In The Armchair

The Simoquin Prophecies

Posted in Books and Literature by Armchair Guy on September 23, 2008

I got back to work from vacation, and as usual my reading speed has diminished considerably. There’s something about relaxed reading of escapist fantasy books like The Simoquin Prophecies that is posturally incompatible with intense work. Oh, well.

But my respect for Samit Basu has increased considerably. When I started reading the book, I commented that it didn’t pull me in as much as I’d hoped. I think that right at the beginning, Basu may have given off a slight “trying too hard” vibe. It may also be the fact that the book I read just before this one was Sea of Poppies, which might have increased expectations — an eating-a-sweet-just-before-tea kind of problem. But as I read on, I realized that Samit Basu, like Amitav Ghosh, is able to keep his book on an even keel. The fundamental nature of the story doesn’t change. It doesn’t sound enthusiastically written at places and listless at others. The humour stays up, and Basu comes up with hilarious gems at regular intervals. The situations in the book are often familiar, but usually engrossing. He keeps his prose interesting without sounding like a class 10 student trying to impress the examiner in the ICSE board exams.

Good job, Samit!

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