Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book Review #17: Whisper of the Worms

Name: Whisper of the Worms
Author: Marcardian
No. of Pages: 317
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Cactus Publishers
Price: Rs. 240/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:
A crow eyed peep in to the backyard of a banking organization.

An unusual portrayal of the life and times of an ordinary mortal and his subdued fight for survival.

Listen to the Whisper of the worms to hear the muffed wail of the humans on the run, lured by the carrot, forced by the stick.....

An unbalanced account of gagged sentiments..... Subtly unfolding the naivety of petty minds. Also of nepotism and dehumanized value systems.....

A moving story of the commercialized people in an imaginary country called Marcardia, portrayed through their psyche and polity, makes one think, laugh, and get emotionally choked.

Blended finely into the main fabric are vivid shots of rustic life lifted out of a fading frame; sweet smell of paddy fields in blossom.... rhythmic splash of the wooden bucket in the farm well....

About the author:
Nothing has been mentioned about the author. The story takes place in a fictitious country called 'Marcardia' and the author's name is Marcardian. So either the author's name is truly Marcardia or he is penning down the story as a resident of that imaginary country.

Cover: The cover shows an upside down donkey with a reflection.

Writing: The narration is in simple English and regular vocabulary.

Story: The story is about a man named Thobias Mathai, who is born in Marcardia to a poor farmer family, gets educated and starts working in a bank called 'Smile Bank'. But when he couldn't take anymore of the politics and nepotism of the bank, he resigns and moves to USA. two decades later he is diagnosed with lung cancer and decides to return to his native place to spend his last days. But on his return he finds that Smile Bank has a fraudulent case filed against him and he had to go under an investigation procedure.

The story starts with Thobias learning about his disease and returning to his native place. He reminisces about his early life, his relationship with his father and friends. Then he is pulled into the bank investigation and story moves to Thobias' life in the bank. During his last days he meets his old colleagues and learned things he never knew about the bank. But the last chapter didn't impress me where worms talk about the human life.

To me, Marcardia sounded absolutely Indian, specifically sounded like the peninsular area of India. Whoever works in a bank can easily relate to the life of a banker depicted in the book. As I too had been a part of the banking system, many aspects of the story seemed familiar. How junior officers are manipulated and many  a times coerced into certain situations, promised one thing but given something else, hard workers made to work harder and so on.

I give "Whisper of the Worms" 3 stars on a scale of 5. It is a decent read.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review #16: 60 Minutes

Name: 60 Minutes
Author: Upendra Namburi
No. of Pages: 361
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
Price: Rs. 350/-
Published in: June 2014

The Blurb:
Successful, brash and ferociously ambitious, Agastya is the poster-boy for corporate success. As the chief marketing officer of one of the biggest FMCG companies he is all set for the most important product launch at his career when things spin out of control. 60 minutes is all he has to save his job and his marriage.

Beautiful and intelligent, Maithili has never had much luck in love. When Agastya takes things too far and almost crushes her spirit, Maithili must avenge herself. 60 minutes is all she needs to turn his life upside down.

An unlikely adversary, Sailesh is a mathematical genius and an expert strategist. His academic temperament is unsuited to corporate rivalry and subterfuge but he is forced to retaliate when someone crosses the line. He has 60 minutes to destroy his foe.

High-profile jobs, reputations, relationships and marriages are at stake. Stealth, blackmail and secret liasions exposed. Emotions mixed in doubts and ambitions entangled in hostility. As the battle for supremacy continues, who will falter, who will persist and who will come out on top?


About the author:
An engineer by accident and an MBA by coincidence, Upendra finds himself in the dynamic world of banking and finance. In an attempt to break the monotony of classrooms and lectures during his college years, he developed a strong inclination towards writing. Over time the love affair blossomed. He now maintains several blogs and has also contributed articles to Indian and International publications.

Upendra has written on a wide array of subjects including payments, marketing, loyalty and social media. He has also been invited by several management schools across India to speak and interact with students.

Having experienced the constant rush of timelines and deadlines in the turbulent waters of several leading corporates in India, Upendra is currently on a voyage of writing the ‘Numbers triumvirate’. The three books titled 31 (days), 60 (minutes) and 8 (hours) are contemporary Indian thrillers.

In his debut novel 31, Upendra has successfully captured the transient lifestyle of the banking world. The book was on the longlist for the Tata First Book award and received rave reviews.

His second book titled 60 minutes is a unique book wherein the entire story is set in a pulsating sixty minutes.

You can know more about the author at

Cover: The cover is quite attractive and depicts a fast-paced city.

Writing: I didn't find the writing style much clear and engaging. I found some of the narratives quite clumsy and unnecessary at times. I have actually grazed through most of them.

Story: I felt that the author tried to squeeze in too many facets into the plot and ended up making it confusing at places.. Even though the main plot unravels in a period of 60 minutes, every alternate chapter was a flashback. Several scenes seemed unnecessary and unimportant to the main plot. I found the main plot somewhat far-stretched too. I liked Sailesh better than Agastya, and wished he had been given a more engaging part.

I give "60 Minutes" 1 star on a scale of 5. You can give this one a pass, unless you are a fan of the author.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!