My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I give 6/ 10 stars to “Figmented Reality” by Zuko published by Frog Books.
This is a psychological story having addictions, molestation, trauma cause psychosocial scars, romance and erotica.
There is one main protagonist Siddharth who has whole lot of issues. He is sexually molested when he was very young by an elderly lady. This has left a very wrong impression on his young psyche and he becomes addicted to weed, alcohol and masturbation. After completing his engineering he gets a job in Cochin and thinks about sex all the time. He is a serial masturbator you can say, as he is a virgin. When he was 16 he has an attraction on her mother’s 32 year old friend Veena. They go their separate ways and then he enrolls in a Deaddiction center, he meets her again. She has become an alcoholic and her marriage is on the verge of divorce. Here he meets another addict Ananya and his old college friend Adithya who becomes his roommate. In flashback he tells us the story of her college crush Nandita. It was a doomed love story. What happens next is the story. Will he end up with older Veena or younger Ananya??? Will he able to get over his addiction??
The book is thin and written in easy to understand but good English. Is kept me hooked and I finished it in one sitting in less than 2 hours. It builds a sense of anticipation that what will happen next. That keeps you going and then you are in the second part where he goes in the flashback about Nandita. There it starts to lose the grip and by the end it becomes so convoluted that you stop caring. It could have been a good book which showed a lot of promise in the first part but squandered all this in latter half.
The speeches in the first part at the beginning of each chapter are also worth mentioning. Some are good, some average and some plain wrong.
It seems that they were copied from some confused self help book or culled from many. They had little or connection with narrative or story and severely hampered the flow of story. I started skipping them after initial chapters. One sample:
“In the era of social media, attention is become is major influence in life. Once we are caught in that web, we are trapped. We are addicted to it. In words of Eagles, “You can check out any time, but you can never leave.” We might not even be aware of the addiction. If we don’t get it, we start becoming weak and restless.”
This may or may not be true but it definitely had no connection whatsoever with the narrative. And if these one and a half page monologues are present in the beginning of half of the chapters severely damaging the flow. Zuko was over eager to pepper the book with his own or inspired (read copied) philosophy.
The biggest problem is that there is no coherence, uniformity or boundary in the characterization of Siddharth. He has sexual attraction on a woman twice his age. He is molested sexually while young. He has plethora of addictions. He hallucinates. He is a schizophrenic and needs help as accepted by him. He may be a psychopath. He had a troubled relationship with his parents and that is way he preaches Veena to be a good mother. He falls for woman who does not respond to his advances and rejects another attractive and good girl, who proposes to him on her own volition. He comes out as the most confused person on the earth and there is nobody to diagnose him correctly. Not even Zuko. In fact when he write his love letter to Nandita he writes his name as Zuko. How weird is that???
To sum up it could have been a good book. But it turned out to be a very confused and preachy book. Anyway 6 stars out of 10 for the good parts.
P.S. Details about author are conspicuous by their absence in the book. The space for dedication is also blank and it simply says “DEDICATION TEXT”. This obscurity maybe a way of conveying something. I wonder what it maybe?
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