Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book review- Tall man small shadow

My review on the fiction "Tall man small shadow" is my candid opinion and not my judgement about the book since I am nobody to call anything good or bad-

Tall man samll shadow

Book- Tall man small shadow

Author- Vipin Behari Goyal

Story- Protagonist Salil, a lonely software professional stays in a rented apartment in a society of some city(Oops there is no backdrop of the city unless you assume that to be Delhi as the story progresses). Salil, a man of few words, notices Aalya, the beautiful daughter of his neighbor Anupam uncle and Sulekha aunty who are leading a happy retired life. A PhD aspirant in English Literature, Alya looks after her parents and is the apple of their eyes.  With no love interest or messed up affair, a lonely Aalya apparently falls in love with her thesis guide Seema. At 40, Seema, without any child, still looks gorgeous but is devoid of love from her busy husband Paul who is a theater director. In the most unimaginable situation, Seema and Aalya develop a physical relationship, partially to fill up the void spaces of their lives, and partially because they liked each other. At the same time Aalya is attracted towards Salil but never gathers courage to admit her admiration for the handsome boy. Salil is too introvert to speak his heart out while he falls for Aalya's shadow! Yes, that's where the novel draws it's name from.

As the plot progresses,  Salil's gets over his past with Aalya around him. A successful but sad Seema longs for substance in her life and Aalya helps Seema to bear a fetus in her womb through IVF. Guess who was the sperm donor? Ok, read the book, the obvious would be disclosed to you.

Aalya is a kind person who would do anything to see others happy, and considering her bonding with Seems, this was the best she could offer. Later Aalya marries Salil. The couple belongs to the same caste and their parents arrange their marriage easily, without a single hurdle in their way. The story ends with a surprise twist (in fact the only chapter, basis which the entire plot was framed) and leaves you staring at a blank.
What I liked-
  • Length of the chapters- Short and crisp.
  • Good uses of metaphors to explain philosophies of life and its complexities
  • A positive note in each chapter- You would wish life was as happy as the characters.
  • The cover design and the book name- Enticing and creates mystery
What I did not like-
  • Multiple narrations. Too confusing. The readers have to guess in the beginning of the chapter, who is narrating. There are first and third person narratives change in every chapter! Sad!
  • Slow pace of the story- At times I wished the book had a fast fwd button like a DVD player does.
  • Typos and overtly simple language that made it look like a story being narrated by a school child. A novella should have a wise choice of words. Dialogues were silly in many places.
  • Characters- Too unrealistic, especially Aalya's parents (such people exist in fiction only) , Seema (a desperate lesbian), strange character of Aalya who is in love with two different gender people at the same time!!
The story moves at a slow pace but on the contrary the incidents are quick. The surprise chapter disappointed me. If nothing is coincidence, then why believe in destiny and God? If you can plan anything and everything, where is the faith in supreme power? And that was my thought about the surprise second last chapter.
I would rate the book 2.5 on 5, as in few places the author has very well explained the core complexities of life yet has been repeated a number of times. Character development of the novella could have been better. The book has nothing new to offer in terms of plot or characters. You can still stiffle your way though the book in few hours.