Life is not perfect or anything. It has its ups and downs, joys and blues etc. Each of us has a way to get the frustration of the downs and blues out. Some write it out, some read a book, and yes, some vent it out by bitching about it to others who are in a similar state, or who’d be able to relate to it. It’s perhaps more prominent when in a job that we’re not happy with and yet can’t leave for some reason. Through the author’s debut work, we were introduced to the bitching club of Aarohi. This, her second book, continues it.
In ‘Writer’s Block’, Aarohi, who had a job at the art gallery Shades in the previous book, is now back home to Lucknow, and trying to find a job there. When a friend tells her of an opportunity at a newspaper, luck favors her yet again and Aarohi lands the job after the editor likes her first article. It seems quite rosy at ‘The Facts’ newspaper but of course, nothing really is as it seems. She continues to slog, work late hours and such but not getting paid. Colleagues who envy her position come in her way. When her frustration mounts, her bitching starts. And thus formed is an exclusive ‘Bitching Club’. The novel goes through her life as she tries to find her feet at ‘The Facts’ and continues to bitch to that exclusive club.
Something that I liked about Ankita’s narration last time out was its directness, and I’m glad that that is still around in this novel too. Aarohi, with her eagerness to bitch, does bring a touch of fun to the story, with events like bitching to her dog too. As long as there are bad bosses, there might be that tendency to bitch/gossip. For that very reason, I find the story to be realistic. The narration is light, and it is engaging for the most part, though with the prominence of ‘bitching’, it did tempt me to skip pages. The character of Mala, the boss, is done well – rude, sly and perfect to be hated. The author also manages to blend in some very relatable aspects of society too.
While I’m happy that the story is light, realistic etc., I thought the overall theme repeated in her second novel too – a period of time without a job, a new job thanks to the recommendation of a friend, a lucky break in landing that job etc. When there are such similarities, it reduces its appeal to the reader a little, I feel. There are a lot of characters in the story, and it’s a little difficult to keep track of, even with the character list at the start. Trying to bring in many aspects like a bad boss, a mostly unsupportive family, office politics, homosexuality even delving into the details of marriage, it feels confusing at times. Editing, while better than the earlier book, still needs to be worked on. I also prefer the cover art of Arty Facts to this one.
Like the debut work, this second fiction would appeal to someone with a bad boss, and where the office politics are relatable. I like it for its realism and directness, but for the reason that the theme seems to repeat for me from the previous book to this one, I’m rating it down a notch.
|Title: Writer’s Block|
|Author(s): Ankita Kapoor||Genre: Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: B01ALFE9WS||Publisher: Partridge India|
(© 10th February 2016)