I have always had an inclination to read books based on civil war and Holocaust. Novels pertaining to Iraq and Iran wars, and world war 2, have been read and relished by me. The documentaries like The Square, an Oscar nominated documentary based on Egyptian unrest has been written about, watched and reviewed by me. (You can read about it here: https://in.bookmyshow.com/entertainment/overview-egypts-first-oscar-nominated-film-square/33906 Also read my review for The Book Thief: https://in.bookmyshow.com/entertainment/book-thief-film-review/34195) And therefore, when I came across the newly released novella, The Bait by Harsh Bhanushali, published by Half Baked Beans, I grabbed the opportunity to review it.
The story revolves around the life of Abdul Zaffar, a God fearing, law abiding citizen of Neoro. He belongs to a community of Sahars, a lower community of Neoro. He hasn’t a fortune in his name but a happy family of three. The novella begins with the death of his son which leads to the death of his wife. The grief is unbearable and he is left alone by the testing circumstances. The only family that remains is his brother, his neice and his sister-in-law who stay in a far off land. But the situation there is threatening and the ray of hope is George Carwell, a man who uses Abdul as his bait to win the Presidential elections of the country, in exchange for saving the lives of his family members.
My impressions about the book.
The book certainly gives the vibe of a novella set in a holocaust. It has a well developed character of Abdul Zaffar. The plot is well-knit. At a certain level it does give you a thrill of civil war. But that’s that.
The novella’s beginning is very slow. But you see a gradual progression. It catches up speed in a such a way that you often forget that within a para the character has come a long way. I think the other characters aren’t developed well enough. You just get to know who Abdul Zaffar is and that’s where your business ends. Some portions that could have been pivotal to the novel in helping us understand the thought process of Abdul and George like the media interviews are either not described in detail or remain uncooked. The novella doesn’t give detailed descriptions of the civil war that’s the negative point. You keep reading about it but not much consequences are given. Like you know that there’s curfew on the streets, the war is against the military, people throw gas bombs but intricate details about those would have helped create a bigger and better picture for a reader. And the book being an omniscient narrative, the author did have immense power with him.
Having said that I believe that the novella boasts a unique story. It shows how capitalism can be fatal to a country. Since Sahars and Roshos are based on the economic divide. And for a country like India which houses caste system since ages, it gives a different picture, stressing how divide of any kind can be fatal to a country’s future.
128 pages long, the book can be read in a single sitting. The chapters are short and succinct. Every chapter is titled to signify the importance of the event.
Despite all the flaws mentioned, I would like to give it another read because it does captivate you with worthy quotes, amusing anecdotes and philosophical talks.
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Available: Amazon, Flipkart
On the scale of readability I give it 6.5 on 10 since it does have some grammatical errors and typos.
I rate it 3 out of 5 stars.
If you have read this novella, do let me know your reviews in the comments below.