Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Samsara" by David Abramkczyk

Finished reading David Abramkczyk's debut novel "Samsara". It's the story of a junkie American Jupiter who has to run from France after his friend gets killed. Jupiter comes to Nepal courting troubles all the way. He gets caught by Nepali authorities and Maya, a mysterious woman having powerful connections, rescues him. Then he meets Jack, another junkie, and circumstances force him to run away to the western part of Nepal along with Jack and Maya. He goes to the higher regions above Humla and comes across one after another adventurous incidents. Jack turns out to be an ex-CIA operative who had helped Khampa rebels to fight against China. During this journey, many dimensions of these three characters get unfolded. One thing common among them is that all of them are suffering from problematic past. Jupiter and Maya had troubled childhood while Jack was forced to be part of an abortive mission in Nepali hinterland which changed his life forever. The novel is written in an informal style with plenty of cursewords and blasphemy thrown in. Certain American phrases were difficult to understand, though! Description of trekking in upper regions is done marvelously. However, the long talk of defecation in two places was disgusting. Account of doping in the initial pages of the novels also didn't feel well. The first person narrator Jupiter talks about Maoists here and there but I was surprised that he didn't meet any in the upper mountains. And, there are very few interactions with the local people. Some Nepali phrases are put in wrong way. This novel exoticizes the east like many other novels written by Western authors but at the same time provides a realistic account of the country as well. Buddhist concepts are aptly described. But I felt that the climax was not up to the snuff. Anyway, the writer should be applauded for writing a nice book in his first attempt. It could have been better with adroit editing, nonetheless.
I liked the following in "Samsara":
Jupiter's mental response to things in the form of funny asides.
Rich cultural references from literary books and movies.
Delightful repartees and one-liners.
Painting of a bleak picture of a weak nation that serves as the stage where powerful international forces play out their political games.

No comments: