Review of Scammed – Confessions of a Confused Accountant

Scammed – Confessions of a Confused Accountant

by Anonymous

Silverfish/ Westland

Rs 175

Why would someone write a novel and not disclose his/her identity? Is the novel in question mired in controversies? These were the questions racing across my mind when I picked up “SCAMMED Confessions of a Confused Accountant” from the book-store. The novel tells the story of a man – Hitesh Shah – with swinging fortunes. Hitesh Shah works for an accounting and audit firm known as Smith & Donald as an Assistant Manager. He is gifted with honesty, hard-working nature and a temperament that doesn’t allow him to say no to any task given to him by his boss. Although he is the most hard working employees of the firm, he is never considered for either a promotion or a good pay-hike. To make matters worse, his parents have been pushing him to marry the girl they are going to select for him.

Suffice it to say that life is not all that rosy for the harried Hitesh Shah. He is a tortured soul both at office and home. Soon his fortunes are about to change in the manner nobody could predict. He lands in Vizag on an assignment to audit Supreme Motors plant owned by one Mr Reddy who operates out of Hyderabad. Mr. Reddy is a businessman and a film producer with strong political links. The protagonist’s honesty touches Mr. Reddy’s heart and soon he makes him an offer that Hitesh Shah cannot refuse.

From here on the story moves at breathtaking space. The rise of Hitesh Shah from a lowly Assistant Manager to the CEO of Super Cabs is the toast of the entire country. He is rich, famous, powerful and well-respected professional with his feet firmly on the ground. But somewhere along the way he has made powerful enemies who have been lurking around the corner to strike at the right moment. What follows is a thrilling tale of retribution and the near downfall of protagonist. The life is suddenly downhill for him with his lady love deserting him and the bosses turning up the heat.

But Hitesh Shah is made up of sterner stuff. He believes in never saying never. He vows to take the fight to the enemy camp. It is really interesting to read how he emerges smelling of roses in style. How he teaches his enemies a lesson and how he wins the love of a very innocent girl Payal.

“SCAMMED Confessions of a Confused Accountant” is a sure page turner. The plot has interesting ups and downs taking the reader on a roller-coaster ride. It is like a game of chess in which after every move the pendulum keeps swinging to and fro. Some readers may find it difficult to come to terms with the sudden turn around in the protagonist’s future. The troubles too begin when the reader is least expecting them. But this is where the strength of this novel lies. Take the reader by surprise without allowing him a chance to think what next now.

The verdict : “SCAMMED Confessions of a Confused Accountant is an exciting read for those who want to quicken their heart-beats after a hectic day at work.

First published on http://xetcr.wordpress.com/ by Irfan, an upcoming blogger/ writter

Source – http://xetcr.wordpress.com/ and Grey Oak Publishers

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Review: Jimmy the terrorist

Jimmy the Terrorist by Omair Ahmad

Published by Hamish Hamilton

In Moazzamabad, Uttar Pradesh—a place that is too large to be a town and too backward to be a city—a young man stabs a police inspector and is beaten to death. The last words he speaks are, “My name is Jimmy the Terrorist.” Journalists descend on the town, ‘like shrill birds’, and a long-time resident decides to tell a story that none of them will know.

Jimmy was once Jamaal, son of Rafiq Ansari of Rasoolpur Mohalla, a Muslim neighbourhood in a Hindu town. His story goes back a long way: to the time when Moazzamabad was named, after Aurangzeb’s son; when Rafiq was seduced by the wealth and refinements of Shabbir Manzil and married Shaista; when the Hanuman temple grew 10 storeys high and the head priest was elected mayor; when Shaista died, a mosque was brought down in Ayodhya and Rafiq became a mullah. As Jamaal grows up, watching both his father and his neighbourhood change and curfew reach Moazzamabad, he is changed himself. He becomes Jimmy, one among the countless marginalised, trying to find a place in the world, dimly aware that the choices that shape their lives are being made in distant places, where they have no influence.

Read the rest of the review on Helter Skelter

Down the Road – Asian Age Review

Review of Down the Road by R Chandrasekar (Author of The Goat, the sofa & Mr. Swami)

The years we spend finishing school and then attending college are special ones. More than any other periods of our lives, these are the years that we recall with nostalgia, these are the years where the good times seemed never-ending, the years where tragedies and difficult times were easily banished, the years when the years ahead held no fears, only possibilities.

Writing about the campus years has become an important part of Indian fiction writing. Schools and colleges in India had (and have) a cast of characters: teachers, students and staff, and settings: classrooms, canteens, hostels and tea shops, that haven’t changed in decades. The dramas played out against these seemingly nondescript backdrops find expression in the stories brought together in Down the Road.
The 28 stories in this collection talk about loves and friendships lost and gained, student pranks and personal tragedies, inspiring teachers and horrible ones, hostels and classrooms, youngsters and those looking back to their campus years with nostalgia.

 

Read the rest of the review on Asian Age – http://www.asianage.com/books/campus-scrapbook-380

Down the Road cover

Delhi is not far: Review

Book Review
Delhi is not far by Ruskin Bond
A novella
Published by Penguin India
Rs 150
Momentous things happen elsewhere, in the big cities of Nehru‘s India. In dull and dusty Pipalnagar, each day is like another, and ‘there is not exactly despair, but resignation’. Even the dreams here are small: if he ever makes it to Delhi, Deep Chand, the barber, will open a more up-to-date salon where he might, perhaps, give the Prime Minister a haircut; Pitamber will trade his cycle-rickshaw for the less demanding scooter-rickshaw; Aziz will be happy with a junk-shop in Chandni Chowk. None, of course, will make that journey to Delhi.
Adrift among them, the narrator, Arun, a struggling writer of detective novels in Urdu, waits for inspiration to write a blockbuster. One day he will pack his meagre belongings and take the express train out of Pipalnagar. Meanwhile, he seeks reassurance in love, and finds it in unusual places: with the young prostitute Kamla, wise beyond her years; and the orphan Suraj, homeless and an epileptic, yet surprisingly optimistic about the future.
This little gem is a departure from the affable Mr. Bond’s usual writings. Its not a ghost story and it isn’t set in the hills of Mussoorie or the plains of Dehradun. Instead, this one begins and ends in little Pipalnagar. A place where people wait, in most cases for a lifetime, to move on to a better life. Ruskin Bond paints a vivid and nostalgic picture of small town life in Nehru’s India, the little lanes, the barbershop in town, the customs one followed, the small talk between town-folk who all happen to know each other. It transports you to a time and age in India’s history where people had simple aspirations of a better life, and underlying that, a sense of contentment in their lives. Their lives were limited not just by the size of the town but also their mindset as most didn’t know about what lay for them outside the dusty lanes of Pipalnagar.
The treatment is contemplative and brooding. Perhaps it was written at a time when Ruskin Bond was struggling to sell his stories and make a living. He has a keen sense of place and time, and the characters from Kamla, Arun and Suraj to Aziz, Deep Chand, Ramu

Book Cover

and Pitambar, have been well fleshed out through their mannerisms and reflections on life. A beautiful piece in Indian literature about life in the forgotten towns. One that can be put away after reading and can be revisited on a rainy day.

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

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Published by Vintage

A review

This is a gripping thriller by Graham Greene, a pulp, gangster novel set in London that was adapted into a film starring the outstanding Richard Attenborough, in his career break through role as the razor wielding Pinkie. It has been adapted again this year by film maker Rowan Joffe, with Sam Riley playing Pinkie and Helen Mirren as Ida.

The story is one of good vs evil. A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen year old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man, Hale. Believing that he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life embracing Ida who wants to bring justice to Hale’s death which she believes is a murder as he was being followed, while the police believe he died of natural causes.

There are two people who know the truth. Spicer, a member of Pinkie’s gang, who knows too much, and who Pinkie ruthlessly murders. Then there is Rose, a pale, young waitress from a cafe who knows more than she should. Pinkie intends to marry her and takes an oath of silence from her, promising to protect her and build a life together. She in turn is frail, and is stupidly in love with him, thus not giving a testimony that could implicate him in two murders. She portrays moments great strength and devotion towards Pinkie, when she refuses to reveal anything despite being cajoled, threatened and scolded by Ida Arnold who hounds her to let out the truth. To add to the mix there is the bumbling Cubbitt, a gang member who falls out with Pinki but is hilariously rejected by the other gang who have no use for him. Colleoni, the more dangerous leader of the rival gang who attempts to cut up Pinki in broad daylight, with an ambition to control Brighton. Dallow, is Pinki’s trusted aide who wants no more blood spilled and tries to reason with him and talk him out of murdering Rose, whom he finds innocent and endearing. Phil Cockery, is Ida’s accomplice in helping her unravel the truth.

This is a brilliant, visual portrayal of low life and gang wars in the early 20th century. It depicts good against evil. The religious, Pinki who hates sex and believes that it is a sin, is adeptly crafted as a merciless and dangerous psychopath, scarred by his childhood memories, and with the foolish ambition to take on the might of Colleoni. He has the opportunity to redeem himself, to leave Brighton with the girl and never return, as Dallow tells him. But he fails to take up the opportunity. He is bent against killing anyone who can testify against him. He is pitted against Ida Arnold who doesn’t seem to believe in religion, and treats sex as a necessary part of life, but is nevertheless good hearted and has good intentions. There are many scenes that come across as funny, where Cubbit tries to lure a gang member of Colleoni, the exchange between the immature, Rose, and the scheming, Pinki loathes and despises her, and feels repulsive towards her, and Pinki’s visit to see her parents who as Rose explains, ‘have a mood’. In all, an outstanding crime drama with vivid descriptions and a cinematic climax which haunts you long after you’ve turned the last page.

Review by: Ahmed Faiyaz, a book lover, who wishes to spend most of his time sipping chai and taking long walks in quiet hill stations alternating it with lying in a hammock and reading all day. He is the author of the bestselling, Love, life & all that jazz…and Another Chance. His stories have appeared in Urban Shots, published by Grey Oak Publishers. He is also a guest reviewer of books for Asian Age/ Deccan ChronicleHelter Skelter India and The Tossed Salad.

Book Cover

Gabriel’s Gift by Hanif Khureshi

Published by Faber and Faber

A Review

Gabriel. a 15-year-old North London schoolboy, is forced to come to terms with a new life once the equilibrium of the family has been shattered by his father’s departure. His father, Rex, a small time musician who missed the bus, who spends most of his time in the pub, is thrown out of the house by Christine, his waitress wife who supports the family. Gabriel’s confused and immature parents are busy making messes of their lives. Rex, moves to live in tiny room where he lies moping around, at times being hound by the landlord whom he owes money to. Christine, takes up with a younger man, who has little more than a passing interest in her, but doesn’t seem ready to commit. With only Archie, his dead twin brother whom he can talk to, who gives him advice, Gabriel is in a dilemma over his confused parents who are going through a mid – life crisis. But Gabriel has a “gift” that helps him to make sense of his world — he can paint. He receives encouragement from Lester Jones, a famous rock star, whom his Dad once played with over a sketch he did for him. Both his parents see a ray of hope in their life, and try to make something out of it for themselves, Rex tries to sell it for food and booze. Gabriel has a sense of hope in his talent and works on making a film, while helping his parents put their life back together.

Hanif Khureishi, tells a moving and funny tale of a dysfunctional family of strugglers, a father who holds on to his past glory days, or the lack of too many of them, who wallows over lost chances or drinks himself to misery, a woman who feels resentment against a man who can’t pull it together, and a child who is hopeful, intelligent, funny, with a strange connection to his dead twin. The supporting cast is made up of vivid and interesting characters, Lester Jones, the enigmatic rock star who has kept it together despite the fame, Carlo, the young wannabe musician, who regards Rex as a wanker; Hannah, the immigrant housekeeper whom Gabriel has craftily wrapped around his fingers, and the eccentric Speedy who wants to sit for a portrait of himself. The dialogues are funny, and really bring out finer nuances of these characters. Some really hilarious scenes are woven into the plot – Speedy sitting for a portrait, Rex and Gabriel running away from the pub after an altercation one day.

The front cover

This is possibly among the most cheerful of Khureshi’s work ending on a note of hope, where the family works towards rebuilding a better future for themselves.

Review by: Ahmed Faiyaz, a book lover, who wishes to spend most of his time sipping chai and taking long walks in quiet hill stations alternating it with lying in a hammock and reading all day. He is the author of the bestselling, Love, life & all that jazz…and Another Chance. His stories have appeared in Urban Shots, published by Grey Oak Publishers. He is also a guest reviewer of books for Asian Age/ Deccan ChronicleHelter Skelter India and The Tossed Salad.