Book Review: Zindagi Live

Zindagi, Live, Translation, Hindi, Delhi, Mumbai, Book, review, Juggernaut

I have always maintained that regional literature, like regional cinema, is what can enthrall and excite the minds of the story lovers; opening up new dimensions beyond the conventional genres. Thanks to translators and their tribe, the gems of vernacular languages are making way to mainstream publishing and what a pleasure they are on the reading senses. I have begun to look for more and more translations now and the quest lead me to one more gem – Zindagi Live by Priyadarshan, translated from Hindi by Vandana R. Singh.

Zindagi Live is the tale of 3 days and how much life can change in those few days. The book begins with TV news anchor Sulabha reading out the final bulletin of her shift and dreaming of rushing back home to her 2-year old son and husband, reporter Vishal except that it was not to be! As her shift is about to end, terror descends on Mumbai in the form of Ajmal Kasab and company, and her world will change in Delhi. She is left reading breaking news all through the night. Vishal is sent out to Mumbai to report the news from ground zero. None of them pick their son from the office crèche and the little boy goes missing somewhere in the night.

The novel traces the race of the couple to find their son. As the kid is passed on from the crèche maid to an unknown employee at the TV channel to a builder with political muscle, it is a mad rush. As Sulabha and Vishal witness the workings of the Indian police system, the reader goes through the journey of how clogs start disengaging when clout is administered in the right dose. Priyadarshan takes his reader on a ride through the police and political workings in the power capital of India.

The one word to describe the ride called Zindagi Live is Un-putdownable!

The author knows his art and is skillful in engaging the reader. He takes the reader to the brink and let’s him gasp before holding out his hand and pulling the reader back into the chase. The book is bound to remind one of Arvind Adiga’s Bangalore based The White Tiger. This book too takes the reader into the depths of corruption that is seeped into the system and many times makes the reader fear for the protagonists. Though I have compared it with Adiga’s award winning book but I would still not call this a masterpiece. While the buildup to the climax was brilliant, Priyadarshan should not have rushed into it. It was like the book lost steam right when it should have glided in with style.

Brownie points for the translation; not once do you feel that this is a translation and therein lies the skills of the translator. Take a bow, ma’am. Though published on the app, the book can definitely do with a better cover.

Zindagi Live is detailed, racy and touches the right nerves. A quick read and a must read.

Title: Zindagi Live
Author: Priyadarshan | Translator: Vandana R. Singh 
Publisher/ ImprintJuggernaut Books
Pages: 403
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Fiction/ Crime Thriller
Rating: 4.00 of 5.00
Reviewed for: Publisher

Read the reviews of other books rated 4 stars by Team TP HERE

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