REVIEW

Book Review: Tokyo Cancelled

April 05, 2006
Handa

When the opening lines of a book are, "There was chaos", it makes sure that a person like me is going to at least read the first two chapters and I am quite sure that anybody who likes Marquez cannot put it down after the first five pages. Rana Dasgupta's Tokyo Cancelled narrates stories in a way which is probably the oldest way of doing the task, which is a group of 13 people huddled around a fire telling the tales of far lands. The only difference being the fact that there is no fire but they are stranded on an airport of a country which resembles Krakozia where they can't do anything but get inspired by Chaucer.

The story which I liked the most was of the memory editor because I find it making a very powerful anti-materialism statement. The one with the doll and the Japanese touches a chord because of the sweet but subtle romance. The stories jump from Paris to Istanbul, from Lagos to Buenos Aires and the characters vary from dwarfs to princess to sailors and the imagery used is abundant and exhilarating which make this book worth a buy.

Some people might be disturbed by the fact that the thread connecting all these stories is very thin but the themes which vary from deceit, love, greed, as well as the style in which they are documented is very prominent and hard-hitting. There is a slight bit of cynicism about the globalisation which makes people travel across the globe, alone. It also elucidates that the concept of globalisation is elusive as it always does bring people closer but maintains the boundaries.

Rushdie has shown that contemporary writing didn't have to be banal or unliterary and this Oxford boy, if not following Rushdie's exact steps, is definitely moving in the same direction. However, the sad part is that he is not a member of the Indo-Anglian literature club which is definitely the club's loss as he was born and raised in UK and has remarked in the past that only his name is Indian.

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