Saturday, 25 January 2014

No Man's Land

From the book blurb
Land you can’t burn it like money you can’t melt it like gold. You can only buy it, sell it, snatch it, grab it. Titles change, governments change, times change but the land stays where it is unmoved and sterile. That is its beauty. But, somewhere deep down, men want to grab its immortality and slip it into their horribly insecure lives. They never can but they never will stop trying.

Gurgaon, circa 1998. A city is being born. Ordinary farms are turning into virtual goldmines in the shadow of lofty skyscrapers. Agastya, whose days are numbered, lords over one such estate. He realizes its time to pass on the legacy to the next generation his estranged sons, Pranay and Karan who will come from Delhi with blemished pasts, base aspirations and a woman who would divide them. And then, not unlike the Mahabharata, the land would become the stage where their greed, affections and deepest fears would struggle and suffocate. No one would leave the place unscathed, if they would leave at all.


Author
Nilesh Shrivastava heads the financial sector investments portfolio in South Asia for International Finance Corporation (private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group). He manages a diverse financial sector portfolio, including equity and debt instruments, spanning banks, NBFC’s and payments companies across the region. Earlier he has been among the key business developers for IFC in the South Asia region working with clients in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Prior to joining IFC, Nilesh worked with HSBC in India for over 6 years working across retail and corporate banking roles. Nilesh holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Kolkota as well as a degree in Computer Engineering from Lucknow University.
Characters
Ramadev, the father…
Agastya, Ramadev’s son…
Pranay and Karan, Agastsya’s sons…
Then, Shaswat and Shreya of course…

What I think
To begin with, the book blurb is amazing. It rightly conveys what can be expected and what is there in store. The cover-page is amazing. It is barren and raw. It adds to what the blurb talks. In a way it reflects the premise around which the story revolves.

Then, the story per se. It takes off slowly and gradually gathers pace. The mystery slowly unravels and a story that talks about three generations begins.

The first few pages moves really slow. The writer is left blindfolded and many a times he is left wondering what is next. While this is a plus, I feel that this is a minus too. Because holding reader’s attention during the first few pages is imperative!

The narrative is lucid. There is a simplicity in writing and complexity in the plot. This difference makes the book a compelling read.

The characterization of each one is done carefully. They come across as any other human being who is selfish and greedy. Each one of them are bothered only about themselves and this makes them real. The uneasiness between the characters is captured very well. I appreciate the author for taking each step slowly yet steadily.

Further, I would like to appreciate the author for making land as the hero and all others as the sub-characters. He has rightly understood and re-emphasized the fact that no land is valueless and it value, in fact, multiplies over years!


But...
Though not really but, the book is not something that you can complete in one go. It demands time; more so owing to the fact that it takes off really slow!


Should you read it?
I say… Go for it! It is weaved beautifully.
It is worth reading!


Rating
3.5/5

Thank you
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