Book Review: Overload

Book Review: Overload

February 1, 2011 2 By Pramathesh Borkotoky

Book: Overload (Paperback)
Author: Arthur Hailey
ISBN: 8129108059
ISBN-13: 9798129108059, 979-8129108059
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 2008
Publisher: Rupa

Rating: 3/5

Review of Arthur Hailey books is almost unnecessary. His books have always been full of research and some interesting insights come out of his books. His novels are “incisive thrillers, set at heart of the great institutions of the modern world” that are carefully woven with emotional drama of its characters. Here, the story is about a Public Utility Company which is trying to meet the demands of the California State; Electricity, which is no more a luxury but a bare necessity for living. Nimrod Goldman – the protagonist of the story is the Vice President of Golden State Power & Light (GSP & L), the corporation supplying electricity & gas to the state of California.

GSP & L is trying to construct a coal thermal plant and a nuclear plant to meet the demands of the electricity need of the people, but the environmentalists are opposing the move. In addition to that, there are other problems like maintenance of the old hydro-electric plants and oil thermal plants, terrorist attacks, OPEC nations demanding more money for oil, power theft and other problems. Arthur Hailey manages to portray a highly gripping drama of situations.

The first half of the book tries to act as a build up whereas it had troubles picking up as I would have liked it to. It starts beautifully but at times fails to keep the excitement intact. However, the later part makes it all, with wonderful modulations of thrill pumped in that the reader gets involved and sometimes feels helpless that (s)he is unable to do anything in the situation. The thrill and excitement have been maintained till the end and the reader wishing for more.

One of the strongest and also the drawback is the portrayal of the protagonist. Strong in the sense, that he is not perfect. The protagonist, Nim Goldman seems to be having some grey characteristics with the positive ones. Nim, a thorough professional, knows his work in and out. In addition, he is also the public face of GSP & L. He is outspoken and sometimes loses his temper in places where he should not have lost it. He is a sex addict and has numerous affairs with women. But, at the same time it makes the reader wonder how a man who is continuously busy with work combined with the fact that he is so much burdened with problems gets time to have sex with practically every woman he meets. Much of the time, the sex factor was not needed in the story and could have been easily avoided.

To end it, I could not help but see the similarity of the opposition that has been going on with the ongoing Mega Dam Project in Arunachal Pradesh from environmentalists and politicians from Assam. It is all about making tough choices for the sake of fulfilling the electricity needs of the region. For progress, we need electricity and day by day our electricity needs are also increasing. We have to take necessary measures to compensate as much as possible.

A good read for the fans of thrillers.

We welcome your comments at