Sunday, September 21, 2008
The group seemed fairly evenly split between supporters and detractors. The detractors maintained mostly that there was an unrealism or perhaps unlikeliness to the way that the character describes his own motives, and there was an undercurrent of questioning about intended audiences. This group felt that the book was clearly written for a western audience. The supporters alternately felt that the book might have a cartoonish element, but perhaps as in a political cartoon, that is, with an agenda of critique (dare we say agit prop?). The supporters also felt that the book was a useful glimpse at corruption at many levels of Indian public life today. Everyone agreed that the book lacked the sincerity of A Fine Balance, for example, but some saw this as a deliberate, perhaps post modern stylistic choice and others found it simply weaker by comparison, in part perhaps because one cannot fully empathize with the protagonist at the end of the novel. On the other hand, in every Mistry book the victims remain victims to the end, and in this one the reader can have the perverse satisfaction of seeing the underdog have his day. Everyone agreed that they were entertained by the book and found it fast and enjoyable to read ( Actually, not sure about Narayan and Mary Jane on this) and it seems there were few regrets.