Friday, January 14, 2011

Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup

Firstly, thanks to Mamarazzi for her amazing review that made me immediately pick up the book when I saw it at my local bookstore. This book was written by the author of Q&A (better known as the book-movie smash hit Slumdog Millionare).

Basic Plot

A powerful man has been murdered and 6 people with motive and means (namely a gun) are detained as a suspect. Despicable as the dead man was alive, his death demands answers. Whom amongst the six pulled the trigger? Was it the corrupt beaurocrat possesed by the ghost of Mahatma Ghandi? A simple American tourist who travelled half-way across the world to meet his Indian bride? A tribesman on a perilous quest to retrieve what was stolen from his tribe? The hottest Bollywood artist desperate to protect a dirty secret? A slumdog thief with a vendetta? Or the politician aspiring to the greatest heights at any costs?

What I liked about this book

Vikas Swarup is a master storyteller. He manages to juggle so many different, complex characters and an ingenious, intracate plot almost flawlessly. It was delightful how skillfully each avenue was explored, leading the reader merrily through what seemed to be a complicated and amusing mind-maze only to find that all roads lead to Rome (or in this case the muder). Each character is very well dveloped including the minor roles. There are some truly funny and incredulous scenes in the book. The author has such a knack of using coincidence and chance that instead of weakening the plot, it serves only to strengthen it.

What I liked about the book

The ending and the final reveal. Given the amount of skill he showed throughout the book, I honestly think that the final piece of the puzzle could have been more jaw dropping or mind boggling. As it is, it was just clever and neat but still sort of an anti-climax.

What I didn't like about the book

There are quite a few generalizations and stereotypical images in the book, namely about the corruption in Indian politics, the simple-mindedness of the working-class American and the mindset of the so-called terror organization. Eventhough, it may be pertinent to the plot and flow of the story, I did take offence to some of the references.

A quote I liked from the book

There 3 types of students. One, those that learn by reading, Two, those that learn by observing. The rest have to pee on the electric fence by themselves....OK folks, time to paint your butts white and run with the antelope.

Overall it was a really enjoyable book. 

Rating: 4.5/5


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