Faith And the Beloved
by Kochery C Shibu
I loved the debut novel of the author Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar for its storyline and excellent narrative skills. A reason why I was excited about his second book Faith and The Beloved. A few things are common between both books like the hydro project, Kalari art, bonding between two brothers, and a vicious circle of revenge.
There is a double image photo frame hanging on the wall of our living room. I was staring at the photo frame while recollecting my thoughts about the book Faith And the Beloved by Kochery C Shibu. How changing the angle a little brings in light a new image, a different perspective. The author has used a similar concept for his crime fiction.
Story In Brief
The story is about petty theft. But a series of unthought mishaps blows the burglary out of proportion. Mumbai underworld gets involved, followed by murders and lead characters run away to save their lives and strike at the right time.
A Different Narrative Style
In the beginning, many threads run in the story with no apparent connection. It felt like dealing with tangled wires of earphones, chargers, USB cables, etc. Each time a new character was introduced with a detailed back story. And I was wondering how all this will emerge as a coherent story. But slowly, things started falling in place, and the creases ironed out.
The author has built a grey world with all grey-shaded characters. Some were wickedly grey, and others have some white cells left in their greyness. The characterization was impressive, but none of the characters left any deep impression on my mind.
The use of a multiperspective narrative technique added layers to the story. The same set of events, when narrated through different characters, changed the outlook of the story. In this way, the suspense builds up, and curiosity kicks in. It was riveting to read how the change of character added new dimensions, thought processes, and insights into the same event and incident.
But it has a downside as well. Initially, multiperspective was confusing, then it became interesting. After a while, when the story opened up, almost all the odd dots were joined, and no new revelation was to come, it was tedious to read the same account of the incident again and again. The author unnecessarily stretched the book by being repetitive and tried to force-fit unnecessary information into the plot.
What I wanted was clarity on the age of the lead characters and the time-lapse of the events and incidents. A concise narrative and tight plotting would have made this crime fiction unputdownable. The suspense opened up early on after the initial buildup, which made the rest of the book predictable.
The Verdict -
The concept of the story is great, but the execution is not up to the mark. Also, some editing and proofreading would have been better.