Wednesday, September 14, 2016

#411 : An Afghan Winter by Rajesh Talwar : Review

They made me invisible, shrouded and non-being
A shadow, no existence, made silent and unseeing
Denied of freedom, confined to my cage
Tell me how to handle my anger and my rage?"

Zieba Shorish-Shamley, ("Look into my World”)
​Zieba’s quote about the state of a woman’s life in Afghan made me shiver in pain. Afghanistan has been a literal playground for religious fanatics to meddle with the lives of innocent people. I’ve grown up reading reports and articles about the atrocities committed in the name of religion, the religion in question being Islam. The Islam I know is a peaceful religion. It’s the people who are violent. At one point I stopped following such stories and articles. When this book came up for review I couldn’t just let it pass.

The story is set primarily in Kabul. Technically, as far as I’ve read up, Kabul is a Taliban stronghold. Our protagonist Anzan, a Nepali-Indian journalist is on deputation to train young print and broadcast journalists. During his stay there, he fosters a friendship with an American, who is with the Ministry of Youth. A bomb explodes in the American’s room and he is instantly killed. Anzan investigates his death by putting to use his journalistic instincts.

The plot is layered very well and was devoid of logical loopholes. The pacing is a tad slow but it was justified by actual plot in itself. A good mystery should be unwrapped patiently and savored bite by bite like chocolate. That’s precisely what this writer has managed to achieve. In the process of uncovering the mystery, he managed to blend in flavors of loss, love and friendship to the story. Each suspect is justified with proper motive and means. The writer made stellar use of the motive part of the story to elaborate about Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the involvement of American. He has also put to use the internal conflicts among the Muslims – The infamous rivalry between Shia and Sunni Muslims. It is evident that the writer has experienced Afghanistan first hand. The writing is spot on. Given the subject and the setting, it is an easier alternative to weave an emotional tale of loss and pain. Surprisingly, this writer picked the difficult route by keeping the emotions in check and taking a methodical-logical approach to solve the murder. The characterization is also perfect. I did find it a bit difficult to understand the crux of each character initially, but as the story progressed, the writer kept adding dimensions to each character. I was surprised to note that this book is self-published. The cover could have been better. That is my only qualm with the book.

MY SAY: A perfect thriller.


About The Book

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Digital

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Tales Pensive review program in exchange for an honest review. 

1 comment:

  1. I want to savour this chocolate bit by bit. Planning to pick this book.