Saturday, September 24, 2011

All and Nothing: By Raksha Bharadia

When I read the synopsis of this novel, I thought I won’t like it but then I read some good reviews of this book and finally ordered this with great expectations. But I think I was right earlier.

Back cover of the novel says:

All and Nothing tells the tale of five individuals. Tina is a talented artist, desperately in love with Aditya. But he cannot let go of his past. Their marriage sours and Tina teeters on the edge. Kriya is a fashion designer, chic and successful – but tormented; Poorvi, is a socialite and feminist – but discontented; Manas is a struggling copy writer, besotted with Gayatri – but plagued; Upasna is a willing victim of domestic violence.

Then one day, Tina summons her friends to share their stories from the beginning.

As the story proceeds, I didn’t understand anything about anyone except Tina. So many unnecessary and insignificant characters (as I think Tina’s friends who are told to be the main characters as Tina, hold no significance in the story OR they are not developed as they should be) make it very confusing and the story completely seems scattered. I didn’t understand the point of view of this novel as it keeps wandering. Characters are weakly developed and it was like hearing a story, which lacks synchronization.

I think it tells the tale of only Tina, the main protagonist and the opening character of this novel, and her insecure husband Aditya. Tina loves him madly but Aditya could not forget Antara, his first wife, though she had betrayed him. Then Tina met Rohit (weakly defined character again) on the internet and only then she understood that there was no life of her foisted marriage and finally she freed herself and Aditya as well.  It is the best part of the novel as the Hurdles in their married life is well defined.

There is a very brief description of Tina’s friend initially, and their problems and stories have been elaborated at the end through the letters which Tina wrote to their friends. At the end, once Tina’s story is almost finished, I did not want to know about her friends. The end of the novel is abrupt. Also I didn’t like the dull book cover. Honestly, I did not enjoy this novel. I think it could have been a very good novel if written from a steady point of view, unfolding every character at the right time and in correct proportion.

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