Saturday, April 27, 2013

Anurag Kumar - Remembrance

Anurag Kumar has brought out another book, Remembrance, a sequel to his previous Recalcitrance.  Here is a quick look at what I wrote about it.
 I am quoting from the blurbs here: "Anurag is a freelance journalist.  He belongs to a very old family of Lucknow which witnessed the events of 1857.  Ever since childhood he was fascinated by the Great Uprising"
1857 was indeed a very tumultuous time and there were surely some great stories that can be written on that period.  My favorite is Ruskin Bond's "A flight of pigeons".

Recalcitrance follows the lives of two friends Chote Bhaiyya and Narinderlal who happen to witness the events that take place in Lucknow at close quarters.  Chote Bhaiyya finds himself smitten by a muslim girl, but cannot find the courage to act in time to get close to her.
The problem with the book - despite a story that should practically tell itself, after all the events were happening so rapidly at the time - is that it gives out a very disjointed feel.  It proceeds from one event to another without any apparent link. There is no attempt to bring together the events at any later chapter either. Several characters are not named  but referred to ambiguously like, "a holy man", a "general" etc.  I got the feeling that the author is trying to point to some important historical figures of the time, but I failed to place them.

This incoherence spoils the story and I wish the author had worked harder on it, because it is apparent that the subject is very close to his heart.

Remembrance continues with the story of Chhote Bhaiyya and Narinderlal.   The Great Uprising is over, and the persons involved with it have to return to their normal lives.  Chhote Bhaiyya returns to his father, and tries to settle himself in his family business.  His wish to do something to upset the British rule has not gone, and he is merely looking for the right opportunity.

The story here is very sound, as was the case with Recalcitrance.  There is some improvement as the narration is not as disjointed as was in the previous book.   The story needs some detailing and fleshing out though,  it is written more like a summary, a rapid fire listing of events.  The language needs some serious editing as well.

 The market is inundated with books on romance and 'coming-of-age' stuff.  This theme is repetitive and boring.  In comparison, the subject of this book is refreshing.  I only wish the author had worked harder on this subject and made the books better.


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