About the author:
Murtaza Razvi (1964-2012) was a journalist with Dawn Media Group. His first book, Musharraf: The Years in Power, was published by HarperCollins India in 2009.
Cover and blurb:
The cover and blurb together makes me expect a collection of short stories that are from life, and has death, but still is narrated with zeal and emotion, to get the magic that storytelling, particularly Arabian Nights, possesses. It is something I look forward to with interest.
There’s a magic that comes in reading books. But the prospect of choosing a book heavily depends on the cover and the blurb of a book. If that intrigues the muse, the reader’s curiousity to find out more, take the path the author has traveled while penning the book, then the book gets chosen. If the journey satisfies the curiousity, then the book is good. If it makes the reader question himself as to why was he curious to know more, then somewhere down the line, the book has had a glitch. And that question usually arises only when the book has dipped to such a level that there’s no compromises.
I, as a reader first, feel this book had that interest to the premise, but unfortunately, the story was a lot different from the premise. What I expected was a magical narration of stories, similar to Scherezade and the King in Arabian Nights, not fairy tales or such but something that was, as the blurb puts it, “the magical domain of storytelling”. As a poet, I’m not particularly agreeable to the notion that life is magical. Sometimes, my writing is dependent on the very fact that it is not. It has hassles, and drama, which make it sometimes very drab. However, if one were to put life in fiction, I believe that it can be made more interesting than it actually is. Razvi’s narration, through the eyes of the protagonist Sheku, doesn’t make us believe there is magic in life, rather we are just taken to the lives of his (unnamed) family members in an almost soap opera kind of effect. The starting is interesting, the dialogues are decent and progressive, the language tries to hook the reader into the scene, but then I can’t wait to see when it ends. The love for storytelling, which the blurb says the protagonist and the listener Rani has, is not brought out effectively. Yes, life and death are heavy choices for any book to bring out, but an association with The Arabian Nights, one of the world’s most loved collection of stories brings an expectation in itself, and one that has to be partially, if not fully met. The title choice, and the book cover, make little sense and it felt odd, and quite difficult to finish the read.
Not one of my favorite reads, and one that I feel will need a lot of patience to complete. A call out to Harper Collins regarding the author bio in the book. The mistake in the year of death is quite a serious one.
Title: Pittho’s World
Author: Murtaza Razvi
Genre: Fiction/ Short Stories
Publishers: Harper Collins India
Price: INR 299
(Sept 30th, 2013)