Friday, May 20, 2011

The Quest for Nothing by Anurag Anand

I really liked The Quest for Nothing.

I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what was so amazing about it. Its a combination of various not-so-important factors that lead to a finished product that is both a good story and an extremely good piece of writing. Perhaps at first glance it was the impeccable writing - I dont think you will find a single place in this book with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or poor editing - a change that I really appreciate when compared to a lot of books I read these days. The book is a polished, finished product - there is no superfluous information, the book is fast paced, and the writing is really good. It is an extremely professional book - and that is one of the things I appreciated the most when I was on the first half of the book and hadnt really gotten into the story just then. The non-linear structure also works really well, as it gets you into the mystery and makes you feel for Akash, though it can be confusing.

The second part I liked is the plot. The plot is definitely not full of fantasy or even over-the-top, its a simple mystery and a very normal marital relationship - but I think the simplicity is what makes this book truly good. The relationship between Deepali and Akash has got to be my favorite part of the book, simply because its so easy to identify with - the beginning of the romance, the passionate honeymoon period, the pressure of work leading to a decrease in affection, the breaks and the shake-ups and the cheating - I like how each part of it is the kind of thing that can happen to just about anyone. The mystery that forms a core of the book - the reason why Akash is accused of leaking highly confidential data - also seems to build naturally from the way things were and the ending, while not completely unexpected, was still interesting.

The supporting characters were perhaps not as well-developed as I would have liked - we never do get the full story behind Monisha, for example, and I would've liked to know more about Neil as well - though honestly I understand this. Its a short book and its a quick one, and perhaps the lack of all that information adds to the book rather than detracts from it, but I am still the type of person who likes to know everything about every character. On the other hand, the more important characters - in particular Akash (the hero) and Deepali (his wife) are so much fun to read, and they are so superbly etched (especially Deepali) that the book continues to shine despite this pit-fall. Its been a long time since I have written such an elated review - but thats probably because its been a while since I've enjoyed a book quite this much.

Final thoughts: As one reviewer puts it, nothing to WOW you in this book, but its still worth what you pay for it. The varied aspects of plot, characterization and good writing come together to give you a book that is not wow and yet will wow you.

Other thoughts: I will be reviewing author Anurag Anand soon on my blog! Keep reading!
Also, this is part of my list for the Book Reading Challenge 2011.

(Financial disclosure: Book source is the author.) 

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