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Posts Tagged ‘bestsellers’

I apologise if it appears I’m blowing my own trumpet (which I am), but when you read this, you’ll understand why. I came across this recently and it really made my day:

“This book was marketed as Indian chicklit, part of a new wave in Indian publishing. Well it does have a spunky, 20-something female as the lead character; but the reason I liked it (and no I’m not trying to be snotty about chicklit…for the record, I LOVE chicklit) was because it’s an intricate murder mystery too.

For Indian readers who grew up reading Agatha Christie and felt sorry for themselves because they believed they could never relish that pleasure in an Indian form…well…there’s hope. Now, now… Jain is no Christie. Judging from her glam author photo and bio, she might even take offence at being compared to a badly dressed tame dame, no matter how successful. But she sure possesses a talent for dragging you, protestingly at first, through a hundred twists and turns to finally catch the killer.

There are a bunch of interesting suspects who are all linked to each other and to the victim in rather complex ways. Jain keeps all these connections, cross-connections, and revelations moving along smoothly as she weaves her way to the climax. And she does all this without subverting any of your cherished beliefs such as: a) highly-placed murderers never get caught in India b) Mumbai traffic is BAD c)and Indian policemen are lazy and inefficient. They might be lazy and inefficient but they can solve murders when they want to…as long as they have a nutty TV writer and her hot squeeze of a serious author to help them.

Policeman Gaitonde is my favourite character in the book…I find myself saying ‘actuities’ and ‘hau’ every now and then…try it…your tongue twists interestedly around them…in a way it never will around ‘activities’ and ‘have’. Some of the characters are rather cliched but they help to build the atmosphere. I’m convinced it will be made into a movie soon…I had the feeling I was not reading a book so much as watching a fun thriller–a blend of Ram Gopal Varma and the Rajat Kapoor/Vinay Pathak stable.”

Read the original review here.

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I recently received an invite for a discussion of Jeffrey Archer’s Paths of Glory at the Taj President. At first I thought of declining. I mean, the Taj President! It’s 30 kms away! But then two things clinched it for me. The fact that my publishers were going to be there and the words ‘cocktails and snacks,’ printed in bold letters on the invite.

Accordingly, I called a cab (did I mention there was going to be booze?) at 6.30 p.m. It takes about two hours to travel from Andheri to town and I didn’t I didn’t want to be a loser and arrive at the dot of 8 which is when the event was scheduled to begin. Of course, that was the day traffic decided to let up and I ended up reaching at 7.56 anyway.

So, trying to look all dignified, I made straight for the concierge and asked him where the Library Bar was, like that was where I had wanted to go in the first place. He looked at me strangely and said the Library Bar had closed down some four years ago and there was a new lounge in place called the Wink. The Wink! Man, they need more imaginative planners.

Anyway, I ordered a beer and tried to linger over it. But habits of a lifetime die a hard death and I found myself glancing anxiously at my watch every two minutes. Till I heard an unmistakably English accent. An educated English accent. The voice was coming from somewhere to my right. I peered into the dark recesses and noticed an elderly Englishman sitting there with two Indians. Was he…? And then he mentioned the name George Mallory. Yup, he was Jeffery Archer all right.

So I relaxed, sipped my beer more leisurely and listened to ol’ Jeff crib about Indians’ time management skills. “What is with Indians? I mean, they arrive for a 3.30 meeting at 4.30 and if you ask them the reason for their tardiness they look all surprised and say but it’s only 4.30!” I found that quite funny and managed to snort beer into my nostrils while trying to laugh silently.

His talk was quite well-graphed. I guess it helps when you’ve sold millions of copies and have done this often. He knew when to make the audience laugh with his anecdotes – “a ten year old in Chennai told me that he’s read all my books and even thought one or two quite good” – and he knew when to insert a serious point, like the impressive sales figures of his books, notably Kane and Abel and Not a Penny More….

He made fun of the famous English snobbery and, in the same breath, betrayed his obvious pride in being an Oxford man himself and in being titled. Subtly, of course. As in recounting something someone had said to him. “And then he says to me, ‘Lord Archer, you do realise that save for two premises, your book has no validity.’ And he’s absolutely right!”

During the q&a session people asked him the usual stupid questions like advice for aspiring writers. Why would people ask him that? He’s been a bestselling author for over 30 years! He’s forgotten what it is to be a struggling writer. Ask him what he does with all the money.

And then the booze flowed…I don’t remember what happened afterwards.

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