From time to time I am sent books for review, and so many times I have to choose my words oh so carefully, when writing my review. No-one want to be intentionally cruel or harsh, but some of the current fiction coming out of India is truly way below the mark.
And then you have a novel like “The Child of Misfortune”.
What a pleasure. What a treat. What a great read.
Soumitra Singh has written a genuine page-turner, a gripping novel about choice, about friendship and about end-games. This book takes us from Leh to Srinagar to Mumbai to London, as this sweeping adventure unfurls over many years.
I loved the book from the start, and not just because it involved Ladakh, one of my most favourite places on earth.
There are two main, rivaling protagonists in this novel – Amar and Jonah, who meet as teenage boys at a smart school in Mumbai, and theirs is a strange relationship from the start : a desperate rivalry between 2 intelligent boys to be the brightest, the fastest, the smartest. Amar is reasonably chatty and communicative, and therefore easy for we the reader to understand and empathise with. Jonah, the taciturn, white-haired, pale-skinned boy from Pondicherry is altogether different. Intense, hardly speaking enough even to be described as mono-syllabic, he is a distant almost menacing figure from his teenage years. There is something disturbing about this boy.
I cannot (and would not) reveal the plot. It is too much of an exciting read to divulge, but suffice it to say that it encompasses a global quest, in the good old-fashioned Good vs Evil scenario (OK, I’ll tell you a bit – drugs and terrorism figure largely, as does the amazing technology with which we live today).
When the plot shifts to London I still enjoyed the story, but just a fraction less than the Indian sections, which I found super well-written. But that is hardly a valid point. Am just saying.
The book is well-written and fast-paced, though I think Mr. Singh’s editors have failed him from time to time. Again, nothing major, just a few grammatical errors that I doubt a writer of this calibre would have made.
Published in 2104 by Times Group Books, the paperback sells for Rs 350.
If, after reading this review, you would like to order the book, it couldn’t be easier.
Simply click on the link below:
And be sure to take time to visit the website www.soumitrasingh.com for news and views about the book.