Book review : Portraying an unsuccessful tale


Ek Asafal Aakhyanko Aaranbha (Beginning of an unsuccessful story)

Author: Dr Dhruba Chandra Gautam

Publisher: Orchid Books

Price: Rs 300

Orchid Books has brought Dr Dhruba Chandra Gautam’s novel Ek Asafal Aakhyanko Aarambha (Beginning of an unsuccessful story), which happens to be the author’s 20th novel.

Gautam, a prominent fiction writer in Nepali literature, has portrayed the Nepali literary world and its characters — authors, poets, their rivalry, pain and sorrow. The story revolves around the middle class society and the literary circle of which the author himself is the representative. Gautam knows better the world where he lives in and he seems honest enough in every details of ‘his circle’ though his characters make readers increasingly confused throughout the novel.

The story begins with two unemployed writers — the author and his friend. With no money to live a decent life, they like any others, are envious of the bureaucrats as they are traditionally considered the well-off class due to opportunities they get to monetise the situations.

The setting of the novel is pre- and post Janaandolan II. About halfway through the novel, the story slows down on unnecessary details but it’s still fun to read due to his black humour. Though, he is not the only one to use it in Nepali literature, he has mastery over this sub-genre of comedy and satire where topics and events that are usually treated as serious or taboo are treated in a humorous or satirical manner.

The characters in this 36th book of his are lively as usual. His characters have picked the tongue from our FM radio stations that use neither Nepali nor English, but a mixed tongue.

One of the fundamental challenges in fiction lies in creating compelling, realistic characters and he is somewhat successful in it as some of his characters are real, though others seem very fictional. Readers need to read the novel without losing patience as the end holds the key to the mysterious begining of the unsuccessful story of a ‘ghost’ novelist.