Sunday, 27 December 2015

Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

Disclaimer: I'm trying my best to not spoil anything all through this review but I'd still like to give you guys a heads up. Proceed with caution.

   This is the second Ravi Subramanian book I've read. And after "God is a Gamer" (You can find the review of that book here), I had fairly high expectations. But "The Bestseller She wrote" is different. Ravi Subramanian has moved away from his usual M.O at least for a significant part of the book. The Bestseller she wrote is not a thriller per se, as I've come to expect of Ravi Subramanian. You will not find any action sequences, or car chases here. If you expect to find murder, gore, or robbery or even some hacking on the side, you're going to be disappointed, because even though Aditya Kapoor, the slightly vain bestselling novelist protagonist of 'The Bestseller She Wrote' is a writer of thriller books, "The Bestseller She Wrote" is itself more of a romantic suspense novel than a thriller.

  This book is a whimsical joyride on an emotional roller coaster. It is about lust, love, love lost, ambition, jealousy, greed and more. In short, it personifies all the sins and shortcomings of human beings. Aditya Kapoor is a successful writer, full time banker and part time diva who has mastered the balancing act, but you can't exactly say the same about his humility. He has a big head, an inflated ego, and lots of vanity. Shreya, the young aspiring writer and management trainee that Aditya starts an affair with is a little harder to pin down. She's portrayed as a ballsy, ambitious, hard to say no to kind of girl. But she's a bad loser, she's possessive and pushy and it becomes evident that her motivation is to quite simply ride Aditya's coattails in to fame. But she claims to love him. An adulterous romantic tryst begins between them, a married man, and his subordinate. Ravi Subramanian masterfully unravels the predictable storyline that follows, the pinpricks of a conscience, the guilty pleasures, the late nights and the lies, that get better and easier with time, the suspicion, the confirmation of Maya's worst doubts, The sting of love, and the heartbreak that follows, only, it's accompanied by ebola, that Maya catches at a global education conference in the city of love, Paris. Oh, the irony. It's at this twisted juncture that the story takes a turn. Aditya repents his philandering ways and the prospect of losing Maya forever really shakes him. What makes it worse, is knowing that Maya will die believing him to be a worthless cheating infidel. This is followed by an abrupt end to his tryst with Shreya and a monologist profession of undying love in the isolation room with Aditya in a hazmat suit and Maya unconscious. Two jabs of a miracle vaccine later, Maya Livesss! *Should've said spoiler alert*.
But this is basically the situation with Maya
    If  this were any other regular romance novel, the story would've gotten its happy ending right there, but this is a Ravi Subramanian Romantic thriller. Remember how Shreya is a hard to say no to, pushy person who is also a bad loser? Yeah, She's not all too happy about Maya's recovery or Aditya's path to redemption. Understandably, She creates a scene when Aditya dumps her, but that's not all. The girl has plenty of other tricks up her sleeve to hold Aditya in their miserable relationship. Aditya promised to mentor her and make her a bestseller and she's not letting him off the hook that easily. Your wife is dying? Maybe you can read my manuscript? It'll help you take your mind off of it. And so begins the damnation of Aditya's life. Losing out on all fronts, will Aditya be able to free himself of Shreya and convince Maya to take him back? Or will Shreya have the last word? It was at this point that I began to speculate if this book would go down the gone girl path. Is Shreya Kaushik the Indian Amy Elliott Dunne? What are her real motives?
Or are there other forces at play controlling even Shreya? Who is the real puppet master?
   Aditya Kapoor gives Shreya a little piece of advice on the style of writing that works in India at a point rather early in the book. He rather simplistically tells her, the secret formula for concocting up a bestseller is easy peasy, give them a heart wrenching, tragic journey all through the story, and then throw in a plot twist and give them a happy ending. This book is also kinda meta in a lot of ways in that it not only follows its protagonists advice in terms of the plotline, but it also provides a unique perspective into the entire publishing scene in India. Something that would be worth reading for any aspiring Indian writer. And I suspect "The bestseller she wrote" went through a strikingly similar  promotional publishing process that Shreya's book gets. Right down to the blogadda book reviews. Oddly, I am sold on the explanation behind marketing books. In the very beginning, Shreya boldly questions Aditya at his IIM-B speech about the morality behind vigorously promoting books as if they were just products. At the time she doesn't seem to buy his explanation, but by the end of the book, She's just as drawn into the circus of promotion going even as far as to view the bad press she gets out of her relationship with Aditya in the tabloids to give her book sales a boost, which really does prove the author's point. Through all this, Aditya has one solid rock. His tolerant best friend Sanjay who not only warns and looks out for him but also takes him in when Maya kicks him out. He puts up with Aditya's antics even though Aditya isn't quite so understanding towards Diana, Sanjay's fiance who he believes is constantly trying to one up him at work, because what is a Ravi Subramanian book without office politics. Diana for her part is just as understanding as Sanjay despite Aditya's attitude towards her.
Just going to leave this picture here
And then comes the major plot twist. Is Aditya able to convince Maya to take him back? How does he escape from Shreya's clutches? Is that even possible? Who leaked details about Aditya's infidelity to the press? These are questions you'll have to find answers for in the book. While it is not as fast paced as "God is a Gamer", It is a good romantic suspense novel, with the trademark plot twists. It is even surprisingly moral in assigning guilt for a book about an adulterous extra marital affair. As Maya puts it, Adultery is a choice. Not a mistake. Will I recommend it to a friend? Yes. Priced at 295, available for cheaper online, it is definitely an interesting read.

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Have you read "The Bestseller She Wrote", by Ravi Subramanian yet? What did you think of the book? Do you like Romantic suspense Novels? What makes a good thriller tick in your opinion? Let me know in the comments below!

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