The last week I didn’t watch a single movie. I was too engrossed in a wonderful book. I haven’t been engrossed in a book in recent past with this intensity. I finished it in 6 days and flunked an exam on the way. The way I procured the book itself was sheer marketing ingenuity of the counter clerk.
The author, Benyamin, is young prolific Malayalam settled in sands of Arabia. As he indicates in the book, the exile brings best out of a writer. Benyamin had already shot to fame with his best selling work, Adujeevitham. It went on to be adopted as academic piece in Kerala University. And now he has proved that it was not just flash in a pan.
The plot revolves around the life of a young, reckless, day dreaming, wanna be writer. He stumbles upon a murder and sacrifices everything, even his family legacy to solve it. The plot is set in two timelines and places. The story is told through the eyes of protagonist and the writer(narrator). The manner in which the author stitches together the two timelines with relative ease is sheer genius.
And also I found it so endearing the way the writer takes us for a ride through Diego Garcia. The narrative doesn’t look forced. Most of the writers fail when they try to draw the picture about the environment. When I browsed through the first few pages I thought this was going to be another one of those mediocre crime thrillers. Soon I realized how the unsuccessful young protagonist draws the author and his friends into the plot. And the readers too along with it. The way he meets up with his childhood mates all in quick succession do cast an apprehension in the mood of the plot. But then the clouds clear. The author’s and protagonists life intertwines so much so that in the same way the protagonist loses everything in the quest, the author loses his friend’s circle.
There are a maze of emotions throughout- love, hate, friendship. They conflict with each other through the two narrations. There are also a wide variety of social issues- multi ethnicity, terrorism, black s, religion. The author doesn’t stray away from the main plot. For an average Malayali reader Benyamin is a whiff of fresh air. There are even a lot of neo imageries ,like Orkut, Facebook , to tell the story. This is a jump over generation gap. May be Mallus have procured a Chetan Bhagath (in terms of popularity) with a lots of quality