Book Review: The Symbol, by Varun Gautam

Sometimes I’m surprised by how different a story is from the first impression that the cover gives. And surprised in a pleasant way. This book, which gave an impression of a sci-fi novel but turned out to be anything but, is one such.

Two of the things in life that I find to be omnipresent are expectations, both our own and of others, and friendship. This novel, The Symbol, is focused on both. Arjun, the central character, has lots of expectations, the primary one being that he’ll get selected to IMS, a dream that he works toward relentlessly. He’s shocked when his best friend Mohan, who lives more carefree than he does, gets something that he feels Mohan doesn’t deserve. In a rash decision, which he takes when life seems unfair to him, he joins a company where he, and his talent seems destined to wilt away. Is it, or can the Symbol change that? On another front, we see Dhruv, the first person narrator, try to find his feet in life too.

I think life doesn’t seem fair to us many a time. I liked, and in a way disliked too, that this book was something that could be related to. The author, in simple language, puts across a lot of things very easily — expectations that when met make us seem more of a failure than anything else, that obstinate attitude when we refuse to listen to sense, comparisons that are made to others, competitive nature etc. There’s a lot of life philosophy covered in few pages. Another thing I liked was the message put across. I’m not disclosing it, though it was predictable. The characters are well done. Arjun’s, as expected, is the cynosure. His attitude is not something I liked at first, but his character developed nicely. There were other characters too which felt familiar, like Govind or Rajeev. What I wished at the end was that there was more focus on “The Symbol”. It was almost a footnote. The bits with the Indian Cricket Team also failed to hold my attention. I could predict the ending, though I was hoping the author would prove me wrong.

The cover is misleading, and not that appealing to me, but I feel the story has potential, and is a very easy read, which can be read in one sitting. Having said that, I owe the author a big apology for this big a delay in reviewing which I didn’t expect of myself. Someone told me that a review is always useful for the book, even if it is delayed. I hope this review is useful for him and the book in some way.


A score of 7 out of 10
A score of 7 out of 10
Book Details
Title: The Symbol
Author: Varun Gautam Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9788172738891 Publisher: AuthorsPress

The author gave me a copy of the book for review. No other payment was taken. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© 22nd January 2016)

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