I am a huge fan of narratives that take into account more than one perspective on any issue or story. Of “Vantage Point” style narratives, the judgement is left to discretion of the reader. You might want to take a strong stance against the criminal when you read or hear about the crime, by absolutely being dismissive of caring about the opposite narrative. Many a times, it is due to the fact that the crime is ridden on “sympathy” and “hatred” as its back bone.
Book #: 26
Title: “The Association of Small Bombs- a novel” by Karan Mahajan
Karan Mahajan’s “The Association of Small Bombs” is a vantage point-isque narrative of a bomb blast in a market in Delhi. It effects multiple parties that got attached into the web of death at various corners of the mesh. There are two brothers, their surviving friend, two families – one grief struck, other relieved, one terrorist – who suffers from the problems that every one of us could encounter.
The success of this novel depends on how you perceive the killers / terrorists. There are many of them- influenced a lot by revenge and not as much by radicalism. There are no screams of “Allah” after the bomb blast. But, their fight is honest – they want Kashmir and revenge for Gujarat Riots.
Karan Mahajan wins with his simplistic writing- no Americanized or Europeanized terminologies. The writing stays within the boundaries of the sub-continent where story happens. The phrases you use are from those of regular basis- no barrier between written and spoken language.
The only shortcoming, if you want to call it, is the way in which the book ends. There is an un-triggered rush towards the end and you would have wished it to run for a few more yards. Overall, Karan Mahajan’s “The Association of Small Bombs” is an absolute winner within the framework it operates and presents you with the multiple versions of the story. You are the jury to decide who is on which of this webbed association? – the one who triggered it or the circumstances.