There used to be a time when you would find books by Jeffery Archer, Arthur Hailey, John Grisham strewn around my room. Even today you would find those books in my room, but now there has been a major overhaul in the look and feel of the bookshelf. Now I have two shelves dedicated to Indian authors; it is far more enjoyable to read a book, when you don’t have to rush to the computer and figure out where in God’s name is Tennessee, or is Ford County a real place or to find the actual meaning of a phrase/slang that is common in US and is akin to Greek in India.
I encountered yet another book by an Indian author: Love, Life And All That Jazz by Ahmed Faiyaz and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is simple – the book follows the life of four friends over a period of 5-6 years. The struggles they face in life, their hook-ups and break-ups, their work and their families. The author has described each protagonist so well, that you feel – I know this guy, and you start empathizing for him/her. You curse the protagonist when he/she makes a bad decision, and you feel good when the protagonist finally makes a sane choice.
While reading the book, at many times I felt that the author has lived this life and is writing about it. Or at least his close friends have been through similar circumstances, and they are the inspiration for many of the characters he has sketched.
My major grouse with the book was that the story skipped ahead by 2-3 months to a year with each chapter – and that kept breaking the momentum you develop while reading. I had to go back and always check what was the date for the previous chapter and what is the date for current chapter and would try to pick the scattered threads of the thoughts again.
Addendum: I am reviewing the book on the request of the author Ahmed himself. Kudos to him for writing a book and getting it published; and double kudos to him for donating all proceeds from the sale of the book to charity.