Title: Tall Man Small Shadow
Author: Vipin Behari Goyal
Since many days, Indian Film Industry experienced a typical juncture which eventually gave way to an evolution. From early 90s, along with the masala movies released a sort of movies which were then called “meaningful”. Later, as the craft got popular – they were tagged with an even more fascinating name “parallel movies”. Budgets were low. Subjects were contemporary and real. The main point of these movies was the smooth and excellent screenplays – those were very close to the heart. In the same way, in the masala-content dominated paperback industry – Vipin Behari Goyal’s Tall Man Small Shadow – is a parallel or a meaningful entry.
The book revolves around the lives of Salil, Aalya, Seema and their families. The story goes ahead with their lives. The protagonist Anupam coins philosophies for day to day prosaic events. The second protagonist his wife Sulekha believes coincidences happens with artful manipulations. The story flows and curves along with their lives.
Existentialism is a philosophy that proposes that “existence precedes essence” – individuality over perceived image. The author with many philosophical interpretations has established the basis through his characters or the knitting of the plot.
The book is not a mere travel read. It has many deep insights of life. The philosophical interpretations were never boring. It all relates to our life and thoughts. With a fine sweet pace and lucid language – the book is a pleasure to read.
The plot touched many aspects of a normal life with an uncanny reality. The feelings portrayed through the characters were awesome. The style of narration was mind-blowing. The author took several paths to explore an incident. And, a single point was explored by several characters with several viewpoints. In international realm – this style of story-telling is called Rashomon style after the movie of the same name made by the veteran director Akira Kurosawa. Though the style suits mainly for a mystery/thriller storytelling – it was adapted well here still the mystic nature remained with the plot. As the plot gained ground – the author took a procedural approach with a classic twist at the end.
Though the end-twist for this genre is unexpected – the establishment of the second protagonist’s belief got fragile and baseless in a couple of pages. Wasn’t the last page twist too meek and too unbaked to suit such a mature plot? – I wonder. The sudden ending was like a rash amputation.
But the book deserves a read. May be for the fine philosophies of life – may be for the sweet pace – may be for the deep insight to many prosaic stuffs of life – but surely for the author who attempts a “meaningful” writing.
Just as the “meaningful” movies win over the masala flicks and changed the movie market which became more acceptable to sensible movies – we hope the book makes a step towards this in its own way. and, hope for an steady evolution in course of time!
Overall 3.5 stars on 5.
Overall 3.5 stars on 5.
This book is reviewed by Sankha Ghosh:Sankha Ghosh was never born in that 'City of Joy', never dreamt of being a banker, never watched a Godard, never loved Kafka, never fell for that Solitary Reaper, never danced on a friend’s wedding, never fought for human rights, never had a crush at college and never ever aspired to work on a novel! Never was he as simple as this! #He wishes
I thank the author for a review copy.