Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Review: Love Lasts Forever

A week or two ago, a friend surreptitiously slipped a green paperback into my bag while I was busy stirring my coffee. When he caught my eye, he not only confessed to this act, but also made me promise that I’d review the book as soon as I’d get the time. Such promises always have strange modus operandi: you are caught in the middle of one even before you know what the promise entails.

The title of the book shocked me further: “Love Lasts Forever”. This book, written by Vikrant Khanna, a Delhi-based author gallivanting around the globe as a merchant-navy officer, and published by Srishti Publications, lives up to its initial expectations. It is an urban-Indian drama-cum-thriller (hardly surprising, given the Indian-author’s penchant for combining genres), heavily drawing on personal experiences of the author, like most initial works.

Ronit, a young officer in the merchant-navy, is on the steaming ship, Adriatic Wave, discussing his toxic marriage with his captain, when Somali pirates hijack the vessel. The crew members are taken to a solitary stretch of sand and kept prisoners there, and told that they will be freed only when their company pays a $ 10M ransom. The cook is summarily killed and thrown overboard. Given the blood and tension permeating through the story, one would expect the story to take the line of a thriller or at least have some impact on the psyche of these marooned crewmen. This never happens.

Even when the pirates are rough, burning people alive among other gruesome acts, the love-stories of the protagonist and his captain never cease. They talk through pain and bullets, about the lovers who are no longer with them. The captain’s story is the hook, which keeps the reader turning the pages of the novel.

All things considered, the book would make a suitable plot for a Bollywood flick, given its mushy themes and exotic locations. And that certainly cannot be a bad thing.

If you are looking for a quick read – it took me all of two hours to read this novel – you may want to pick this up here.

P.S. This blog will have a regular Book-Reviews section, to which I promise to remain faithful. And you know how promises work!

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