Monday, 24 December 2018

Book Review #113 : Patna Blues

Book :- Patna Blues

Author :- Abdullah Khan

Publisher :- Juggernaut

First thing first. I would like to express my utmost gratitude to Mr. Abdullah Khan for entrusting me with the review for his debut book ‘Patna Blues’.

"Patna Blues" revolves around three main characters; Arif, a Muslim boy from the lower-middle-class family who dreams of becoming an official of the IAS and changing the fortune of his family. Zakir, Arif's younger brother and an aspiring actor who eventually becomes a victim of the fascist side of India. The love of his life, Sumitra, a mature married Hindu woman. Arif and Sumitra, two amateur poets, share their love and passion for Urdu poetry. Urdu Shayaris are the fragrance of this story which will certainly make you fall in love with them.

The book is hard cover and the cover looks very good with a picture of a young boy who plants a lots of questions and curiosity in the reader's mind.

The book illuminates the post-Babri life of Indian Muslims too. The way the author has explained the life of a Muslim boy or a Muslim family in the Hindu majority India is the highlight of the book.

The book is a heart-wrenching tale from dream to destiny with a gripping storyline and admirable characters. It explores the various taboos existing in our society and highlights the hostility towards Muslims. The characters are relatable inspired from those who we have met at some point in our lives. My most loved character is that of Arif, a boy who despite of several hurdles doesn’t lose hope. His relationship with his family and friends is warm and pleasant.

The book is a gripping read which doesn’t allow you to take a break from it. At one point, it seems that Arif is a reflection of the author himself. The distinct portrayal of emotions make this novel an interesting yet realistic read.

Patna Blues does full justice to its title. As we accompany Arif Khan, the protagonist, along his life’s path, mostly strewn with speed breakers, pothole’s and occasionally down gravel filled paths as he trips and falls, again and again, we can’t help but root for him to do better: to pass the all important IAS exam this time, somehow be with the woman of his dreams, help his Abba with the financial burden that wears his lower middle class police officer father down, find his beloved younger brother Zakir who the police have picked up one dark night and then have denied picking up.

There are a lot of scenes and incidents that take place and are left unexplained as to why it happened or what exactly happened. I humbly demand him a sequel. The author writes lucid language that is relatable and understandable. The narration is a combination of crispiness, ornamentation and a bit of a drag at places.

I recommend this book to one and all. Especially to those who wants to try out new storylines, that are different from the unusual boy-meet-girl tale. It is a heartrending tale that would eventually pull the reader to the very depth of the narration. The ending is touching, a feast to the readers’ soul and perhaps the best part of the book.

Rating - 4.5/5

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