Monday, October 17, 2011

Live from London by Parinda Joshi: Impressions




Remember that infamous comment Sir V S Naipaul’s recently made about women writers being inferior to men? I was reminded of it when I was reading Parinda Joshi’s debut novel, ‘Live from London,’ and was rather ashamed because I too am a woman writer of sorts. I seem to be drawing the wrong lot from Blogadda’s lovely book review program, and this book disappointed me as much as the previous one – also written by a woman. I hope I get lucky the third time around.

My undisguised contempt for chicklit may have much to do with me being in the wrong side of the twenties. I am no longer able to sympathise with the nailpolish concerns of a 21-year-old – the protagonist of ‘Live from London’. Well, the book does have more than just candy floss, as it accords a tiny glimpse of the music industry. The protagonist, Nishi Gupta, hurtles along the pages in a series of fantastic events that finally lead her to stardom.

What has struck me about some of these new Indian authors is their reliance on larger than life plots to cover up for their less-than-impressive writing. The end product is a forgettable tale with sketchy characters acting out improbable situations. What separates them from good writers is that very marked skill of writing extraordinarily about the ordinary.

The most apparent impression of the protagonist Nishi Gupta is that of a typical young NRI, with starry dreams. She could be straight out of the factory of American soaps. The same could be said for the other characters – her best buddies Ria, Sarah, and the rockstar boyfriend, Nick. Her parents, her bosses and the sundry have all been painted in clichéd light. The only exception is the minor character of one of protagonist’s friends, Zac, who is surprisingly different, hence memorable.

The plot, as I’ve mentioned above, is in the fairytale league with good fortunes landing in Nishi’s lot one after the other. Minor hitches have been inserted, as if like afterthoughts, in an attempt to make the plot seem more plausible. Nishi getting a music company internship, finding a rockstar boyfriend, having a covert romance, getting a big break, followed by a breakup, and finally a makeup pretty much covers the plot. There’s one situation in the book in which Nishi accuses a friend of being full of clichés. This book isn’t far from it either.

I must give Parinda Joshi some points for her talent of humour. But she tries too hard in some places, and the reader has some eyeroll moments. She definitely has promise, and should she concentrate on humour writing, there might be some memorable stories inside of her. Finally, one wee bit of advice to the writer: Find someone else to design the cover of your next book. This one is hideous with that big guitar and that loud blue patch bang in the centre. It could easily be mistaken as a tourist guidebook to London. I have rarely been so put off by the design. Until you’ve become a famous writer, Parinda, people WILL judge your books by their covers. Good luck!

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3 comments:

Nimue said...

ah another passable book .. As much as i try to set the record right , my bookshelf dsnt get a decent Indian woman writer's book .. unless its serious stuff like "Palace of Illusion" i read recently ..

good review !

Urmi Chanda Vaz said...

I'm putting the latter on my reading list. It indeed is tough to come by good Indian women authors.

Dinvra igaluaC said...

hahaha! You spared yourself the horror of reading the (in) eligible bachelors. That is the mother of all bad books!I'm going to stop signing up for the books by blog adda.Most of the books seem to be below average thrash.