Friday 21 February 2014

Book Review - Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister by Tabrik C

Title: Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister
Author- Tabrik C
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN- 978-93-5009-670-3
Genre- Fiction
Price- Rs 350

There are dark novels, there are brooding treatises on human psyche and then there is Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister. The novel is about Siddhartha Tagore who hails from Calcutta, has studied and ends up in 7, Race Course Road- the most reverred, most powerful and the most responsible office of India- the Prime Minister. The cover has the picture of a lone man walking in the middle of a dark road which seems to have no end but there is the Sun shining above and the caption reads- "You can't outrun fate" which paints a gloomy picture, The back cover reads- "India has a new Prime Minister. But is SIddharth Tagore the product of his genius or of his dangerous mind?" and goes on the explain the theme of the novel colored in Jihad, terrorism, Parliamentary politics and the protagonist's inner conflicts.

About the Author-

The author Tabrik C is a political enthusiast who has done his post graduation in History from St Stephen's College, Delhi. It's mentioned that he was the president of the students' union. All these facts are well reflected in his work. Being a Historian, he connects the dots quite elegantly and due to his leadership background, he is full of ideas about change and conflict. The interest in politics is a little too obvious by the title of the book.

About the book-

The cover is elegant and I like how the author's name humbly stands below the title of the book in bold. Pages are smooth and do not have the rough texture of racy, spicy thriller novels have. There is something square and grim about the whole feel of the book and it works in tandem with the serious theme of the plot. The language is surprisingly simple and does not use decorative words. It does dilute the narrative a tad but I think it's forgivable and a deliberate attempt to broaden the reader base.

The book broods a lot, there is a lot of monologue happening inside your head as you go through the pages and that's what a political thriller attempts to achieve. The author seems to be a firm believer in karma, the realization of which brings a smile to the observant reader. If you read the half-paragraph intro of the author on the first page, you'll see how he has poured his whole self out of the pages, spreading out all that he had in these pages. The editing is meticulous yet, I was able to find a few synax and preposition error which were minor and can be ignored eg. "Boring everyone into hell" instead of "boring everyone to hell/ death".

At the end, a word about the Tolkien-esque font switch while dealing with different formats of communication. The author uses a lot of letters, emails, News reports and other forms of communication in his narrative. These are nice because they also give us a deeper insight in the psyche of the characters and also accentuate the brooding nature of the novel. Also, he has used separate fonts to give them a real feel. It has worked and how!

I'd recommend this novel to everyone who has outgrown love stories and is willing to experiment with other genres in Indian fiction. It's a fresh, new theme and  if you can compromise a bit on the lackluster language, the plot has an interesting premise. Now for the brickbats, the novel is disdainful and at times distasteful. It reinforces all stereotypes about how a genius also has to be a little bit nuts too. The description of drugs, the mention of aristocracy side by side with intelligence poses serious questions about writer's worldview and there is also infidelity and insanity which seems to find dubious sanction in his narrative. The political thriller that the novel promises to be is also hollow, it is more like a personal journey of a lunatic which is mostly bizzare. I expected a little more maturity from this novel. Nevertheless, it's one book you hate but you have to finish. The book scores on its premise and premise alone.

My rating *** ( 2 stars out of 5)

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