Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: Sethji by Shobhaa De

On the jacket:

Sethji is the head of the ABSP, a crucial coalition partner in the government. Shrewd, ruthless and an inveterate fighter, he is a man who refuses to play by any moral codes or lose a single battle. Easing his way is Amrita, his ravishing and aloof daughter-in-law who guards her own secrets. But when two of the country’s most powerful men team up to challenge Sethji, the wily old politican has to fight the deadliest battle of his life – a battle in which he must stake everything. The one person he is forced to trust is Amrita, a woman who gives nothing away, not even to Sethji. Exposing the dark, venal heart of Indian politics, Sethji is a powerful novel about ambition, greed – and above all trust. Gripping, revelatory and absolutely unputdownable, this is De at her dazzling best. 

Published by           Penguin Books India
Published               1 Nov 2012
ISBN                     139780143102595
Extent                   304pp
Category               Fiction, Politics, Current Affairs
Binding                  Paperback
Language              English
Price                     (Rs.)250.00


Seriously? *Yawn*

This was my first Shobhaa De novel and I was totally disappointed. There was nothing to speak for it, and the author has attempted to ensure the book sells with a lot of cheap sleaze and crude language. Doesn't matter if the plot was set in India, it's an English novel and seriously speaking, Hindi road-side abuses are not so cool while reading.

I started reading the book, thinking it's about Sethji. But no! I was down to 100 pages, and all I was reading about was, Amrita, his daughter-in-law. Characters were loosely formed, and in the political scenario described, it isn't rocket science to link the characters to real life politicians of the country. Sethji was clearly inspired by Sitaram Kesri and Bhau, by Balasaheb Thakarey. 

The plot majorly covers politics, real estate, bollywood, corporate world and even law, but how the book begins is enough to turn on off. The first chapter talks of how Sethji gets his massage, with intricate details of his body parts. For a moment, one might get fooled to believe, that the maalishwaala has an important role later! The daughter-in-law is the only woman in the family of three men and in some way or the other, all of them are dependent on her. She is exploited to the core. At a moment, one wonders -- why! Wouldn't the story have been possible if she was a little less exploited?

As I said, this was my first Shobhaa De paperback; I wish I have never made this attempt. I agree with her views or not, she is more interesting to read in her columns. The book reminded me of a very faint and feeble attempt to be Jackie Collins.

Rating: **/5

[This is a personal review]

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