Sunday 20 July 2014

Book Review- Lucifer's Lungi- Nitin Sawant

ISBN- 978-81-928937-0-9
Title- Lucifer's Lungi
Author- Nitin Sawant
Publisher- Fablery
Pages- 111
Price- Rs 120/-
Cover design- Sunill Kaushik
Genre- Thriller/ Memoir/ Non fiction

I was invited by Fablery to review this book by Nitin Sawant called Lucifer's Lungi and as the title sounded intriguing, I happily agreed to the offer and I am glad that I did. Here's my review of the book-

About the author-

Nitin Sawant is an entrepreneur who has donned many roles from a software engineer to a jewellery designer in his life. He is also a well-travelled person who has many anecdotes to tell as is evident from his short bio on the jacket of the book (Yes, this book has a jacket- old school baby!). The smell of all those adventures and experiences is all over the pages of his book and the sense of nostalgia reminds me of Ruskin Bond's writings.

About the cover-
This 111 page journey to Tamil countryside is packed neatly in a small paperback with a jacket. The jacket is decorated by Sunill Kaushik who has accentuated the thrill and horror aspect of the novel by posing a Dravidian temple against the backdrop of a full moon and sepia tinted colours. The humour in the word "Lungi" is overpowered by the aura of the word "Lucifer" and the book displays a foreboding theme from its cover which doesn't quite hold water once you wade through the first few pages. I think a more cheerful cover art would have done the book some more justice.

About the book-
The pages small in size and a font set in classic typeset reminding the reader of old books with their wafting aroma of the written words evoke nostalgia in bookworms like myself. The language is simple and the approach is very Indian which has kept the soul of the book alive. The English is essentially Indian English. There is no pretentious usage of foreign words for local items of cultural importance. The descriptions are vivid and the characters are well-defined and entertaining. The first person narrative of the author is hilarious at times and the book makes for an amazing companion for lazy afternoon readings. It, for me, falls into one of those books which you want to preserve. The book also inspires one to explore the countryside through its simple yet exact descriptions of the land and the people. This simplicity reminds me of Ruskin Bond's Dalhousie yet it differs from him in the treatment. Bond focused more on evoking nostalgia and bringing out the silly nuances of the characters while Sawant is more concerned about the story which is indeed entertaining and the ending makes one realize that sometimes, real life is way more interesting than fiction. In apt depiction of the countryside, you many consider it a non-fictional equivalent of R K Narayan's Malgudi Days.

About the plot-
The back cover of the book describes the plot as the turn of events once an atheist city slicker enters a medieval holy village. The book is essentially a travel memoir with all the peculiarities of a thriller novel and is paced well with interesting turn of events that will make you smile from time to time.

Although the book in its entirety is free of most errors and airs which might have clouded any first person account of such kind, it does bear certain shortcomings as no novel can be perfect for everyone. The story could have been more elaborate in terms of descriptions and factual data but the author has adopted a to the point approach which has made the book slick but has taken away some juice. The inner brooding of the author are sometimes too critical of his surroundings and there is a hint of superiority complex which he himself accepts in good humour. I do not think that humour would go well with readers of more mature mind. In a World woven so perfect, I wish there was no room for petty emotions. Anyway, the honesty might be appreciated too and the complex is more of a buildup to the end.

All in all, a great, short read and refreshingly told with great presentation and good language. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


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