The title and cover page got me interested. I couldn’t fathom the connection between the title (Grafitti) and the cover page (a hooded figure facing and holding the wall) and thought there is much more than meets the eye. Then there was the blurb that piqued my curiosity all the more. That’s how I decided to pick this book for review to see what magic the first time author (presumably) has created.
The story is set in India (Bangalore) and USA (Denver) and revolves around the web of relationship and the complexities brought in by circumstances. Rene is a young, charming IT professional and is a mini-sensation of sorts after a successful infomercial that she models for. At this point she is still nursing a heart break of three years. At one juncture, there are men that play a significant role in her life and arguably enough, have a role in taking the book forward. There is Mark, a talented ad-film maker, Ayub whose family is well acquainted with Rene’s and there is Vipin who is an IT professional in the US.
Vipin is a guilt- ridden accident survivor having lost his wife and close friends in a fatal mishap. He is fighting the ghosts and trying to get back to normal life. Upasana, Upi for short, is Rene’s best friend cum office colleague and is married to Hari and in turn is a business contact of Mark. Somewhere in all this there is an actor Kunal who is unwittingly drawn into the story and quirkily enough Agni, Rene’s ex has a connection with Mark.
How Rene meets all the men, and the unexpected significance of Upi in the plot in short is what makes the story.
While the story runs in timeframes and moves between India and US it tends to become distracting in no time. The crux of the character whether heart-broken, trauma-ridden or love lorn, comes into glimpse after too long a narrative. Perhaps the author is fond of the narrative, unhurried style but she fails to make a mark and instead begins to bore the reader. I had to patiently wait for the turn where I become really engrossed in the plot and it does come! but only to dissipate in no time. I was done with one third of the book and still there was no sign of the story “taking shape” – it’s too long a wait. A lot of it gets packed towards the end and moves too fast, threatening to break any time. Some portions were unnecessarily elaborate and I didn’t understand why Kunal the actor got so many chapters in the book. Agree, his role was necessary to create that little twist but the long ride left me unconvinved.
While I think it is okay to title the book as Grafitti, I felt the author tried to connect the plot too hard with a painting in Vipin’s house. Honestly it doesn’t quite make the cut. The significance (which I am sure there is a strong one in the author’s mind) doesn’t really show up.
The concept is really good and also the way characters are conceived. A thorough round of editorial would have helped tighten the plot, narration and importantly the language and really lifted the book to make it an engrossing read.
I received a copy of this book from Writer's Melon in exchange of an honest and impartial review.