Dystopia by Manoj V. Jain is a work of fiction wherein the author has tried to address ‘Dystopia’. This is a short book published by The Write Place. This is the author’s fifth book. He has earlier penned down The BNO, The THC, Balraj, and Ramona.
The story is about the reunion of five friends over a dinner party where they reminisce about their golden days together. It is about what happens when long-lost friends meet and hit it off from where they left. Moments where you want to be a little guarded but eventually let go off all your pent-up emotions.
The author uses the term ‘Shambala’ to address an illusionary kingdom or a growing up phase where children need to be moulded for a smooth transition into adolescence and eventually into adulthood. The spirit of dystopia narrates half the story and the rest half is narrated by the five characters Aniket, Kabir, Romesh, Reema, and Teesha.
The story takes a while to build up but eventually, it fizzles out. To begin with, an introduction to what is dystopia would have helped the readers to smoothly transition into the story. Its omission had me wondering about the meaning of ‘Dystopia’ and eventually find my way through google.
Similarly, a better description of what is ‘Shambala’ would have benefitted the reader. Why has the author chosen to term it such is also unexplained? Is it because ‘Shambala’ is a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhism? What is ‘Shambala’ exactly isn’t very clear.
The characters are roughly outlined but not built up. For ex., why is Romesh always so grumpy? It isn’t clearly explained apart from how his parents were? There are other factors that also influence our upbringing apart from our parents.
The writing is good but fails to interest because of the incessant transition from reality to flashback. A topic gets initiated and even before its culmination, it is monotonously interrupted by the spirit of dystopia. The voice of dystopia begins to play a spoilsport after a while. It would have been nice if some topics were allowed to be discussed completely before letting the spirit of dystopia chip in. The scenes hence become over-stretched and uninteresting. The dialogue writing is fine but entails uninteresting tit-bits too.
I received this book with a personal note attached to it by the author. I really wanted to like it because of the special effort put in the review copy. It disheartens me because that’s not the case.