I had no expectations when I started reading. I had heard the author speak at a book launch once and unlike some of his peers the man does not have the golden gift of the gab either. So I was not expecting anything spectacular in here. But I was not prepared for what I read.
First of all, let me please make the assertion that Higashino is Higashino. Rehashing good books doesn’t always result in another good book. It’s a Journey to Malice. If you see what I mean.
So Mr Subramanian spoofs and unabashedly promotes peer authors (and at one point even himself) and creates this wannabe thriller full of umpteen characters no one gives a rat’s ass about. In a bid to write something new and different, he writes about a banker (surprise!) who is also a best-selling author (you’re kidding me!).
This book left me cold and pissed off. If I have a million or whatever readers, wouldn’t I at least feel the responsibility of writing a decent book for them in my head? Mr Subramanian has no such qualms. This book is sheer lazy writing. The story offers nothing new.
It is about this douchebag ‘Paperback King’ (ugh!) supremely awesome rock star author Aditya Kapoor (40-something years old) with a loving (and annoyingly devoted) wife and kid, who wants to boom boom bang this 20-something child/booty queen/wannabe writer/borderline creep Shreya. He forces his friend HR Guy to hire this girl who is supposed to be a voracious reader with excellent taste (who falls in love with this dude’s writing. Calling it the best she has read. And the only Indian writer she likes or something. Double ugh!)
Then they get it on, and blah. Creep Child uses him to write her novel. Douchebag thinks it is love. And the Good Wife finds out their little tryst thanks to Steve Jobs. And then gets Ebola! Walaah! Douchebag suddenly rediscovers his love for Good Wife, sees Creep Child is a creep.
Good Wife survives because of the miracle of love. Hates Douchebag though. So he is deprived of booty. But not for long! Plot twist plot twist happens. Mr Subramanian liberally borrows plots from my favourite Higashino’s Malice and Journey Under the Midnight Sun (Grrrr! I didn’t think he even reads!)!
And then finally turns out *SPOILERS AHEAD* HR guy was evil malice man and was also getting it on with Creep Child. Douchebag after wonderful justifications of adultery in the first half suddenly changes his mind and pretty much slut shames Creep Child. Mr Rakesh Maria makes an appearance as Mr Ramesh Karia (an ardent fan!) and is a crucial part of the climax. Good Wife forgives Douchebag. Creep Child gets her bestseller but quits writing. I can’t even remember what happened to HR Guy. And Douchebag’s good kid? Nope..Not a clue what happened to that one.
Features cringeworthy uncleji lovemaking scenes (Sample this: ‘”Oh my gawddd,” he exclaimed as he opened her shirt, discovering she wasn’t wearing a brassierie. “You are faster than I thought, my pussy cat,” he exclaimed.’ *shudders*)
AND there is also a movie coming. Kill.Me.Now.
BONUS: Some Quotable Quotes
This subtle dig at Chetan Bhagat:
‘”And just to remind you, Aditya too writes commercial fiction. Their genre is the same. If CB won’t do, then Aditya too won’t do.”
“But Aditya has stature.”‘
This self-endorsement like a boss:
‘The Grishams of Banking was the title on the page. It was an article on how Indian bankers were taking to writing books as if it were going out of fashion. There were interviews with Ravi Subramanian, Amish Tripathi and himself, all bankers.’
This advice on writing bestsellers:
‘Reading about someone else’s woes and crying bucketfuls is a national pastime. Unrelated people dying for no fault of theirs, tears, sob stories . . . These are all formulae for success.’
This killer (self-?) introduction:
‘Not only is Aditya a banking professional par excellence, he is also India’s numero uno writer [. . .] Two of his bestsellers have already been made into films. And that’s not all; unlike the rest of his breed, Aditya Kapoor has managed to achieve the unusual feat of keeping the masses and critics equally enthused. [. . .] Ladies and gentleman, presenting to you, the Paperback King of India, Aditya Kapoor, India’s most successful author . . . ever!’
And more gross uncleji lovemaking:
‘”Look at them, Ohhhh! How much I love them,” he muttered as his tongue unleashed a fierce lapping on her right nipple as his hand mauled the left one.’