Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Bestseller She Wrote

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

The book was well paced and well written. And certainly, Ravi Subramanian is one of India's better English writers. The language flows easily for Ravi and the story is viable. I must mention that I was able to complete the book in roughly 3 hours, which is generally a praise to the writer than to the reader.

The characters play along to our author's tunes. Reactions are real, actions are melodramatic and are worthy verses of a crime thriller. I felt the characters though, could do with better building. Everyone's back story is too short and too light so some of them don't make an impact on you. A deeper understanding of why Maya left her job "for" Aditya is very important to understand how she reacts at later points in the book. How the friendship between Sanjay and Aditya evolved over the years and the general possible gratitude that Aditya might have towards Sanjay would give the story a nicer touch. The fact that Shreya comes from a small town but isn't constrained by the small town ways is slightly unsettling without a bit more detail into her life before IIM.

The boon as well as the bane on any crime thriller is 'the' twist, or any twist. Twists are what make thrillers interesting but of course, the story itself can provide for a thriller without necessarily adding a twist. The twist however, needs to be really good. I'll come out and say it that the twist in this story was really good but feels pretty dull because it gets lost in confusion. The twist itself was well thought out but delivered rather hastily at the end. And the author is aware of it. So the author sits everyone down at a round table (much like in Detective Byomkesh Bakshi movie) and explains the whole plot. The fact that this kind of an explanation is required implies that the author did not do enough justice to the story in the fear of giving away the twist (much like in the movie). In fact, the author is so worried about giving away the twist that he jumps forward to the end and then jumps back to the twist for the readers' benefit. When Aditya comes out with the twist some of the earlier actions of certain characters make more sense, so the author was careful enough to insert some snippets through out the book.Yet the author in some cases creates confusion with the language (giving us an impression that the book was not well edited) to avoid the twist from being given away. I was disappointed by that. As a reader, I would have preferred if the twist was let slip over time to make for a good reading rather than sprung upon me as a movie-like twist with deliberately uncomfortable prose, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the book that flows so well. 

The setting of the story is interesting. It is the publishing industry itself which is of course, the author's forte. Aditya's 'gyan' reflects the author's inherent understanding of how the business works and the subtle name dropping excellently compliments the 'gyaan' creating a sense of expertise of Aditya's character as well as building him up as a rockstar author. It's a good read for any aspiring author and almost a 101 on publishing. His references to  BlogAdda also makes us feel part of this journey of a book from a writer's idea to manuscript to an author's published product on the bookshelves. I was happy to see that our author also touches upon on the issue of plagiarism and treats it with such contempt. We need more people of his stature to come out and say it because it should not be tolerated in any industry, and even more so in the publishing industry.
On this note, I would like to make an unrelated comment. I was somewhat disappointed that the book mentioned Ashwin Sanghi's first book in the passing, even though it (The Rozabal Line) has some clearly plagiarised lines. I do enjoy his other books, The Chanakya's Chant and The Krishna Key and plagiarism happens in other industries as well like The Valley of Astonishment played in London but since this issue was mentioned in the book I thought talking about The Rozabal Line was unnecessary. 

In conclusion, Ravi Subramanian is a good writer. His product is easy English flowing beautifully on a well researched topic and showcasing him as a leading author in our country who knows the ins and outs of the business. I am sure he is capable of a writing a brilliant piece of page-turning fiction (much like this book) from start to end. And I am also sure he can convert one of his brilliant books into a full-fledged screenplay. I think he short changed the book at the end into a screenplay, at the expense of his book readers.

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