The language is simple and the articulation is neat. I admired the vocabulary and sentence forms the author used in his narration. Synopsis The narrator meets a person called Billy and becomes friends with him instantly. Both of them were students in America when they first meet. Billy is an affable guy with an aura of charm, delighting every one with his quick wits and engaging conversations.

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The anecdotal nature provided sufficient unreliability to the narrative to make things more interesting. Although I felt that the end was I was surprised at the quality of writing and I was hooked on to it.

While this did not get selected to be read together, I was so charmed by the cover and theme that I ended up buying it. It took me 2 years though to get around to reading it. The protagonist is someone who is frustrated with the banality of high society living of a big city and seeks a deeper This was one of the books recommended in an online reading group for offbeat books.

The protagonist is someone who is frustrated with the banality of high society living of a big city and seeks a deeper meaning in life. He is shown to have mystical experiences right from his childhood days that drives him towards life among tribal people - a primeval experience - a life of simplicity in the material world accompanied by a much richer experience in the spiritual world.

I personally relate to stories of protagonists who are frustrated with banality of mundane ordered life and seek to break out and seek something more meaningful. I have always felt it. But I have never been clear what it it is that I am seeking - only what it is that I want to get out of.

And with just that never had the courage to break my bonds and step into uncharted territories seeking that golden barrage - that abstract something missing from my life. But I have always been interested in stories where protagonists muster that courage. And this was one such book. At a social level it is a conflict between two ways of life - the civilized life and tribal life.

Civilization seeks to maintain an air of superiority and seeks to reform the tribal. But what if tribal life has something that is lacking in civilized life? The story kind of brings to light the tragic outcomes of encounters between civilization and tribalism.

It also shows how the so called civilized ones dehumanize the aborigine. This is quite a relevant theme in the context of a recent incident where an young American sought to evangelize an isolated tribe against laws protecting the isolation in the Andaman islands and got killed in the process.

Maybe individuals and societies should be allowed to follow their own destinies and course of evolution without interference from other individuals and societies. Like suggested by the prime directive of star trek regarding encounters with alien races.

Overall a highly though provoking book that made me think at many different levels. Chances are that you will identify in bits and pieces with the main character Billy Biswas who is an explorer of the life as they say it Would have never come across this book had a well read bookseller not thrusted it upon me, assuring that - "In sahib ne s mien wo sab likh ke chod diya jo aap log abhi dhang se samajh bhi nahi paa rahe hain" - which roughly translates to "This guy could pen down the very stuff so beautifully in s which you are grappling to even come to terms with".

Chances are that you will identify in bits and pieces with the main character Billy Biswas who is an explorer of the life as they say it but to me, beautiful even more were the sketches of his two best friends, the narrator an IAS officer who is earnest in his pursuit of understanding Billy Biswas for us and the female friend a practicing psychologist who is intriguing even for Billy himself for her knack of looking beyond the obvious.

A light read. An inconclusive read. Can be enjoyed both for the story and for the larger questions it choses to pose but does answer definitely - which is the best part! Mule over or let go!


Book Review: ‘The Strange Case of Billy Biswas’ by Arun Joshi

Some of them, I would say are the strangely captivating named title, engaging storyline and of course, the added mystery of the titular character, Billy Biswas. How he met him, what happened after, the place where he lived while he pursued his Ph. What makes Billy do what he does when he has everything going for him — education, wealth, status and a loving wife? His inner world is shaken by growing discontent and dissatisfaction with his life and his restlessness grows gradually. The narrator is a close friend of Billy and the novel allows room for him unveil some of the ambiguity and mystery that seems to surround Biswas. Through Biswas, Joshi is able to incorporate a man of western ideas with Indian ideologies and is able to create a very Indian novel. The novel has a strong story and plot line with an equally strong and fascinating narrator who pulls you deep into the story and Billy.


The Strange Case of Billy Biswas


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