WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Reading a book of an author that you haven’t come across before, is certainly a very interesting experience. The only thing that you have going is the cover in the front and the blurb at the back. While they do say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, it is not always possible, especially in the case of a new author that you are trying out. We do tend to make judgments based on what we see, and as a result, sometimes miss out on some very interesting books.
Saptarshi Basu’s A life that you knew is one such book that you may pass away as boring. I know I would have done the same. However, once you do start reading the book, you will find yourself hooked to the narration. And while it is not a thriller that you will find yourself unable to put down, it has its own charm that is hard to resist.
At the outset, it looks like a book that is just a commentary on contemporary India. You would not be wrong in thinking so. However, the distinctive feature is that Saptarshi Basu has ensured that it is told in the form of a story, following the journey of the protagonist. He talks about events from his early childhood until the time he gets a job and through his eyes, the author tries to decipher what connects the various cultures of the people in the country.
However, parts of the book did feel out of place and there was an unnecessary amount of detail put into some events. While the author may have felt the need to paint a picture for the reader, it only slows down the narration and loses sight of the big picture. Also, the blurb at the back of the book was nowhere related to the original premise of the book. The blurb, which may have been written to entice the reader to go ahead and read, is only a part that comes at the end and that kind of spoils the complete experience for you. One does feel that he has been cheated.
Apart from these minor mistakes, I felt that, on the whole, the author did a really good job with this book. I, for one, am sure that I would be picking up any further books that this particular author may write. However, writing a book with a fictional plot and building characters is a whole different ball game, and if Mr. Basu does decide to go in that direction, then a lot more work needs to be done in terms of constructing a plot and working with the characters.