03 June 2013

Shoes of the Dead- Kota Neelima- Book Review

Shoes of the Dead is many things, but what it is not, is a light read. With words carefully string together, Kota weaves a story of our country. A story I suspect, may be more familiar to some, and for city brats like myself, be eye opening.
The story focuses on a small group of individuals: a journalist, a farmer, a politician, a money lender, a village leader, an industrialist's wife.

Together the story investigates, the relationship between these various individuals, and their roles in shaping the world of compensations for farmers who have killed themselves, due to rising debt. Keyur Kashinath is a politician in whose constituency, there has been a rise in farmer suicides. When exploring the reason behind this rise, he meets Nazar a journalist who's had his good days and his bad days, but someone who lives by old-school journo rules.

The reason for the increase in farmer suicides, is just one man. Gangri, who wants to do the right thing, and not play cover up in the name of politics, one man who fights to provide the families of these suicides relief funds, that which was denied to him. Using clever manipulation he swings the committee members into, putting aside their personal agendas to do the right thing.

The dynamics of these leading men, along with the anti-heros, Lambodar & Durga Das and the small but important wife of a business magnate- Videhi forms the premise of the story.

The story is refreshing, and it's poised objectivel, and is definitely recommended for anyone who wonders why years pass in India, with little changing in terms of issues. It may also work well for those who have an opinion on the way this country has almost remained stagnant in the rural areas and gain a little bit more insight into the reasons this may be.  Yet another aspect to commend is the way the author manages to envelope various themes, from hope to cronyism into this tight little book.


Some of the negatives about the book is that at times it reads a bit on the boring side, and it's a hard genre to classify. George Orwell adopted the satirical writing style to provide political commentary in an amusing, candid manner in Animal Farm and used science fiction in Big Brother. I wish that what was used was some other form of fiction, as the pacing of the story moves unlike a thriller and reads like a cover spread article in a magazine, with no clear end or beginning and more importantly lacking clear clinchers at the end of every chapter to carry you through to the next chapter. Another area where the book could have been better, would have been in thie ending.

***Spoiler Alert***  Gangiri dies, Nazar resigns, Videhi is sympathetic, Keyur resigns and decides to go NGO on his father and actually do something for the sake of doing it, as opposed to doing it because he'll gain more supporters/votes. Lambodar & Durga Das turn over a new leaf, so to speak, by deciding to be fair, to honor Gangiri's memory. I find this hard to believe, the book shed some light on the brutal politics in villages, I think that this type of conclusion, leads the reader away from the reality, that the whole book has driven at from the start.

Conclusion: This book will leave you with much to think about and begging to jump into this world.
Price: Rs. 495
Rating: 3.5 / 5
This review is a part of the biggest <a href="http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews" target="_blank"> Book Review Program </a> for <a href="http://www.blogadda.com" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!