Sunday, 16 October 2011

Book Review - 'Live from London' by Parinda Joshi

A first time book by someone who works in analytics in the entertainment industry, and is a columnist and photographer.

The story is simple - college grad Nishi Gupta looks for and finds a job in the entertainment industry, falls in love, gets hurt, and recovers.

I'm sure that Parinda Joshi is a wonderful person and is very good at what she does. But her book leaves a lot to be desired.

The main character is simply not likable. While that may be a personal thing, the author doesn't really give us a chance to like her. Or any of the other characters for that matter. Nishi and her friends - Nick, Sarah, Riya and Zac - are simply not fleshed out enough, and are reduced to caricatures, and not in a funny but an irritating way.

You don't even know how they look. There are very few physical descriptions of them. The only likable characters with any interesting personalities in the book are the parents.

Other characters come and go. Not describing a persons physical traits is fine, as long as you give your readers something else to work with. Describe the characters' quirks, their relative positions of importance with respect to the main character, and do this well. Don't just assume that the reader is going to assume everything you want them to.

The story meanders. It's supposed to be a romance along the lines of Bridget Jones, but ends up being a damp squib. We've seen the story many times before. Working girl with stars in her eyes falls in love with a playboy and gets hurt. Nothing wrong with the plot if it's done well. But in this book, it's a mess.

The narrative is flimsy. You're not sure why people do the things they do; you don't know enough about them to question their motivations.

You're just following the events as they happen, there's very little emotional involvement in the characters themselves. You've stopped caring about what happens to them.

The paragraphs and chapters that make up the current narrative and the ones that make up flashbacks aren't split up adequately, making the narrative confusing. You go from flashback to current in one sentence, after whole chapters of flashbacks.

What are probably most irritating about the book are the grammatical errors and disjointed prose throughout.

I'm not sure if it's the author who's responsible for these grammatical mistakes, or the editors at Rupa & Co (the same people who gave us such gems as Chetan Bhagat). Even if it was the author, the editors should have found and fixed these basic errors. Confusing 'since' and 'for' is unacceptable. You use 'since' to refer to a point of time in the past. You use 'for' to describe a length of time.

The disjointed prose, on the other hand, simply cannot be fixed by an editor, no matter how skilled, not without re-writing the entire book. The sentence structure is clunky & heavy. It's a lost cause.

None of the characters are endearing. This combined with the poor prose & grammar, made me want to throw the book away after reading a few pages. But I soldiered on. I had a review to write.

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Urmi Chanda Vaz said...

I felt like I was reading myself, when I read this review. Equally disgruntled!

Vidya Sury said...

:-) Accurate review. I tried quite hard to be very gentle.

Vidya Sury said...

I was curious to read what others thought about the book :-)

Dinvra igaluaC said...

Chetan Bhagat is a gem? You must be joking hahahaha!! There have been pathetic books of date , I guess this adds to those, especially like the (in) eligible bachelors and now this.

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