Saturday, September 07, 2013

Tall Man Small Shadow - Review

Tall Man Small Shadow provides a philosophical insight into the mysticism of life and existence. The novel is woven around the lives of several characters, who, quite enigmatically, are linked with each other. As a result, the happenings in their lives affect the other threaded connections as well. Vipin Behari Goyal, the author, tries to present a story with this unique concept of existentialism, and succeeds to score high in most parts.

The characterization is the highlight of this story. Each of the characters have been defined prominently, and have important roles assigned to them in the plot. Anupam is the protagonist who loves to analyse the spiritual meaning of life and existence. He is a deep thinker and tries to comprehend the journey of life, and the meaning of death. Sulekha, his wife, is a quick thinker and an intelligent woman. She is well versed in the art of manipulation and devises strategies that make events appear as mere coincidences.

Their daughter, Aalya, young and beautiful, is a student of research in English Literature. She wishes to pursue her PhD, and is guided by Seema. The student-teacher relationship gradually turns into a deep camaraderie, and they start trusting and confiding in each other. They explore the dimensions of love and relationships, often controversial, but invigorating and relaxing to them.

Seema’s husband, Paul, is a drama director. He is a perfect partner to Seema and caters to all her needs. However, his inability to provide Seema with a child had created a void in her life. Sahil is the neighbor of Aalya. He secretly likes Aalya, but is afraid to delve deep into a relationship with her. The failure of his past love had left him insecure.

Vipin debuts with an unconventional theme and succeeds in presenting the story in an easy and lucid manner. The events flow seamlessly, and the viewpoints presented by different characters for the same event provide multiple dimensions to the plot. You find yourself peeping into the minds of the characters and analyse how they perceive the world around them.

However, the storytelling style often shifts from first person to third person narrative, which again doesn't augur well for the flow that the author had intended. This doesn't hamper much since the story progresses at a regular pace, but to an avid reader like me, this does come out as a chink that should have been rectified during the editing process. Also, there are a few grammatical hiccups which again threaten to stall the pace of the tale, and care should have been taken to eradicate them.

The author tries hard to present his thoughts, and his sincerity and honesty reflect in the words. The novel is short and good for a quick read. However, to truly understand the philosophical ideas imbibed between the lines, you need to read it at a leisurely pace, perhaps only a few chapters at a time, and then replay the events in your mind with your eyes closed. You will find the characters come alive.

Title: Tall Man Small Shadow
Author: Vipin Behari Goyal
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
My Rating: 3/5