04 June 2013

Book Review - Shoes of the Dead

Photo Courtesy : Google Images
Author : Kota Neelima
Publisher : Rupa Publications
Publication Year : 2013
Pages : 288
Source : Blogadda Book Review Program
Rating : 4/5

About the story (Taken from the blurb) :

Crushed by successive crop failures and the burden of debt, Sudhakar Bhadra kills himself. The powerful district committee of Mityala routinely dismisses the suicide and refuses compensation to his widow. Gangiri, his brother, makes it his life’s mission to bring justice to the dead by influencing the committee to validate similar farmer suicides.

Keyur Kashinath of the Democratic Party - first-time Member of Parliament from Mityala, and son of Vaishnav Kashinath, the party’s general secretary - is the heir to his father’s power in Delhi politics. He faces his first crisis - every suicide in his constituency certified by the committee as debt-related is a blot on the party’s image, and his competence.

The brilliant farmer battles his inheritance of despair, the arrogant politician fights for the power he has received as legacy. Their two worlds collide in a conflict that pushes both to the limits of morality from where there is no turning back. At stake is the truth about ‘inherited’ democratic power. And at the end, there can only be one winner. Passionate and startlingly insightful, Shoes of the Dead is a chilling parable of modern-day India.

About the characters :

The reader is introduced to a host of characters, whose nature seems to be all familiar, in the first few pages of the book.

Keyur Kashinath, son of the general secretary of Democratic Party - Vaishnav Kashinath, is a young and ambitious first time MP from Mityala constituency.

Sudhakar Bhadra is the farmer from ‘Gopur’ village (under Keyur’s constituency) who commits suicide leaving behind a widow and two children.

Gangiri is Sudhakar’s brother who leaves his profession as a teacher and comes back to his village to fight for justice to his brother and other farmers.

Nazar Prabhakar is a fearless and justice-seeking journalist from Delhi.

Videhi Jaichand is a misguided academic with the Center for Contemporary Studies and wife of an influential industrialist interested in the land of ‘Gopur’.

My opinion of the book :

“Shoes of the Dead” draws a reader into the dismal world of insatiable hunger for power, exploitation of the needy and deceit. It gives an insight of the working of a crumbling political system of India.
This book is very different from the kind of books that I usually read. And I must say I am more than happy to give it a try. Kota Neelima says to have travelled extensively for the research related to this book, and her efforts are pretty evident in the way she has written the story! This book is a comprehensive and well-crafted interpretation of the possibilities behind the sudden farmer-suicides and other events related to it.
The author is open-handed and unconcealed when it comes to description of the happenings and characters. The language is simple and is an easy read. The writing is gripping right from the first line and is well narrated.
The incidents in the book are very close to reality; a reader will hardly get a feel of fiction. And the facts will leave you stunned and wondering over the existence of morality in modern India. It will show you how the rural India lives. This book has all the components required to make a good political fiction – bossism, frustration, corruption, helplessness, trauma and other plethora of emotions.

Overall, “Shoes of the Dead” is a very good read, especially for people who have never tried political fiction. I am sure this book will leave you inspired and motivated to fight against the unfair.
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers.