I think the most interesting aspect of humanity is relationships. Friends, siblings, lovers… whatever it may be. Some books bring that aspect of life to life and explore it very well. One such book is The Fifth Man by Bani Basu. It revolves around Ari, who is Neelam’s husband. Neelam’s hysterectomy changes their relationship between her and Ari. Fate conspires to bring the duo, their college professor Mahanam and Ari’s ex-girlfriend Esha together, testing their relationship even further.
The book came by my shelf quite unexpectedly. The book, translated into English by Arunava Sinha, is a beautifully woven tale. It explores not only the relationships, but the emotions that come along with the decisions they make. It didn’t read like a translation, which helps it a lot. I liked the character sketching too, and the cover design which felt simple but still mysterious. The book, on a genre level, didn’t appeal to me much, and after a while, it felt heavy to me. But I don’t think it is a bad book at all.
There are some books that become better with a second or third read. I feel this book may be one in that category for me. It is definitely interesting, but I don’t quite know if it is very engaging.
Title: The Fifth Man
Author: Bani Basu
Translator: Arunava Sinha
Publisher: Random House India
Price: INR 299
(28th December 2014)