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Title :- Prodigy Of Errors

Author :- Manisha Gupta

Publisher :- Partridge India (Penguin)

Pages :- 240

To tell the readers right at the beginning of this review of ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ that its writer Manisha Gupta is a hugely gifted and talented writer and you will enjoy reading her first work of fiction titled ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ will be akin to serving desert before the main course.

But such is the lucidity of Manisha Gupta’s prose that much as I hate, I’m complled to admit that this novel leaves the reader marvelling at the deft use of language and uncanny word plays that are ready to seduce the reader into the make believe world Manisha Gupta has created so masterfully between the pages of ‘Prodigy Of Errors’.

This novel tells the story of a girl next door Nitya. Nitya herself is the narrator and she is successful in grabbing her reader’s undivided attention in the first few pages only which is a huge achievement for any story-teller. Nitya is not a super woman. She is way below an average woman. Her life is full of goofy misunderaventures told through 28 chapters in a style that evokes both laughter and sadness in equal measure.

We find ourselves laughing at Nitya because the mistakes she committs are so silly. At the same time, we feel a twinge of sadness for this girl next door who somehow finds herself in no man’s land for no fault of hers most of the times. ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ has 240 pages and all these pages are full of funny and cantankerous characters but the heroine is unarguably Nitya whose life interests the reader the most almost at once.

I found this chapter 19 ‘In Exile with Daniel Sir’ the most hilarious. It describes Nitya’s first crush with her music teacher who doesn’t give her second glance and whose yearning for some other woman leaves Nutya hallucinating much to the amazement of the reader.

The strict father, moody husband, cunning roommates at the hostel, prankster friends, loneliness, assassination of a famous political leader followed by a retaliatory communal bloodbath and not to mention an overseas trip are what make ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ such a forceful and racy read. The punch at the end of each and every chapter makes the reader want to finish this novel as fast as possible.

Manisha Gupta comes across as a bold and unique novelist who has the guts to choose this type of subject and story line for her debut novel. Normally, when we are writing our first work of fiction, we tend to portray central characters as having all super natural powers to overcome any tough challenges. But Manisha Gupta surprises her reader by her simple yet in-your-face portrayal of not so larger-than-life Nitya who begins to tug at your heart strings by the time you reach the last page of ‘Prodigy Of Errors’. Do pick up this book. It’s worth going for.

The verdict is ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ is a highly recommended book to read and savour forever.

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“Revenge Of The Naked Princess – A Dark Tale on Forced Conversions”

Author :- Oswald Pereira

Published By :- Jufic Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd;)

Pages :- 222

Price :- Rs. 125/-

 

Oswald Pereira‚Äôs debut novel “The Newsroom Mafia” created quite a ripple in the Indian literary world last year. It was both well-accepted and much talked about as it exposed an unholy nexus between journalists, politicians, police and the underworld. It was indeed a real page turner that had countless thrilling moments.

His second novel “Revenge Of The Naked Princess – A Dark Tale on Forced Conversions” lives up to readers’ expectations. As the title itself suggests, this is a story of forced conversions to Christianity by the ruthless Portuguese army led by Brigadier Braganca and aided by Father Francisco in their endeavour to bring as many Pagan souls as possible under the fold of Christianity.

The novel is set in sixteenth century India. The battleground is Tana. This is a poignant tale of how Christianity arrived in India and what kind of inhuman and cruel methods were employed by the army and the Church heads to force the innocent natives into accepting Christianity.

Bloodshed was an accepted norm as the goal was to spread the message of Christ. Innocent lives were sacrificed at the altar of religion, and; the Church looked the other way even as the army indulged in atrocities in its zeal to create new Christians.

Princess Darshana Kamya Kathodi’s palace is attacked in the opening chapter of this novel that reads like a suspense thriller from the word go. From here on, the narrative surges ahead at breathtaking pace.

Govind Laxman Prabhu aka Joseph Lawrence Pereira is a newly converted Christian. It is he who guides the Portuguese army to the palace of the princess in exchange for a few hundred acres of fertile land. After embracing his new faith, he has promised his new masters to extend full support to create more Christians using his native knowledge of topography.

The princess Darshana proves to be a tough nut to crack. In a bone chilling accident, she dies at the hands of soldiers and Brigadier Braganca’s army wins the battle easily. In and around Tana and Yehoor Hills, and the natives succumb to Christianity. The numbers of Christians keep increasing until Princess Darshana returns to avenge her death and all wrongdoings a decade later.

This book, undoubtedly, turns out to be a masterly written thriller. Oswald Pereira keeps introducing twists and turns into the narrative at the turn of almost every page to keep the reader hooked. He is successful in doing so as the reader is forced to finish the novel in one or two sittings. The character of Princess Darshana keeps coming back to haunt the reader’s mind. Magic Realism is at its best here.

The author has pulled off the story of revenge and conversions beautifully well. He had heard this story as a six years old child from his grandmother. He deserves all the credit for having successfully turned this story into a full-length novel of 220 pages.

The readers with interest in miracles and supernatural elements will surely find this book unputdownable. After going through the mesmerising “Revenge of the Naked Princess – A Dark Tale on Forced Conversions”, one is tempted to say that Oswald Pereira is the sub-continent’s Stephen King in a brand new avatar.

Grab your copy and go for it. It’s worth it.

 


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