Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Favor : Our privilege really

This is a spellbinding book really. In a third person narrative, we get a deep insight into the ordinary life turned extraordinary. Tim Biddle is someone that I and many others can associate with, sympathise with and ultimately feel horror from. This is a very good protagonist and all we can do to help him is really turn the pages to learn from his mistakes. Or are they mistakes at all? We go about our mundane routines, just like him, ignorant of our own hunger for a lifestyle we admire from distance everyday.

What makes it gripping is the unfolding plot as woven by master of gritting fiction – Mark SaFranko. From the first day Biddle realises how easy it is for people to walk all over him, till the day he knows they have been dealt with, the story is thrilling in its psychology and pathos.

He refuses once to listen to his own conscience, which he has begun to associate with his low self-esteem, and is spun in a downward spiral that changes his own view of himself and probably everyone else’s as well.

There are many wonderful writers trying to keep alive the now ancient art of “hardluck stories”. But in a world where publishers dread good fiction and the future of short stories is not present, these authors fight a losing battle, ironically, much as Tim Biddle does in this brilliant novel. So if you, like me, find no attraction towards juvenile stories of codes in Da Vinci paintings and magical wizards in schools with demons – get out there and get acquainted with fiction as it was always supposed to be. Not a larger-than-life fantasy – but a story that might as well be true. Fiction is meant to arouse emotions and it was meant to relate to the reader’s life. Something you know is true in those chapters; you are just wishing it is not.

SaFranko writes like that about ordinary events in ordinary life that have unexpected consequences; just as you may face today or day after tomorrow.

The characters are strong and you might as well point out someone you know as fitting the description of these fictional people. The book’s 21 chapters divided into 3 parts will churn every emotion in you as a man (Gave me sleepless nights dreading my own humdrum existence).

I bought a signed, numbered copy of this book and treasure it like no other. I wish I could tell the world what they are missing, tell publishers how arrogantly stupid they are in their choice of authors they promote and publish these days. But maybe it’s only a matter of time when readers of fiction will tire of the trite, self-congratulating, fantastical Disneyland fiction that wants to be politically correct and impose this mentality on generations of readers, brainwashing them into believing that the crap advertised and marketed is gold which is what literature is all about.

So if you have reached this page/ paragraph, you already know that there is better writing out there than what you see being sold in corporate bookshelves and major publishing campaigns.

Do yourself a “Favor” and read literature instead of eye-candy.

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