Monday, 25 January 2016

Book review: Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja

I read this book because I expected a translation of the author's depressions, hallucinations and the psychotic episode he suffered (as per his own admission in the book), into a good piece of psychological novel. However, I was sorely disappointed.

Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja is a confusing piece of work. The writing is bland and impersonal and makes no connect with the reader. The clinical and detached narrative prevents a reader from empathising with the characters.

The plot movement was confusing and chaotic and I couldn't follow it at all. The relationship between Monty and Virginia is not established properly. How did Monty know Waqas (who, as I understood, was Virginia’s client)? How did Virginia and Monty become close enough for her to visit Monty at his home? Is Monty dead or alive? Why is he experiencing Gulabi after have hanged himself from the ceiling of his house? There is no coherence of any sort here.

Virginia acts as a foil to Monty in a way, but the narrative parallel is not poignantly drawn. The ending was also inconclusive. While I understand that both Virginia and Monty learnt to cope with their situations, I could neither sympathise nor care for them. For me, a book must not only contain a story but also tell it well. There is no attempt at artistry in this work and it failed to delight me in any way.

*I was given this book by the author for an honest review. 
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