Sunday, January 11, 2009

Book Review: "White Man Falling"

Book Review: “White Man Falling”

Author: Mike Stock

Publisher: Harper Collins

White Man Falling is quite interesting title for any book; it certainly raised my curiosity level so much that I picked up this book right away. And the book does not disappoint me at all. This book is written by Mike Stock. This is his first novel. As his name Mike Stock suggest he is not Indian citizen but still he able to write is first novel based in India. This may be because although his name does not tell his true nationality. He is Indian or he might be traveling in India for long time. If he is just a traveler then work he did is commendable as his portrayal of a Indian family, their emotions, their beliefs, rituals and their psychologies is spot on. He did his research very well and accurately.

The introduction of novel says that this is some kind of comic book, and when you read the plot you also have same feeling. It is a story based in a small city of south India. There is one Sub-Inspector R. M. Swaminathan who is prematurely retired from service as he got paralyzed while beating up a thief. Book tells the story of his troublesome life where he has to mind big family consist of wife and six daughters. With six daughters his worries multiplied six times because he has to make arrangement for the dowries of all six daughters. And all this he has to manage in his paltry disability pension.

When I read this much details I thought it will be like any other Indian story in which poor father with many daughter try all sort of legal, illegal ways with lots of funny twists in it as the book is self proclaimed comedy. But what book tells his somewhat different story. There is a twist in the story, twist of white man falling. So book has a perfect title to go with.

As retired Sub-inspector R. M. Swaminathan going through his misery days when he was not able to cope with his handicapped life and pressure of marrying his daughters. He also made many suicide attempts but that too proved unsuccessful. One such misery full day when he was roaming in the city a white man that is a white skinned foreigner falls from sky at his feet. And then onwards his life totally speeds up things start happening with him. At first things took bad turn so dejected again he tries ro end his life again. This time his attempt with some one else’s help gets more successful and he reached to comma. And when he gets out of comma he finds whole new world waiting for him. The same white man and comma helps him to be a spiritual guru of people and all the negative things around him turn positive by it self.

The book reminds you the work of famous Indian author R. K. Narayan. Especially his book Malgudi Days but it may solely because both are based in South India. The book has many comic elements so it can be called as comedy but it is mainly because of the first part of the book. Second part is more serious stuff with some pinch of comedy. It has little element of “Sorry Bhai” by that I mean one of the daughters fall in love with a brother of her supposed to be Groom. That is really well crafted plot in the book. I enjoyed that the most.

Overall it was fun to read this book and I will suggest all of you to read it. If I have to rate the book I will give 7 out of 10.

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