Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Prisoner, Jailer, Prime Minister - Book Review

Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister is the latest thriller to hit the Indian reading market, written by Tabrik C and published by the house of Hachette. It is also one of those reads that has disappointed me greatly in recent times. The blurb makes the book sound ominous and interesting and given India's current dynamic political situation, makes you hope for a terrific reprieve that you would want to apply to reality. The book delivers nothing of that kind. It does tempt you with a terrific first chapter that introduces a maverick Prime Minister, Siddhartha Tagore who arrives to take his oath of office literally with a bang. You expect him to turn the country inside out and all enemies flying...perhaps he does in another imaginary version of the book but in this version Siddhartha lives, or should I say floats deliriously in his past while people and things continue to exist and happen without any logical reason or meaning in the present.

I'm just going to have to get down to the grading. 

As always, this review also contains spoilers so if you'd rather not know what happens, you should read the book first and then come here to compare notes.

What Did Not Work for Me
1. The plot - Er...what was the plot again? A young non-formulaic PM who wants to fight the fire of terrorism with fire and begins by openly challenging the super powers of the world...lithium...piano...Mozart, Mozart, Mozart, Night Music, Night Music, Night Music, Symphony 40, The Mozart Man, PM is in a coma, has to live in calm for the rest of his life. The End. 
I am not kidding or exaggerating. I did not find any story at all whatsover, or perhaps there were too many plotlines vying for the spotlight and the author was busy putting Siddhartha into a junkie Mozart daze to care.

2. Characterization - Siddhartha, the hero was unfortunately made into a depressed maniac as a singular excuse for his irrational behaviour in the political arena. Why? Why couldn't someone be equally irrational because of ambition, arrogance or simply anything else? 90% of the book delves into Siddhartha's past that supposedly screwed him over, things he had to run from, to be thrust into the political scene he did not want in the 1st place. None of these incidents or phases are even remotely convincing. The attempt at romanticizing Siddhartha's plight and choices failed completely in my opinion. Instead, he comes across as an utterly clueless, mannerless, brainless sheepish junkie who claims to be in love with a woman, screws her twin sister who seems to have gone to bed with him willingly, apologizes, the original twin is raving mad with him but in the next few lines they are back together again....I can't go on. This makes absolutely no sense.

None of the other characters are anything solid. Rukmini Devi, supposedly a dangerous intellectual threat to Siddhartha's political muscle is nothing but a pawn for Thor, who was Gregory back from Harvard, the one who is, with no other possible explanation raped by Sid. How did I finish reading this book?

There are a dozen other characters who come by like puppets mouthing cliched dialogues, are basically useless to the plot and fade away into oblivion. Maybe they are useful in that other imaginary version where Siddhartha is changing the world. 

3. Mozart references - Because I'd really not swear in a review, let me politely ask of you - Did Mozart write just two compositions? Night Music and Symphony 40? And isn't Night Music actually called A Little Night Music? If Siddhartha or anyone for that matter is to be called The Mozart Man, wouldn't it only be logical for that person to know every single piece of music ever written by the man by heart? Would someone be called Harry Potter man if he/she knew only the word 'Wizard?' Thanks to this book, I've developed an intense distaste for the words 'night' and 'music'. But here, Siddhartha plays 'Night Music' at every single instance and everyone melts and says stupid lines like 'Wow...I've never heard anything like it before!'. Well, you just did...five minutes ago when he played the same damn thing on the mouth organ before he went on to screw your twin sister! Sheesh!

4. Language, Narration and Editing - Poor and ineffective. 
5. Title - Prisoner - Who? Where? Why?
              Jailor - Eh? 
              Prime Minister - The bold and rash one who might actually make a difference? Oh yeah that's him there..playing that out of tune composition on the piano...ask him what it is and he'll tell you it is Night Music and then he'll sigh and utter 'Amadeus' 

Verdict
No further comments.

Rating 
1/5 - One star for the hope of a better democracy that Siddhartha briefly dreamed of in a lithium induced moment if clarity.


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2 comments:

  1. I too got this book for review and didn't like it. I conveyed the message, but my review post was slightly more polished (lest BA stops sending books to me!). There is a basic issue with this book - it advertises itself as a political thriller, but more than one-half of the book is new-age romance. I am not sure if such a big deviation was a good idea - it didn't work with me.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. I had the same trepidation about not being chosen for bookreviews going forward, but decided to stick with posting what I felt :) We'll know when the next one comes in huh? :D

      Thanks for dropping by.

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