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Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: The Blogging Affair by Manu

Details about the book:
Title: The Blogging Affair
Author: Manu
No. of Pages: 339
Publishers: Frog Books

(Complimentary review copy sent by author)

When author Manu first sent me a request for doing a book review of his book 'The Blogging Affair' I was a little sceptical. The author seemed quite unsure about his own book, telling me over and over again in the many mail exchanges that I could refuse to read his book, or that if I read it, he really hoped I would like it. I was wondering what it was that was bugging this author so much, especially as I have interacted with many other Indian authors who are, to be honest, terrible, and should not be allowed to come up with another book ever, but still feel like they are among the elite 'intellectual' set already. There was none of that 'me' syndrome in this author though.

When I read the extract of the book I actually wanted to read it. And yet again, I was wondering why this author was so low on self-confidence. I stopped myself from reading anything about the book or the author on the net, and wanted to see for myself what this was all about. So I waited for the book.

The book did not disappoint at all. In fact, I can tell you this that, of all the self-published Indian author crap that I have been forced to read till date, this author is ACTUALLY GOOD! I wasn't hoping this at all and my expectations with the book were real low. But boy, was there good writing and some brains behind what was written in the book! The book manages to catch your attention from the very first page and the best part is, your attention stays almost on all the pages.

I won't divulge much of the plot here as the book is a mystery that will have you flip the pages in a rush to reach the end and find out what's going on. To give you a little idea about the storyline, 'a young woman's body is found murdered in a suburban flat. The evidence reveals an affair with a married man. One detective comes across an anonymous blog and it sheds truth upon the case. The ramblings capture the ebb and flow of a criminal's mind - and a murder of lust and betrayal; a sex-crazed husband wants the best of both worlds; the love of his wife and the challenge and raw passion of his mistress.' 

As you may have guessed by now, the book explores the world of lust, the world of hidden affairs and passions, those that must be kept away from others, but cannot be hidden from the self for long. And it's soon enough that the protagonist realises that the line that separates these two worlds is actually getting blurry. What the reader gets is a look at various blog entries that move from the present to the past. These are personal ramblings of the blogger, giving us a peek into his mind and what is going on around him and with the two loves who are inhabiting his world together. Through these entries we gain an insight into the two very different people who fulfill the blogger's different need for love at different times, but who are soon threatening to come too close for comfort, in a way that will surely bring the blogger's world crashing down.

I really enjoyed the detailing and the 'different' writing style of Manu. Not many have attempted this kind of a story in India. And especially one that deals with sex, self-gratification, lust and raw uninhibited sex. These are all real emotions that we, as real human beings, irrespective of being Indian or otherwise, do feel. But I am a little sad for this book as I am not sure how maturely our Indian reader will go through the pages, without trying to turn all moral and matronly. While reading this book, please bear in mind that these things do happen in real life and it is high time that we start accepting this in our literature as well.

The interaction amongst the cops was something that wasn't particularly interesting to me and I did skip a few pages here and there while the cops were busy dealing with each other.

To be honest, there are a lot of negative reviews online about this book, but the main reason I will give credit to this author is for attempting to write on a subject like this. The typo errors are a concern of the publishers and I am not surprised that this is yet again a book by Frog Books/Leadstart Publishing, who seem to be hell-bent on looting a large amount from self-publishing authors and not put any effort into editing a book. But still, this is one of the more 'correct' books I have read in terms of grammar and typo that has come out of the said publishing house. Have a look at their other books, you would feel saddened that Indian authors who want to self-publish have nowhere else to go rather than this shit hole called LeadStart Publishing/FrogBooks!

I did figure out the killer in a much earlier chapter, but the fun part was to see how the author was still going to keep the suspense going. I am not disappointed. Come on now, let's give the guy some credit. It's a first book and how many of us have actually liked Chetan Bhagat or Arundhati Roy's writing???!!! And look how those two names have become synonymous with Indian writing! Sad! Manu does deserve better than the negativity there is online about his work, but each one to his/her opinion.

I will give this book three hearts: GOOD


- Debolina Raja Gupta