The Land of the Wilted Rose by Anand Ranganathan

Goodreads Summary: It is the golden age of the Indian empire in the year well, the year is not important. The brown mans burden stretches from the temple of Angkor to the chapel of Kings. The fate of all mankind is in the hands of a seventeen-year-old maharaja whose ships rule the waves and armies occupy the four corners of the earth. But all is not well. In the small colony of England, an unassuming little white man decides to fight back. This is his story, the story of a man who, armed with only an umbrella and a newspaper-wrapped meal of fish and chips, led millions on the historic Dundee March, towards freedom, and himself into the pages of history as a Great Soul, the White Mahatma. The Land of the Wilted Rose, the first book in The White Mahatma Quartet, is an allegorical work, a black comedy, but it is also a book that seeks to understand the psychological scars empires inflict on the vanquished, scars that fester, that remain unhealed.

My Views: Well well well. Seriously, I have no idea how to start or even finish this review. It took me a week to get past 40 pages of this book. It not only didn’t pull me into itself but also lulled me to sleep. Finally when I crossed the 40 page mark, did I get a sense of what was happening. And I read and read and read. I finished the book, kept it aside and wondered for a good 10 minutes, ‘why?’ I wondered at the author’s reason for writing this book and not only this book but the three more in the series. I don’t understand the reason for reversing the identities of countries, why, I don’t know. This book was just beyond me. I, for one, could not comprehend the what and why’s of this book.

This book is touted as an allegorical work, a black comedy. Perhaps it is I who do not understand this genre but seriously black comedy? I just didn’t get that from the book. The book also offers to seek to understand the psychological scars, perhaps in a way it does but I could not get past the writing, the Hinglish, the immense difficulty in reading Hindi words written in English..

So, in every possible way, this book did not work for me. May be it would work for someone who likes allegorical work or appreciates black comedy as the book is supposed to adhere to.

1/5 stars – I didn’t like it.

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