Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: How about a sin tonight? by Novoneel Chakraborty

WARNING: My style of reviewing is different. I barge in my own past experiences, aspirations and delve less into the book's plot, as I believe that telling someone why to read the book is more important than what to read in the book. Please don't expect a traditional book review.

This blog is five years old. In the last five years of blogging, I have voluntarily reviewed just one book: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Generally, I review only those books which leave a deep impact on my mind. Till date, despite reading several books, the most impactful books can be counted on my hands to be only around 6.

I am glad that my recent read: How about a sin tonight? by the young and brilliant Novoneel Chakraborty has influenced me tremendously and I'm bound to review it.

I am a mean reader. It takes one little plot-hole/break in flow from the author's end to exasperate me with him/her, and perhaps, that's why I never read books by young authors(like me), and always remain contented with books, that are recommended by reliable sources. However, things were totally different with Novo's book.

I had been friends with Novoneel on facebook for quite sometime, as we both published our initial books with the same publishing house and perhaps, knew each other by name. There is some connection even before that. Much before I had published my first book, I had gifted my sister Novo's debut novel A Thing Beyond Forever which she thoroughly enjoyed. Though I couldn't read his first book, I was told by my sister that Novoneel is different from everyone else.

Recently, when his new book How about a sin tonight? came out, I was much like my laid back self when it came to reading contemporary authors. Not interested. But days passed and the lines from the book were quoted by some of my readers, thereafter Novo's mind-boggling and well-worded updates adorned my newsfeed and I couldn't resist myself from ordering the book.

As I got the book, I went through the blurb. The very first line stood out and I read it every time I hold the book, so much so that now it is etched in my memory:

From the most beautiful space in their souls to the most confused portions of their hearts and the dirtiest corners of their minds... LOVE. TOOK. THEM. EVERYWHERE.

The line was so beautifully worded that I immediately began the book and couldn't leave it until I finished. I had read writers who have touched me(Khalid Hosseini), I had read writers who made me laugh(Chetan Bhagat), I had read writers who had inspired me(Yogananda Paramhansa), I had read writers who glued me to the book(Julian Barnes, J.D.Salinger) but for none of them could stop me at every alternate paragraphs to utter a loud: 'wah! amazing', which Novo did.

Novoneel is masterly with his craft of words. The way he plays with emotions and feelings with his poetic prose is astounding and leaves you desiring for more. Sometimes, you get lost in admiring the author and his dexterity with expressions; at other times you just can't stop thinking how could he even think of that sentence. As the story goes ahead, you are glued as though you are living all the characters. As Novo weaves a magic around the five extremely well crafted characters, you realize that he has not just written a book, but actually, created an experience.

The only demerit that I found in this book was every character's way of expressing was the same: Kaash' diary entries or Mehfil's words both seemed to be worded by the same pen, rather than having different identity and thus, way of expression. For writers, not reflecting their identities in the character is a prerequisite and I think, Novo - already a master of the art of expression - needs to pay a little heed to it in his next book. Also, since the language was so elegant some phrases like 'power off' to depict disappointment spoiled the flow.

The book, set in Bombay - amidst the enigmatic and infamous Hindi film industry, consists of intricate interlinked stories of five completely different characters, where the shackles of relationships, love, sins, revenge, ambition and jealousy bind them together. The language is poetic and the content is thoughtful. It's not a book for those who want to read for time pass, it's a book to leave you thinking. It's so good to see that authors like Novoneel are setting benchmarks for younger authors like us and helping us aspire to give due weight to the language, rather than just the story, which most of us have been doing till now.

Some novels tell you stories, some novels provoke the story inside you to be a part of it. Novo's How about a sin tonight? belongs to the latter category; that announces to the Indian audience that there is a stalwart hidden in the Indian writing scene.

Must read. Buy here.


Tushant Baranwal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bidisha de said...

well said.. !!

Rohit Tomar said...

so i must complete this book too before sem exam :)

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