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Half of What I Say Paperback – 18 Nov 2015
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An Amazon Rising Star of Summer 2016: Based in Delhi, Half of What I Say follows the actions of Vyas, an inspector in the fictional Lokshakti anti-corruption police, who has sent a compromising love letter to his wife. In his attempts to retrieve it, Vyas crosses paths with an entrepreneur, Anand Dixit, who is bringing technology to India’s villages and a Bollywood actress who once starred in Ajaya, a subversive retelling of the Ramayana. When one of Dixit’s dissatisfied employees posts Ajaya, which was never meant for release, on the internet, Vyas himself becomes implicated in the conspiracy with near fatal results. Half of this erudite mish-mash of a novel could be described as a challenging read. The other 50 percent makes the heavy lifting worthwhile: brilliant insights into modern Indian society and a mastery of slang in English and Indian languages define this work. This novel, despite its endorsement by Ursula Le Guin, has only a small sci-fi element. It also includes a love triangle, crime-solving, political analysis, literary theory and musings on the impact of technology which somehow hang together as a satirical thriller. - Janice Wallace, Asian Review
About the Author
Anil Menon started out wanting to be an accountant, took a long detour through mathematics and computer science and ended up a fiction writer. His short fictions has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Some of Anil's stories have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Hebrew and Romanian. His debut novel The Beast With Nine Billion Feet (Zubaan Books, 2010) was shortlisted for the 2010 Vodafone-Crossword Award. Along with Vandana Singh, he edited Breaking the Bow (Zubaan Books, 2012), an anthology of speculative fiction inspired by the Ramayana. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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If you want to read quality literature about the subcontinent, in fact, if you want to read quality literature at all, you have to pick this up and not put it down till you absorb it completely.
The women in the novel are strong-willed and passionate, vulnerable and brave. Characters like Saya and Mir are fascinating and will stay with you long after you turn the last page. My suggestion would be to read this one slowly, savouring the details, mulling over the references, drawing social and political parallels, ensuring that not a single word slips away. I don’t think I’ve read anything like this novel – it’s one of those rare books that defies labels, genres and easy summaries. And yet it’s a book we need at this time – a story about the importance of stories, a story about the power of the written word.
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