Hate in the Time of Malaria | Balu George | Book Review

Hate in the time of Malaria

PLOT: 4/5
CHARACTERS: 4/5
WRITING STYLE: 3/5
CLIMAX: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5

Hate in the Time of Malaria is a collection of five screenplays that stands for the idea of inversion and apposition.

Comedy is the basic strain that flows through these tales. The stories are built up to multiple climaxes and several twists in the narrative structure.

Added to this is the fast pace of the storyline. The pace functions with several speed breakers at discreet instances. These are the places that new events take place and the plot is led into a whole new light.

The titular story Hate in the Time of Malaria is the first short screenplay of the collection. It is written as a screenplay which humorously depicts a young advertising executive’s hilarious attempts to woo an activist. The activist is an animal and ecological lover and hates any form of violence.

The story keeps shifting direction as many other characters get included in it to the extent that it becomes a modern comedy of manners with a pinch. The pinch is harsh and so is the comedy.

It borders on social issues like marriage, live-in relationships, economic issues like demonetisation, personal issues like the choice of career that a child wants as opposed to that decided by his parents and the nation’s obsession with cricket.

The humour is light through dark and bland. It does not arouse laughter except an occasional chuckle but what it does not fail to shower is oodles of thought-provoking ideas.

The stories are congested with too many characters. Most of them are side roles and most stories have several subplots. This leads to a certain fragmentation which is at the core of the plots.

The language is easy to read and straight forward, though the plays take quite some attention. The writing style does not lead to a simple read but one that requires enough attentiveness.  

However, written in a screenplay format may make it difficult for readers to understand the plots especially those who’re not used to reading plays or do not enjoy them.

Quoting Shakespeare’s “Life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing” reflects the essential morbidity of the plots in Hate in the Time of Malaria.

Other interesting humorous screenplays include Unlucky Tony which is about a chartered accountant who is down on his luck and is duped by two of his colleagues in a scheme to get rich quickly.

Ann is the love story of a girl with bipolar disorder which includes the dark atmosphere of previous plays but with the angle of a romance. The encounter imbibes a series of montages in the form of a song that comes over and over again in different forms.

The last play titled Dad I am Having a Heart Attack is about a girl who is desperate to lose her virginity. The only thing that is on her mind at all times is sex and she can go to any ends to fulfil her desires. Her life intertwines with a boy suffering from anxiety disorder who is always scared to his wits. Her desperation to fulfil some erotic desires brings in several themes of man-woman physical relationships in the modern world, schizophrenia, fear, anxiety and depression.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Hate in the Time of Malaria using the link below.

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