I was blessed with the privilege of attending book launch of this book. I had the fortune of interacting with Chetan Raj Shrestha who gave us a brilliant debut book in ‘The King’s Harvest’. I was floored by the fact that despite being a recipient of a prestigious award for his debut novel – The Tata Live Literature Award – Chetan Daju was very down-to-earth and supportive. He even bought a copy of my book which was a pleasantly surprising gesture and it heightened my respect for him.
ME WITH CHETAN RAJ SHRESTHA AT HIS BOOK LAUNCH
However, lets get down to business. As far as his second novel is concerned, when I read the blurb, I was sure that a point would come when I would get bored by the book. It’s my fault, actually, I have zero interest in politics and the protagonist of the book is an ex-Minister. Yet, I thought of giving it a read as the plot, apart from the politics part, seemed intriguing. I really liked the first half of the book; the interesting interactions of the ex-Minister with Sumati AE, I laughed out loud at some hilarious jokes – ‘Saala Haraami’ – ‘same to you’ part, etc. The ex-Minister seemed a strong character, and I felt something interesting would transpire in the second half. I was also looking forward to the possession of the servant by the ex-Minister’s wife, which I thought will be hilarious as well as emotional.
But, I’m really sorry to say, I was disappointed. The plot doesn’t go anywhere. It becomes quite boring. The excitement pertaining to the slow moving government bill fizzles out too soon – it had real potential to be intriguing. The conversations and politics regarding the temple etc. and the caste related stuff bored me (maybe it could be just me as I don’t like politics). The members of the CAS Society are too many for my liking and I failed to connect with most of them. The characters, Yograj and Pradeep SE turned out to be irritating and selfish. I hated them. Yogita was just ok. Dr. Kuldeep was the only character I liked. Even the ex-Minister’s stubbornness and lack of power I didn’t like. The ending is also plain and predictable and boring, and the way Yograj and Pradeep SE behave at the end is pathetic (especially the fondling part with a female character which was nauseating). The possession part was alright but it didn’t possess the emotional depth I had expected. Towards the end I was just flipping through the pages, waiting for it to get over. This book is emotionless and cold. In both the novellas of the first book there were WOW moments like the fight between the man and woman before he is cut to shreds by her and the emotion of the villager as he returns to Gangtok after an eternity and many more which I can’t remember. But ‘The Light of His Clan’ falls short in emotional depth by some way. I’m sorry, Daju, but I think I had to be honest with this.
However, only two things glued me to the book.
One – the impeccable language. The way he constructs sentences is magical, to say the least. I would rate this book very high in terms of the brilliant language and writing style.
Two – The beautiful way he describes the unpredictable weather and surroundings of Gangtok. He carries on from the previous book – which also had similar exceptional descriptions – and does a phenomenal
Maybe because of my limited intelligence about politics, I didn’t quite like the plot. The characters also lacked depth and were irritating. Thus, a bit of a letdown. Yet, the marvelous, poetic language and writing style forces me to give this 3.4 stars. Despite the lackluster plot (just my opinion) and unlikable characters, it is recommended to fans of literary fiction and those who love to read well-written books.