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Book Review : The Sympathy Wave

Author : P. R. Ganapathy

The Author is a former management executive, having held leadership positions in India and the US. He now supports entrepreneurs working to alleviate the problems of the poor

Rohit Gaekwad : Lover, brat and an idiot in that order. Unfortunately for India, also PM-designate
Sunaina Gaekwad : Disillusoned
Pavithra Munjal : Sunaina's duaghter - nondescript, but beware!
Vikram Munjal : Swine - of the first order
Varun Mathai : Troubleshooter with a... well, lets keep this a secret, shall we?
Pushpinder Singh : Minister, and invisible...
Anwar Islam : War Hero, indebted to another...
Colonel Gupta : War Hero, and a Hero, Period. 
DIG Karandikar : A rarity - a police officer with a conscience. Also smart. Very Smart Indeed

The book centers around a political family : one matriarch, and her son and daughter. The son is slated to become PM, but is just not interested in politics. He further wants to migrate to Colombia, and marry the daughter of a major drug cartel. The daughter is also not interested in politics, and has been forced into marriage with a no-gooder. In the backdrop, it so happens that Rohit and Vikram's plane chooses to vanish - and remains, shall we say, "vanished", and in an election year to boot. The wreckage is discovered in Rajasthan subsequently, and as a direct corollary, Rohit's party sweeps the elections - bringing his newly widowed sister to power, with idealistic dreams of cleaning the system, combined with an iron will to push the agenda through.

All is supposedly well - until a certain gentleman by the monicker of Colonel Gupta, a legtimate war hero, wrongly booted out of RAW, is approach by another equally legitimate war hero and victim of raw RAW treatment Anwar-Ul-Islam. After their first meeting on this matter of the vanishing plane, all is decidedly not well, as they manage to convince DIG Karandikar to join them in the hunt. The rest of the book is the hunt for the truth... was it planned? If so, who? Idealistic Pavithra - which seems far-fetched, given her idealism? Or Ttroubleshooter Varun, who is already after Sunaina not to appoint her son as PM, and wants Pavithri as PM? Or is it someone in the government?

The book is a surprise package; a fast-paced political thriller, with a simple plot which is relatively transparent, and yet sufficiently contrived to maintain reader interest. Interestingly, while the broad contours of the plot become apparent a little before the ending, the interest is kept up right till the last page, which is creditworthy. There is one discernible gap in the plot, which does not take away from the story in any way whatsoever. I cannot say more, since it would be giving it away. All I can say is that there is a possibility of a sequel to this book. 

The language is simple and easy to understand. You dont need a doctorate in English to devour this one! The characterisation is minimalist, and sparing. The focus is on keeping the story moving at a fast pace, for which needless detailing has been sacrificed.  This is a book that a part of me loves, and a part of me is undecided. I love it for the simple reason that the book is truly a good piece of writing, and is a near-impeccable story, as noted above. A small part of me is undecided due to the far-too-obvious parallels to real life portrayed in terms of the characters chosen, and which are too obvious to miss. All in all, I rate this book as 3.5 stars out of 5.


  1. Thank you very much! I think you review is spot on - I struggled with exactly that dilemma - spend time building scenes and characters, or move the story along! Half you enjoyed it. I can be reached at guns @ prganapathy.Com


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