They were the days when there were many mails flooding my mail box from authors, publishers and marketers, alike, asking to review so and so book. One of those mails contained a mail from Bharti Teneja, Marketing Manager of Prakash Books. It read,
I got your reference from a friend and would love to get views on our latest release The Virgins by Siddharth Tripathi. Enclosed is the brief and a presentation which the author has done. Do let me know if you would like to review it and send me your postal address.
Those days The Virgins was one of the best in the market, considering the critics. I had a very bad time trying to refrain myself from right away accepting the offer. That would have been so unprofessional. So, instead, I sent a short reply asking Bharti to go through our review policy and contact me if they are okay with the terms mentioned. I secretly feared, what if Bharti didn't contact me back. I mentally made a note to wait for four days, if Bharti didn't contact back before that, I would order the book. Such was the liking the plot of this book developed in me. Fortunately, Bharti did reply back saying, something like, "I have gone through your review policy already. Tell me the shipping address so that we could ship you the book."
Well, I was more than happy to accept.
Plot (from the jacket):
How does one become a man?
Three young friends are about to find out.
With six unmarried sisters and a perennially drunk father, Pinku, a 19-year-old school dropout, has only one dream left: to marry the plump girl who’d caught him stealing flowerpots. His friend and confidant, 17-year-old Bhandu, is not faring any better — his parents are divorcing, his father has abandoned him, and the American tourist he is infatuated with doesn’t even know he exists. Bhandu and Pinku seek solace in the distracting shenanigans of their friend Guggi — a pampered rich brat who can do anything for a thrill. Guggi’s reckless hedonism lands the threesome in a series of 'sexpot' escapades — each adventure weirder than the one before.
But their seemingly innocuous joyride is about to end.
With their Class 12 exams around the corner, Guggi, restless to leave a mark, takes over the school’s notorious protection racket in a violent coup. The fallout drags the trio into a murky world of heartbreak, betrayal, and bloody vengeance . . .
Fast, funny, and earthy, The Virgins is a coming-of-age novel that marks the debut of a promising writer.
About the author (from the jacket):
Siddharth Tripathi was born in Allahabad and schooled in Banaras. He is a B.E from NIT Trichy and an MBA from MDI, Gurgaon. Siddharth currently lives in Gurgaon and works as a consultant for a business advisory firm. He also writes a blog on music and films. The Virgins is his first novel.
My view of the book:
If you have read my LWCITCT post of this book you could have understood the fondness I developed for the cover of this book. It is the perfect cover design material. It has one of the best cover design in the market, so far. It has the exact colour, the colour of radium, which will not only draws one's attention, but makes the person go through the text on the front cover, description on the back cover and carry it all the way to the cash counter.
The ace aspect of the cover design that invoked the highest degree of admiration from me is the pencil-sketch of Dashashwamedh Ghat of Varanasi.
A perfect-ten. My most favourite Cover Design yet!
What could I say about the language used in the story? It was excellent. It was simple. It was crude. It was true. The conversations were as exact as the character would use if they were flesh and blood.
About the narration, it was in third-person. Of course, it was the story of three young boys - Pinku, Bhandu, Guggi - who are in their teens. Usually, teen guys, when talking among themselves, add a expletive at the end of each sentence addressing his friend, like chutiya, low lying bastard, et al. They were brilliantly used in the exchange, which added the realism to the characters.
Characters of the story:
The crazy mentality of the funny characters of the book are so wittily represented that they remain etched in one's mind for a very long time to come. I completed reading this book a couple of hours back and I have already laughed at the recollection of the funny characters for the umpteenth time.
If you are a regular reader of my book, you would know my fascination for exclusive bookmarks. If you are a first-timer, its high time you know it, because I feel exclusive bookmarks are one of the best marketing strategies ever invented in the industry. Apart from that, there are some obsessive people, like me, who are very much into collecting these bookmarks. Also, maybe some such reviewer will add an extra star to their actual rating. However, I am not one of those few (I want you to believe that).
The bookmarks in this case is same as the colour of the cover of the book - bright and attractive. The bookmark also inherited the brilliance of the cover design. If ever I write a book (which I am doing) and get it published, this designer is whom I am going to contact to design the cover of my book.
Fingerprint Publishers. This is indeed the first book I read from these publishers. On the backcover, it clearly indicates, An imprint of Prakash Books. I didn't hear of them, too. However, I am in love with these publishers and looking forward of reading more books from these publishers.
Story and other aspects of the book:
Most of the books in the market are mostly written with the backdrop of a high-five city like Mumbai or Delhi. It was a warming change to read a story with the backdrop of Varanasi. Yeah, Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020 was written in the backdrop of Varanasi, but The Virgins book described the city so vividly, very far from the other book.
I tried very hard to draw a pattern of the story and present a sensible plot so that the readers might have a before-hand idea of the story. But the harder I tried, the naked become the truth that it was impossible. The story can't be described in a short, 500-words plot. I think, even the description of the book doesn't portrays the weight of the story the cover of this book contains. Maybe that is the reason, there is a take-a-peek depicted on the front cover of the book, description on the back cover and also a tiny blurb on the bookmark.
Every aspect of the book - cover design, story, narrative style, marketing, et al - is at its best. That is why I started to admire these publishers. Maybe, one day, I would get my book published by these publishers.
After a long time, I liked a book so much that I am thinking re-reading this book once I am done with the tbr list. Awesome story, with great, funny characters and a equally mesmerizing narration.
Well, I would recommend it to every one. I don't see a reason why someone wouldn't like reading a book like this. I say, it is a masterpiece in the books that I have read till now.
Title: The Virgins
Author: Siddharth Tripathi
ISBN (edition I've read): 9788172344542
Rating: 5 out of 5!!
Read between: 01-07-2013 to 06-07-2013
Reviewed for: Bharti Taneja
MRP: Rs. 250