One week into the New Year and I have already finished two books so yay! In fact, we went binge shopping on books as well this week. Crossword was closing down its outlet at some place and to clear out the stock, they were offering 50% discount on all the books. We got like 20+ from the store including the Ice and Fire series (I have binged on GoT but not on the novels yet) and Agatha Christie collection. I so wanted all her books in my shelf. Expect a load of book reviews coming your way!
Life is all about choices you make, isn’t it? I made one. Why regret it?
Talking about book review, let me start with the first book this year. Ravi Subramaniam has made a mark for corporate thrillers. I had loved his last book God is a Gamer. But, this time he has forayed into the world of publishing and has explored the intricate topic of relationships. The story revolves around a author-turned banker.
The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramaniam Book Review (Read it here)
IN A RELATIONSHIP, PARTICULARLY those that are adulterous in nature, the first time is always the most difficult. That’s the point in time when one’s conscience makes its presence felt the most and people are consumed by regret. Once that bridge is crossed, regret is often forgotten.
A middle-aged author-turned banker is bored with his routine life. Aditya is a vain, insecure narcissistic who finds gratification in flattery. He has a successful run in a banking company after a rough patch and is doing equally well with his book sales. An IIM-B alumni, he comes across Shreya when he goes to his alma mater to deliver a speech. The first encounter does not cater to his ego. On his next visit to IIM-B during the placement season, Aditya finds himself attracted to this very girl.
The attraction increases manifold when Shreya comes to attend his book reading instead of sitting for day zero of company placements. The attraction prompts him to recruit Shreya for his company as one of the management trainee. During this interaction, Shreya asks for his help to write her first book. Back in Mumbai, Aditya is busy in dealing with his unfinished book, approaching deadlines and taking care of his wife, Maya, and son, Aryan.
Shreya and Aditya again meet in Aditya’s office. Their relation prospers when Shreya becomes a part of Aditya’s team. Slowly, they start meeting informally and confess their feeling towards each other. Aditya manages to get her novel approved for publishing by her editor. He was quite confident about his affair after the initial hesitation. In the mean time, Aditya leaves for Kolkatta on a business trip, Shreya goes to attend her outstation office training and Maya visits Paris for a conference.
” … As of now, I am very happy managing both my wife and my girlfriend … (Shreya’s response when Aditya asks for her manuscript)”
Just as she lands in India, Maya finds out about Aditya’s affair and calls up Sanjay to find out the truth. Before Sanjay reaches her place, she is found unconscious in the bathroom by her maid. Sanjay takes her to the hospital where she is diagnosed with Ebola which she picked up in Paris. Aditya rushes to Mumbai once he receives this news. Gradually, he comes to realize his mistake by starting a relationship with Shreya.
Even during this difficult time, Shreya would visit him regularly and pester him to proof read her manuscript. She was lagging behind her deadlines to submit her manuscript. Her ruthless behaviour makes Aditya extremely uncomfortable and he tries to point this to her. Finding her unresponsive, he decides to break his relationship with her. And, here is where the trouble starts.
As I said, this is an uncharted territory for the author. It is quite interesting to note that one would find a lot of similarities between Aditya and Chetan Bhagat whether it is banker turned best selling author or the backstory of how Aditya met his wife. In fact, there is even a reference to Aditya getting an offer to judge a reality dance show and his first book being about an engineering student. Though, Ravi Subramaniam himself hails from IIM-B.
“Are you mad? Don’t be so blinded by the arclights that you make a fool of yourself. You have a huge stature in this industry. Maintain some mystique around yourself. And a reality show? Where is the synergy? …. I hope you didn’t say yes!” (Maya’s response to Aditya’s reality show judge offer)
Aditya is a character who does not invoke a lot of sympathy or love or even hatred from the reader. It is difficult to connect with him. He often comes across as Chetan Bhagat mixed with the protagonist from Lolita when his attraction towards Shreya is described. His character is confusing. He is supposed to be successful but his interaction with his boss portrays him otherwise. One side he seems ruthless, other side he is not sure if people from his office must be fired. Though to his credit, he did have inkling about Shreya’s constancy with him.
As he was driving back that night, Aditya couldn’t help but wonder if she was really in a relationship with him, or she was faking it all just to achieve her goal.
His relation with Shreya is also based on the premise that she feeds his ego whenever she meets him. She seems to be playing him starting from the altercation in the first scene to the moment he sees her true intentions. Still, he needed his wife to be on her death bed to see that Shreya was using him. Whatever be the case, you would not feel happy for him or sorry for him or cry with him and smile with him.
“… Now that it has to go to the biggest author in India. Might as well rework it and bring it up to his standard.”
There are many hanging threads in the story which leave a bad taste in the mouth. For example, there is a hint that the manuscript submitted by Shreya was probably not her own but the story fizzles out without an explanation. Also, in the start of the book, Shreya falls in love with Aditya’s writing. But, no where has even one word of his book been elucidated. It would have been nice to know what she exactly fell in love with. In fact, when Maya decides to breakup with him, the author forgets to mention about how they deal with Arjun, their son. There is no mention!
Overall, the book is an average read. You can finish the book in one sitting though I always love a thriller. Speaking of a thriller, the book does offer a few twists at the end which should NOT be missed 😉