Delhi will lose the literary war

What’s the point of writing a book without a compelling story? It is depressing that this high-brow claptrap is as bad, or worse, than the low-brow claptrap by Chetan Bhagat et al put out by Indian publishing, says Aditya Sinha in this review of Raj Kamal Jha’s novel, She will Build Him a City

CityThere is only one word to describe Raj Kamal Jha’s latest novel: pretentious. It ought to have been titled “He Will Write Us a Shitty”. It is 339 pages of three intertwined stories called “Man”, “Woman” and “Child”; Man has sexual fantasies in his empty home, Woman returns home to her mother after a long gap of years, and Child needs a home. Yes, the three are obviously linked and though you see this linkage coming a mile away, the connection appears only towards the end of this tedious story. (Sorry, this novel does not deserve a spoiler alert.) Here is a list of what is wrong with She Will Build Him a City.

Common nouns: Gurgaon is called New City, there is a prominent Gurgaon mall called The Mall and, of course, one of the main characters lives in Apartment Complex. You never know the name of the Man; the child is named Orphan; only the woman’s name appears towards the climax, and possibly inadvertently. Leave aside the fact that the use of common nouns is a stale device, in this novel its efficacy evaporates at the very beginning.

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