Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book review: The World in My Hands by K Anis Ahmed

The World in My hands      

The World in My Hands
Author: K Anis Ahmed
Random House2013, 
pp 376          Rs.299

A tale of friendship, love and loss, Anis Ahmed’s ‘The World in My Hands’ highlights the perils of modern day society and the evils that consume relationships

This is the story of two bosom friends who choose their separate paths, while coming to terms with the excesses of a totalitarian regime. Hissam, the journalist, opts for what he hopes is a pragmatic approach in negotiating precarious alliances with the strongmen controlling his country. In the process, he compromises his deep trust and friendship with Kaiser, the upright self-made business tycoon. 

Both these men find the world; love, status, wealth and everything else that matters to them, within reach. But before they can safely grasp those dreams, they are swept away in the cataclysmic unfolding of events, and the outcomes of their personal choices. Natasha, Hissam’s childhood crush and Kaiser’s devoted wife, is friend and confidante to both men. Warm and gracious, she strives in vain to keep their friendship alive in a chaotic and hostile world.

Ahmed’s novel is set in the fictional country of Pandua, a thinly disguised portrayal of Bangladesh today. A sharp satirist, Ahmed has a sparkling sense of humour. He can make readers laugh out loud as he pokes holes into diabolical military rulers, established social conventions, academics, politicians, irate rioters, intellectual think-tanks and self-righteous NGO promoters. From newshounds chasing scoops to self-help books and spiritual gurus, nothing escapes his sharp eyes and witty barbs.

He does this while delving deep into serious issues through a carefully crafted tale woven around well-delineated characters. His observations are funny but apt. He provokes though while eliciting laughter, never sinking to smart-alecky displays of mere verbal dazzle.

Indian readers will relate to these characters and their foibles since we face similar mindsets and situations in our own country. There’s the “Vice Chancellor’, a literary man, or so he fancied himself, having written an impregnable thesis on the countryside in Hardy’s novels, and known among the younger faculty and smarter students as the Cloud of Great Unknowing.” ...The plot is fast-paced, leading to a poignant and satisfying conclusion. The strongest point of this novel is Ahmed’s sense of humour, delighting us in every page while provoking introspection and thought.
my detailed review is published in Sunday Herald


D Biswas said...

Sounds like a fascinating read, Moni.

This goes to my tottering TBR pile.

Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014

Twitter: @damyantig

monideepa sahu said...

Welcome back, Damyanti. You'll love this book. It sparkles with humour. The author is not so much cynical and snarky, but makes readers laugh with him, and at their own weaknesses as portrayed through the characters in the story. I enjoyed every page for its contemporary relevance and insights, as well as for the fun element. A rare combination.