Book Review | The heart of a dark matter

This is a page-turner and can be categorised as a one-sitting delicacy with a lip-smacking aftertaste

Update: 2024-05-25 06:47 GMT
Cover page of The Heartbreak Club
The author handles his thriller for young adults with practised ease, creating somewhat believable characters and an engrossing plot, even though the setting sometimes seem a trifle alien. The international school in Noida, for example, seems more like a movie set out of thin air and not one that has the requisite Indian ingredients in culture and interaction.

Also, the sketch of Kisha Sen, a star exchange student from London and a crusader for the truth behind her elder sister Anara’s disappearance from the same school, should have been, even if faintly, interested in finding out more about her motherland of which she has seen little in her life. The fast-paced narrative, though, quickly takes your mind away from these deficiencies. The script manages to zip around such potholes and instils in the reader an urgency.

The sheer linearity of the narrative provides pace, and though any sensible method of elimination can lead you to the ‘culprit’ way before the author decides to reveal the cards he holds, you never really mind.

This is a page-turner and can be categorised as a one-sitting delicacy with a lip-smacking aftertaste, because despite the story ending in a reasonable finality there is promise of a sequel at the end.

The Heartbreak Club, of course, is the secret the story centres around and, without spilling any spoilers here, the main characters have been constructed to serve just the purpose of the mystery, no more. It is safe to say that in a thriller — quite like Sidney Sheldon (and the author, it seems, is called India’s Sheldon), who has often gone somewhat woolly over details — you are allowed to gloss over the edges. But you stick to the story, because it deals with a possible murder or two, a love triangle, a quadrangle even, a search for identity and sexuality, the complexities of broken families and, finally, the adrenaline-oozing mystery.

It connects two very diverse cities—– London and Noida — through a smart girl, a strapping sports captain in Tavish Mathur, a secretive nerd in Aahaan, a jealous girl gang and possibly a none-too-serious school administration. That, of course, allows enough literary freedom to author Novoneel Chakraborty to create a fertile breeding ground for the evil-hearted few in the secret club.

You may find the police force naive and inefficient, or you may find the behaviour of Kisha’s father Prithibi callous; you may even find the setting devoid of the entire spectrum of colours of India, but you would hardly find time to get up for a refill of your coffee cup.

In the end, it all comes around to a fine culmination, and you are kept yearning for the promised sequel.

The Heartbreak Club
By Novoneel Chakraborty
pp. 160; Rs 199


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