Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Shiva Trilogy

It's not very often that we Indians come across books from our compatriots which turn out to be page turners. Sure we have the Amitav Ghosh-s and the Kiran Desai-s, but the mass market popular paperbacks are what is lacking here. Chetan Bhagat broke that seemingly insurmountable barrier with Five Points Someone.

Amish Tripathi has taken it one step further. His books, The Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of the Nagas, which is a sequel to the former, have found admirers among many Indian readers who would have otherwise been loath to the idea of reading formulaic books. The Shiva Trilogy (the final book in the series yet to be released) is an epic retelling of the tale of Shiva, a subject rarely dealt with in popular culture. Amish has clearly done his research and starts off with the premise that claims Shiva as a human being who was elevated to the stature of god for his virtues and his deeds. Thus identifying with Shiva, all of sudden, for the reader is not really as difficult as it would have been had he been a god.

Writing a book on a topic yet to be 'discovered' has its advantages. But thankfully, Amish doesnt seem to take his readers for granted. Action packed to the point of being a thriller, both the novels are absolute page turners. 'Unputdownable', I'd say (as a certain newspaper in Kolkata promises to its readers).

It's not literature though and the amateurish (or populist?) writing can at times get to you, but the sheer magnanimity of the main plot, the well thought out subplots and the adequately if not well developed characters lend a certain charm to these novels, not found in most tales by Indian authors these days.

I will go as far as this, Amish is definitely the GRRM of Indian literature as of now. The scale of the plot is as grandiose as A Song of Ice and Fire. A must read. 

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