Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review - Behind the Silicon Mask

            The Indian contemporary fiction scene has steadily grown fatter in the past few years with a surge of new authors trying to make a point and find their place. Yours truly included. I’ve reviewed quite a few of these works on a regular basis and as much as they help me understand my peers, it helps me understand where I stand. There’s one thing I’ve maintained through all the criticisms I offer and that is being true to the fact that when I’m a reviewer I am a reviewer and I do my best to be as honest as I can get.

            Having bared my blogger soul in such a manner, Eshwar Sundaresan’s Behind the Silicon Mask was my Christmas gift delivered early! I had my skeptic cape on when I began reading this book, because language has long come to be my pet peeve while doing a review but I’d finally found my raison d’ etre in the world of words. This book also proved to me that I had been right all along – good writing can amplify reading experience by a gazillion notches. I was sold on this one when I reached this particular line ‘Osama was on top of everybody’s hit list and Obama was a spelling mistake.’ I rest my case.

           Behind the SiliconMask is a true to life account of the larger than life game that is the IT life. More so when IT began gaining ground to grow into almost a lifestyle in the present day. The novel moonlights as a murder mystery and while that isn’t one of the pillars holding up the tale, it isn’t a narrative trench either.

The run through quickly this time.

What worked for me:

1. The language, hallelujah! If I had been on a QA team sifting through this book for errors, I’d be raving mad at the Project team for making me look useless because I could come up with nothing bad.

2. Narration : The book goes by on a terrific pace and actually ends on a practical if a little abstract ending. I had to pinch myself to acknowledge that I didn’t plough through a sappy plot, no sir.

3. Characters : Keep your fingers free, you’d need them to keep count of everyone. But then, isn’t that exactly how the industry functions? Beyond a point new email IDs borrow numbered suffixes.

4. Humor/Satire : I was on the wall trying to take a side but then I conceded both these tones in the book were conveyed so beautifully and I appreciated them equally well.

5. Editing hallelujah, again! Phenomenal. It was so sharp, it actually hurt my eye!

What did not work for me:

For the sake of QA, I'm going to complain that the murder subplot only grazed the boundaries of convincing. Since everything else was terrific, I’m willing to let it slide but I’m going to make sure that goes into the appraisal report. Just because I can. Hah!


Before you read this, go buy a copy of the book.

I’m serious. Leave. Now.

Gift a copy of Behind the Silicon Mask to your friends who work in the IT industry. You’ll see their eyes grow bigger with excitement. When they are done, they’ll deny everything outright and pooh pooh your claims of having learnt the truth. But in their eyes, you’ll see what you wanted to see.

Rating : 4.999/5 (you know why)

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Did you like this review? Do you agree with me on this one? Yes/No? Leave a comment. let's compare notes :)


  1. Nice Review. I have read this book, am part of the IT industry for a decade and a half and just love the honesty and depth with which this is written. I think Eshwar needs to be rated higher than an Amish or a Chetan Bhagat, just based on this book!

    1. I agree Sujay. The book never tried to be something for the sake of selling a thousand copies. If someone like me, having spent less than a couple of years in the industry could relate to it, I can imagine how profound it must be for you :) Isn't that the hallmark of a plot well executed? And Eshwar has thankfully taken a road that I wish most new authors would atleast consider before taking the highway like everyone else. Thanks for dropping by :)

  2. Thank you, Nethra, for your glowing review. I'm feeling overwhelmed.
    I have placed an order for "Karma, Cupid and I" on flipkart and plan to review it soon on my blog. Good luck with everything :)

  3. Hey, that's awesome! Thank you Eshwar :)

  4. hey, nethra, great blog. just received your book. thanks. :-)

    1. Thank you :) I hope you like it. Fingers crossed :)