2021 Feb 2
“The school motto, ‘In scientia et virtute’, was much admired, although many left school with a somewhat tricky knowledge of the sciences in their baggage and with rather suspicious virtues imprinted on their characters.”
The first novel of the author, One Flew over the Banyan Tree is a fictional melange of a string of interesting stories. The novel is set on a fictional island called Victoria and tells the tale of a young boy named Rohan. Family conflict becomes further interesting with the entrance of his grandmother, who also goes by the name ‘The Dragon’. However, there are many other characters woven into the everyday events that take place in the novel. It feels like we get to live their experiences and partake in their dialogue with them.
The writer’s use of language is extremely witty and there is no other way these stories could have been told. I was also pleasantly surprised to come across a reference to Captain Haddock of Tin Tin in the first few pages!
“And what about your filthy-rich landlords who only suck you dry for rent and don’t fix any damn thing in your houses, eh? Your children all get sick because your blooming roofs leak like a damn fountain while our government big shots and their fat families live in mansions…”
Although the book has a comic and hearty tone, it delves deep into the little nooks of life. Out of an array of diverse characters, the writer does not fail to uniquely portray each one. The amount of thought that has gone into giving certain attributes to them and their development is remarkable. From philosophy to politics, fantasy to everyday moments at fictional eateries, you need to prepare for the amount of diversity in this novel.
The 476-page book is definitely a handful, but for the readers of the likes of Malgudi by R.K. Narayan, this will be a page-turner. A bulky-good read!