I have been sitting in front of my laptop for about an hour or so and I am still not being able to figure out what to write as a review of a book like No Direction Rome. I have not read his previous book Windhorse but only heard of his book through my friends so I had practically no expectations from the book (as if it would have helped if I had read it).
The novel starts with Krantik, an overly paid expat having a number crunching job in Rome, whose marriage has just been broken as his fiancé Pooja tried to commit suicide during their secret meeting before marriage. Pooja is the daughter of well-known MP with lots of connection. You think of Bollywood, but in the next few pages you get the idea that it is going to be crazy. It is revealed that Pooja has suicidal tendencies and there is no particular reason why she wants to kill herself. Krantik represents our generation where we are confused about what we want and cynical about anything and everything under the sun.
The novel is set over a span of two weeks of his life where he moves on aimlessly in the streets of Rome wondering about various things happening around him.Krantik is sarcastic all the time and his tone is very much like the internet comedians you find nowadays. For ex- When Krantik went to visit the doctor to get a checkup for his sore throat, he thought “And then he shoved a pipe with a light at the end down my throat. Nearly choked me; it felt like I was giving a blowjob. A blowjob to giant steel robot. With a very thin dick. Maybe he was malnourished. Maybe he was dying; so I had to do it.” Or when he compares his toilet bowl filled with blood to a Monet painting.
Barua has also made statements in this book through Krantik that may lead to controversies but it has been written in such a style that it is very unlikely that will happen. Like for ex –“immigirant smell of illegal piss and legal alchohol” while talking about Bangladeshis or he likes Shiva because he is badass or “Jesus is a cannibalized everyday. Perfect for BDSM types” or Allah is like gravity and Buddha himself was unaware of being Buddha. But as Krantik says, “What? You can insult my God, and I cannot?”
There is a lot of philosophy and metaphors that needs to be understood. Or, perhaps just let it go up into the smoke.
Read about Kaushik Barua in this interview.
A video of Kaushik talking about the book – the origin
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