Book Review: The Story Of My Assassins



The Book I Couldn't Finish....

I never thought that I would ever had to pen these lines... that I would ever state that I could not finish this book. It is especially sad, since I have been away from my blog for a good bit of time due to a shift to Mumbai - having to pen an unfinished book is indeed sad. But I cannot put it in any other way. Rather than state that the book is bad, let me just say that the book is not for people of my ilk, and leave it at that. I can give an outline of the story, the style of the author and what I did not like about it. Seeing as I didnt like anything in the book, I am not giving what I liked about the book. I didnt find a single thing, to be honest... except for one small section, given below

The Outline
The storyline is fairly simple, and holds a good bit of promise. A gentleman is supposed to be attacked by a gang of 5 other "gentlemen". The book traces the lives of the supposed assassins - how they became criminals, how they were influenced by the society around them, what pulls and pressures operated upon them - what were their "majboori" in other words. It looks at the societal norms, ugliness in stark reality without making any defence of either side. It just states it like it is. These lives are intertwined with the life of the main protagonist, his wife, his mistress, his business partner and his spiritual guru. Stated on its own like that, the story holds tremendous promise - it is a story that can lay bare the entire gamut of life in India as it exists today; which is precisely why I picked it up. 

The Style Of The Author
In one word, disjointed. Not for me. I could not fathom what was going on - I read through some 15-20 pages without having a clue. Went back to page one and re-started all over again in an attempt to fathom what was going on. The first line introduces the attack... then you keep reading, expecting more details - and find none. What you get instead is an unending series of background development, sidelines, profanity and seemingly unrelated stuff. Then, you get an hint of 5 attackers - and silence. Profound silence. The story moves on to the affair, profanity - extreme profanity of the r**** and m*******d kind - a bit too much. Much too much, rubbed me off a huge amount. I can stand the odd f***, or an odd "gaali" - but when you get profanity after mindless profanity, it tends to take away from what could otherwise have been a very powerful narrative. I read for some 70-80 pages... and then, finally, the real story kicks off with the lifestory of a person. It takes you several long minutes before you make the link that this thug is one of the attackers. But once that link kicks in, the story acquires a life, and power. It tends to hit you in the gut with its brutal frankness. In this part, the author has truly excelled. However, once this story ends, you are back to the ring-around-the-mulberry bush, with d-e-t-a-i-l-e-d descriptions of scenes between the guru and the disciple, the protagonist and the mistress and so on and so forth. Suddenly, just as you were about to understand what the !@#$ is going on, you get another yo-yo turn - right into another story of a thug. And at about this part, I just gave up... page 153 or thereabouts. Sorry Guys. This is one book that got the better of me!

My Rating
1 Star. That is it

What I Did Not Like
  • The Profanity - far too much of it. It becomes an irritating narrative with the extent of the bad words used. The effect is to make it sound very rough and second rate
  • The needless background development and pointless detail, making the linkage of the various subplots very tedious. There is so much of background noise, that you frequently lose the plot of the story, and end up wondering how and where does what you are currently reading link up with the main story. Yes, there is some amount of humour, but the meandering style and profanity all but push the humour into extinction
I summation, this is not a book for me. There will, of course, be people who will like it: but I am not one of them. I prefer clean and polished writing- no profanity, with succinct but detailed background development and a to the point narrative. I would love to read a book that dwells on such a story line - how people (gundas) become what they are - but not in this style! If you are of similar tastes- as you can no doubt make out from my other posts- then avoid this one. 

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