WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
One of the challenges that an author faces when he or she is writing a book is to bring the story alive to the readers. It is not always easy and is a talent that is perhaps not seen too often in today’s books. When a reader is able to experience that particular atmosphere where the story is occurring just by reading the words written on the pages, then the author has successfully accomplished his task. To do that requires a special talent, and when it is added with a good plot and interesting characters, it has all the makings of a very good book.
Vikram Nair’s Gone with the Vindaloo is one such book where you get to experience everything the characters do. The plot of the book is 2 stories running parallel. One is in the Mahadev household, where the cook Pakwaan is trying to learn cooking from his father and yearns to one day make the Vindaloo that his grandfather was most known for. The parallel story is indeed about Pakwaan’s grandfather, Kalaam, and how fate showed him that he was indeed more suited to cooking rather than spinning yarns.
Both plot lines are dealt with smoothly, and as you may have already guessed, there is a lot to do with food. While many writers may have glossed over the actual descriptions of the food or the taste, Vikram Nair leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that the reader can almost feel the taste of the food that is described in his or her mouth. In fact, there were a couple of occasions when I actually had to get something to eat while reading the book because the descriptions made my mouth water, and this is no exaggeration, also made me feel hungry!
On the flip side, perhaps dedicating an entire section to farting was perhaps overdoing it. While I am not exactly a fan of fart jokes or narrations based on flatulence, perhaps it can be excused this time considering it would have been a natural occurrence what with all the spicy food that was being consumed. But perhaps that could have been reduced a bit.
Also, maybe a bit of depth could have been added to more characters. Granted the story mainly revolves around 2 protagonists, in the past and in the present, but some more work on the characters could have certainly made a good book even better.
Otherwise, on the whole, the book makes for a very good read, and it is certainly something the reader would enjoy. Beyond the food, the plot will also keep you interested and you will surely have an entertaining time reading the book.