ups learned as well.

A true masterpiece indeed, this book forces you to think, there’s no page in the book which doesn’t make you reflect on your current condition, what was and what could have been. And I think that was the true purpose of the book, to make people realize that as long as they hold on to their individuality as long as they don’t let go of their inner consciousness they would somehow make it through. “Sanity isn’t Statistical” after all.

This book needs no recommendation, it is a classic, already embedded in the curriculum of a great many education institutes, and with good reason. One great book, and a welcome addition to my favorites list.

Book Review: Sacred Games : -“With Unholy Stakes”


4.5/5 Stars

“There is a certain pleasure we take in thinking about how bad it gets, and then in imagining how it will inevitably get worse. And still we survive, the city stumbles on. Maybe one day it’ll all just fall apart, and there was a certain gratification in that thought too. Let the maderchod blow. ” ~Vikram chandra, Sacred Games

‘Cynicism’, I have always had a soft spot for it, not out of compassion mind you, but a certain kind of camaraderie. I am one of those crazy guys who smiles when he hears ‘The Joker’ say “Everything Burns!!” This in no way suggests that I am a true cynic, that! I believe is a difficult thing to achieve, to be truly distrustful and disdainful of this world is not quite possible, Hope, in one way or the other, whether you like it or not worms its way into you, and perhaps, perhaps that’s a good thing.

Goodreads Blurb :- Sacred Games is an epic novel of friendships and betrayals, of violence and love set against the backdrop of a teaming 21st century Mumbai. Sartaj, the only Sikh inspector in the whole of Mumbai, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But ‘the silky Sikh’ is now past forty, his marriage is over and his career prospects are on the slide. When Sartaj gets an anonymous tip off as to the secret hideout of the legendary boss of the G-company, he’s determined that he’ll be the one to collect the prize…

I am surprised at how long it takes for some books to find me, or wait, for me to find some of them. When it’s so clear at how perfectly they conform to what I need or what I like. ‘Sacred Games’ is one of those truly all-rounder books that has everything a bibliophile would appreciate. Notably

1.) Length, 1057 Pages (Kindle Edition) in any other book such heftiness would be discouraging, even in SG it was borderline but ultimately on the right side of the border. With all its pages and all its story-lines SG is one such book where even after 450 pages, you sigh with relief, content with the knowledge that there is still more than 50% of it left. For any 1000+ page book, this is a great achievement. The writing was not extraordinary, rather easy and simple, for your everyday Joe really, but that is exactly what the book needed, that simplicity worked wonders for it in my opinion.

2.)Characters, the one thing I truly admire about Sacred Games, hats off to Vikram Chandra and his penchant for character building, every character in this book would make you fall for it, not because they are all charming or something, but because they are all so well sketched, even the minor ones, with all his little digressions and side line small stories, Mr. Chandra holds you with their struggles, you are right there with ‘Inspector Sartaj’ sitting on his dining table having his 3 pegs after dinner, you are right there with ‘Don’ Ganesh Gaitonde, sitting on his house’s water tank contemplating his next move in the deadly game. With Sartaj’s mother in ‘Lahore’ during partition, with ‘Constable Katekar’ in his ‘kholi’ with his family or with ‘K.D Yadav’ in his hospital bed reminiscing old losses and glories. This delving into the lives of these characters gives them a soul, however conflicted or pure or dark it may be, you Care, and that I think is one of the strongest thing working for the book.

3.) The Story line, A mystery, A thriller, A crime flick and A slow burn all at the same time, all the while giving you that delicious taste of a complicated Mumbai setting. Mafia, Movies. Corruption, the Law, Politics, A national security threat and the day to day troubles of the common man, now how many books can do justice to all these dimensions and not tilt you in favor of one more than the other. Though there was a bit of a drag at the end where the gullibility of someone as shrewd as the character of Ganesh Gaitonde surprised me to no end but well we are all pardoned a few idiosyncrasies, aren’t we?

4.)The real world parallels, the inspiration for some of the story lines was rooted in the Mumbai Mafia history, ‘Ganesh Gaitonde’ is inspired from ‘Arun Gawli’, ‘Sulieman Isa’ from ‘Dawood Ibrahim’, and the genuine Mumbai setting with its dance bars and slums and bitter sweet but all too real police system, its all well founded and researched, despite being kind of an epic fiction its real in its telling. This makes it all too close and personal with is another thumbs up.

5.)Profanity, well, ahmm….this might be subjective and appealing to me (don’t roll your eyes), the constant use of Indian abusive slangs just makes the story that much more personal. There’s no over the top cleaning act, say what you will, rawness has an appeal of its own. The Glossary would take some of your confusion away if you care to consult it.

All in all, its one hell of a ride, with all its twists and turns, slow and fast paces, dips and highs, one must read for all the Indophiles, Mumbai lovers or mystery, crime & thrill seekers, look no further my friends pick this up, you would be set for at-least a month (including its reading and the hangover that will most definitely follow, this is no light weight drink after all!).