Tag Archives: indian fiction

Sleeping on Jupiter

A novel that promises much but delivers little. Anuradha Roy’s “Sleeping on Jupiter” tugs at your heart all the time, there is a lingering suspense throughout the story, the ending disappoints.

The story starts with three late aged women going on a train journey to Jarmuli a temple town by the sea. In their compartment they meet up with a young bohemian type girl who is engrossed in her music. The train stops at a station, the girl gets off never to be seen again.

As the story progresses, you feel there is a connection between the girl Nomi and the three women, Latika, Vidya & Gouri and you sort of long for it, but it is the girl’s story that takes center stage. Her early life with her parents & brother, the violent upheaval, her subsequent life in an ashram with all its nefarious goings on, and that sort of breaks you apart.

Nomi is on a mission to find her roots and her long lost friend Piku from the Ashram days. There is a tour guide Badal quite desperate to get the attention of Raghu, a hulk with the tea seller, both of them have their own untold stories of angst and despair. There is lot of noir in the story, and you want some light in the story in the form of recognition amongst the characters, a bonding, love, but everything is left dangling in the end. Goodreads 2/5

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Strange Happenings at Landings Castle & Other Humorous Stories

A collection of uproariously humorous stories by Gopal Ramanan, third in his series of short stories books. Starts off with a brilliant spoof on Sherlock Holmes with some strange happenings going in Landings Castle with Lord Landings himself perplexed and requesting for Sholmes’ help along with Dr. Dotson. Then there is a take on the venerable James Bond getting old, well, actually old instead of being perpetually young and handsome. Partha is then fretting with his unusually long name in the US and wonders whether he could change it to something short and sweet. Then there are a series of short essays on the author’s crisp observations on life’s inanities all laced with sweet humour. Written in a very simple style with narrative reminiscent of the great RK Narayan, this is a highly recommended book for light reading. Goodreads 5/5 

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Last Man in Tower

Aravind Adiga’s “Last Man in Tower” is a story about desperate people – desperate lower middle class people wanting to go up in society, wanting the riches, dreaming of a rich future and to achieve that they will throw all the scruples to the wind. Its a story of a old middle class metropolitan housing society in a suburb of Mumbai. The building is old, needs urgent repairs, the residents are all middle class with aspirations for more. In comes a corrupt, wealthy, ruthless builder who offers more than the market price for each flat in the society. Everybody agrees but for a couple of residents – old couple Pintos whose children are abroad and a widower Masterji a retired teacher whose only son is residing in a posh swanky flat in South Mumbai. He is a principled man with lots of attachment to the flat because of his late wife and daughter. He digs his heels in and refuses to accept the lucrative offer, the other residents get desperate because of the impending deadline, while the builder is sweating because of the potential loss of his reputation, when other builders are ready to pounce upon the property. The book is too long, but the narrative is quite brilliant. Aravind Adiga has written beautifully, his prose is superb. Towards the later part of the book, it starts getting depressing and the ending is a huge anti climax. Reminded me of the 80s movie “Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho” a sort of similar story about house owners who are unable to vacate their tenants and the matter goes to courts and stays there for decades, while the lawyers start getting rich, the plaintiffs become poorer and poorer by the day.  

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Murder of a Judge

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Murder mystery set in Trivandrum, author writes in simple beautiful narrative and the story flows from situation to another. There is a murder of a renowned judge and there are suspects, among whom is the nephew and a prisoner who had vowed revenge against the judge when he was sent for incarceration. The inspector uses all his deductive powers to solve the mystery. Goodreads 5/5

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