After a quick scan of my other reviews, I see that I have already used the word "gripping" in another review. Still, I can't think of anything else that's appropriate to say, so here goes: the story is very gripping. I felt gripped and tugged about wantonly. This is good. What was not good was that it was quite monochromatic. No one made any jokes in the story. It's also a book that is amuck with what I (now) think of as cheap tricks. I didn't use to consider these tricks cheap until a friend of mine suggested that books that have big twists in them are cheap. Although at the time I vigorously resisted his dogma, eventually I found myself somewhat convinced.
In that sense, this book is cheap. It doesn't have a big twist, but there are other gimmicks. Like there's this dude in a coma and Palahahala describes his physical condition to appall us. Then, he repeats the trick over and over, appalling us and appalling us with the same old thing. After a certain number of repeats I stop getting appalled and get bored instead. Don't get me wrong, I did really like the book, mostly cos it growled at me.
Reminds me of this documentary I saw recently called "Darwin's Nightmare". The thesis of the documentary is something along the lines of the "west is evil" cos westerners eat fish from Africa thus "forcing" poor African farmers to take up fishing. It has absolutely nothing to do with evolution (as you might be tempted to believe from the title). There isn't much reasoning or fact in the thing. Instead, to convince you that the west is evil, the documentary maker's weapon of choice is pictures of starving African children, which he shows over and over. Eventually you see so many starving African children that you start to think that maybe you had something to do with the whole mess. OK I'm digressing... this book doesn't use as many cheap tricks as the doc. However, at certain points in my reading I thought "Palahalla you con artist, I'm on to you".
Bottom line: this book should be read. Whether or not you like it will most likely depend on how much you like books that growl.
In the partially ordered (by quality) set of books that I've read, this is a maximal book. It has something that is very hard for me to define. It's real. It echoes thoughts of mine (or hints at knowing them at least) that I used to assume were mine alone. Many people disagree with the way in which I interpret this book. I'm always up for a discussion on the subject :).
Loads of sarcasm and lots of nice mannerisms. A+.
Sure, I got the message... this and that... what's new? Boredom, that's what.
However, if you're not from the subcontinent I'm not sure how well you can appreciate his writing. In fact, if you are purely from the subcontinent I don't think you're well placed either. This is the kind of writer that doesn't just come out and say things, you have to kind of know the ideas that he's talking about before he tickles them. To get the full effect I think you need to know a decent amount about subcontinental (meaning Indian, Pakistani etc) mannerisms and thinking, and to some extent you need to know how this contrasts with the west.