Friday, 9 February 2018

The Assassinations A novel of 1984 by Vikram Kapur: a review

There are some books that jolt you from the time you have a look at the cover. Done in red and black (and well, my eyes see a lot more in it), Vikram Kapur’s The Assassinations: A novel of 1984 is surely one such book. A book-jacket (God my first book jacket of the year and one after ages) feels such a great thing to hold that you would fall in love with the book the moment you set eye on it. A turn of the book and the blurb says much much more about the book.

According to the blurb- To Deepa, Prem gave no hint of the churning inside him. In front of her he affected a cheery demeanour, indulging her in her plans for their honeymoon, which she kept revising. It was a welcome escape from the mayhem surrounding him. There were occasions where the pretence got to him and a voice rose inside, urging him to tell her everything. He silenced it. Deepa was a Hindu and would never understand. Until then, he had never thought of her as different.

Trust me, very much like Prem, even I, while reading the book, didn’t see Deepa as different. The book started cliched. Yes, it did and I was actually left thinking, what would the book give me? Will all those promises and expectations from the cover. And then I turned the pages and went on reading it. I was dumbstruck. My eyes moist. Yes, that was the effect the book had on me.

I am a reader. Voracious or not, I don't know. And frankly, I don't have a specific genre I like to read. Everything and anything that is provided to me is a read for me. Given this scenario, I have read a lot of books on the subject that the book addresses: terror attacks. Attacks that shook India, a part of it. Of lives that were altered by the attacks. Most were biographical in nature. Majority were non-fiction (barring the Kashmir situation which usually is fictional). This, being a fictional novel had my heart in it.

The way Kapur describes the situation: The divide. The emotions. The feelings. The aftermath. The way things were before. It is brilliant. Brilliant would be an understatement, for this book would be one which will be remembered by me for quite some time now. The intensity of the situation after Mrs. Gandhi was shot was very well described. I have a question for the writer, though: How could he write with so much feelings?

While I would leave it up to you, my readers, to decide how this book fared. I don't know what else to write. Because, I believe if I start writing about this book, I won't stop. Coming to the cons, I felt the book was a bit abruptly ended (open ended, though and completely not something that people might expect as an ending). The book was a perfect size but again, typical me. If someone is writing so good, why does it always have to come to an end and that too so fast?

Feelings, emotions, characters, narrative, flow, build up everything was spot on. A question here and there were unanswered. Some characters shed a shadow of 'why was it introduced, what happened to it, why not a bit more book space?’ in them. For me, this book was surely a 4.5 out of 5 and I'm expecting so much and so much more from the author. 

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