Book Title: Love Trumps All!
Subtitle: A Tale of Cultural Crossovers
Author: Sudarshan Mahabal
Total Number of Pages: 374
Publication Date: 18 Dec 2017
Genre: Fiction / Romance
‘Love Trumps All!’ is a work of fiction that takes the reader, along with its protagonists, on a journey that waves of Indian immigrants have made to the US and back, and many American businessmen have made to India in search of cheap labor since the Y2K phenomenon. It is an illuminating interwoven story of five unlikely friends in a global setting across Silicon Valley, Manhattan, Mumbai, Pune, Khamgaon (representative of small-town India full of youth with stars-and-stripes in their eyes!), Hyderabad and Nepal, as they explore their liberal progressive identities in a world powered by immigration and divided by nationality, religion, and politics. A story that spans the Y2K opportunities of 1990s to the current backdrop of US 2016 presidential election. With rising nationalism and protectionism, uncertainties and anxieties that immigrants to the US face, the story takes on a particularly poignant hue. Universally recognizable dilemmas of patriotism vs global citizen-hood, traditionalism vs modernity, alienation vs fitting-in make this story one that will be read with equal interest and identification by readers in the US as well as in India. Life-changing events alter the perspectives of the Indian as well as American characters in the book, as their search for identity and the expansion of their horizons takes them half way around the world and back, in search of their true selves. Anant Joshi, a dreamer who chases the American dream during Y2K rush and leapfrogs from a small Indian town to set up one of the hottest and innovative Silicon Valley ventures. Chris O’Brian, an energetic and creative high-tech sales leader from New York who is driven by his passion for life, creativity and making it big. Sameera Qureshi, a young gynecologist from Hyderabad attending her medical residency in California and trying to find love and her true human identity. Amy Cohen, a lively, articulate, compassionate pediatrician who is ready to ride on larger than life waves. Madhura Sharma, journalist and social worker driven by her nationalistic ideals and drive to help others. What happens when their paths intersect and blend?
REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY
I like books where the characters are much more prominent than the actual plot. Well, it’s definitely good to have a balance between the two but I don’t mind if in some cases, characters top the plot.
Almost every Indian harbours this dream of making it big in the States. Even, I for one, am under this spell of living the American dream. While my interests is more in exploring the places and playing tourist, Anant Joshi, the male character in this book has dreams of earning a lot of money and to progress rapidly. A small town boy from Khamgaon, he has never dared to dream big even when his grades sailed high. While he has always been called out for not being able to man enough by his girlfriend Madhura, he pursues this dream of his with more zest, not that it brings happiness in his life. But when Anant finally presents Madhura with his news of leaving for California where he has landed a job as a chemical engineer, it only ends in an heated argument. Madhura being a nationalistic at heart finds it hard to believe that Anant will be leaving his own country to serve in a foreign land. The Marine Drive, was the only witness of their parting.
The story then proceeds on to showing how Anant gets settled in silicon valley in California and also introduces us to some of the other characters : Chris, Sameera and Amy. While once Anant chased after the American Dream, now that he has it, he is no longer satisfied with his lifestyle and working for “vultures”, as he likes to say. He misses his parents, he misses his homeland. So, Anant along with Sameera and their two kids decide to leave for India.
While Anant and Sameera set on this journey, the other characters come along as their stories coincide over time. The plot is interwoven and each of the characters stumble across one another on this course of journey. They go through many realisations, many new adventures, has to make some ultimate choices and take suitable decisions.
Since it’s the story of five people coming together and settling with their ultimate dreams, we can’t exactly point at a single character and tag them as the main protagonist because all five of them have their own stories to tell and each of them is a protagonist in their own story. While most of the story is centred at Anant, the other characters shine equally in the plotline.
Love Trumps All! stresses more on finding a common ground, making peace with one’s dream and ultimately sticking to them rather than focusing completely on a love story as the title might indicate.
The book is divided into three parts : An American Dream, Indian Dream and Waking Up To The World. All the three parts have been divided thoughtfully. A beginning, the intersection and then a concluding part where every character finally realises what they really want and sheds off their previous beliefs they had of each other and of their countries.
I loved all five of the characters. While in the beginning, I was a bit taken aback by Madhura’s behaviour, later on she changes a lot (for the good) throughout the storyline and I got to see a side of hers which wasn’t disclosed earlier. The author has sketched each and every character in a very detailed manner where he had successfully captured each of their emotions, thoughts and feelings. Many a times, in books such as this, only one character shines the most in the spotlight, but here, all five of the characters shares equal screen space and time.
Throughout the book, the narration was really good, it didn’t lag nor did it pick up an extreme pace. The pace was of the book was really smooth and steady. The cover might be simplistic but it complements the plotline really well. The grammar was also on point. I didn’t find any such errors. The language though simple didn’t incline towards being amateurish.
I wasn’t intimidated by the number of pages of this book but it took me longer to complete reading this book than I expected. So, that was a surprise which I wasn’t really happy about since it doesn’t take me this long to complete a book.
While reading, I noticed that too many dialogues ended with an exclamation mark which I felt wasn’t necessary. Some dialogues could have been better with a simple fulls stop. Another thing about the book is that it has too much of information. While I am not saying that they weren’t useful, but at some points, some information could have been skipped. Some of the paragraphs and dialogues were pretty long, for which it was turning to be a bit monotonous. It would have been better if the paragraphs and dialogues were balanced out.
MY FINAL VERDICT
Overall, I really liked the whole theme and the idea behind the storyline. The characters were portrayed beautifully and I also liked the writing style of the author.
If you like stories of cultures, friendship, with a dash of romance, then you can surely choose to read Love Trumps All!
Book Cover: ⭐⭐⭐.8
Book Title: ⭐⭐⭐
Writing Style: ⭐⭐⭐.5
Grammar and Punctuation: ⭐⭐⭐
Language and Vocabulary: ⭐⭐⭐.8
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐.5 / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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