Book Review: End of Story?
Stories can go on and on…..they can entangle us in webs and when we are trying to come out of it, wrap us around in another. Can we ever say that there is an end to any story? The novel End of Story? written brilliantly by Arjun Shekhar is a dark, humorous, intriguing thriller which brings us to some probing questions on morality, relationships and mind games.
Written from a narrator’s point of view, this novel is almost like the delirious confessions of a mentally sick man. Shukrat, carries the entire novel on his shoulders, often appearing a brilliant man, at times weak and eccentric and sometimes surprisingly loving and tender. His narrative exposes us to the intricate workings of the different characters pitted against each other – Shukrat, his wife Siyahi, his boss Shautya Sachi Sengupta or Shh, as he is called, Pixie the younger sister of Shh , his sharp curious daughter Qayamat or Q or even all the characters they meet and interact in the course of the story.
The story as presented by Shukrat is, in one word, gripping. All the TV channels across the country have closed shop because of a ban on electronic advertising. There is a furor going on about the dubious manner in which a new form of advertising has been playing with the minds of people, termed as propagandas. These ads use subliminal messages to subtly influence people’s minds towards accepting all that they are trying to project. When all this is going on, Shukrat is summoned by court to testify in the trial of the murder of his ex-boss Satyasachi Sengupta – a towering figure in his life and one who has been proven to be a key conspirator in this mind manipulation business. Was Shukrat an eye witness to the crime? Was he the perpetrator or accomplice? All these are questions which the reader has to find out. The answers are shocking and climactic, verging on the psychoanalytical.
End of Story? is a revelation. It hints at the untold story behind every story.
As the writer says, “I might have said that the full stop rules, since it comes at the bottom of the question mark. But consider this; a few full stops together and what do we get …..’’
The situations and the character are so very real we feel we have met them at some time or the other while moving about in our daily lives. The incidents of land acquisition and creating sensational stories just for television viewership are just what we get to see everyday. But trying to unravel the evil mechanisms and nexus of corporate and media are issues that are the novelty of this story. The world of electronic advertising has been laid threadbare by the author.
Arjun Shekhar deserves kudos for presenting an unusual subject in a much more unusual way. End of story? Is one of its kind.
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