No Onions, No Garlic, Nor Taste

18 04 2011

One has to pay for one’s poor decisions and that is what happened to me with No Onions Nor Garlic by Srividya Natarajan. I discovered it years ago somewhere and faintly remember that it was said to be good enough. But the evidently curious cum attractive title is what made me wanted to read the book.

Also, there is the fact that I couldn’t lay my hands on it for a quite a number of years. All this only made me jump with excitement when I spotted it in the recent Book Exhibition. I didn’t even think about glancing through a few passages before I parted with the green paper and took home the bounty. But the bubble of my joyful anticipation got burst once I was a few pages into the book. Still, I persisted in my trials and managed to turn over 80 pages. My frustration only increased with each page. I promise I gave it a fair chance before admitting to myself the bitter aftertaste of the words.

The English is too ornamental, each sentence often running into several lines. The author tried to be funny and witty in almost each sentence, which only made it more difficult to read. The author seemed to have been intent more on demonstrating her expertise of English language rather than on the story that she basically wanted to tell. Reading through the verbose narrative, one loses the interest to follow the underlying story that is supposed to be progressing incessantly.

I’ve read some very difficult and complex books (both in the story and the language in which it is told) in the past, but seldom did I feel disgusted at the attempt of the author unless it appeared as a show-off like this. The pursuit of the author to create humor by awkward, silly, far-fetching and strange comparisons has resulted in so unnatural an effect that reading it became a tussle through the writing. I’m very much disappointed in this work and I regret my actions leading to this upsetting reaction.




One response

17 05 2011

I too felt much the same.

I belong to the community she is attacking (though not a ‘tam’)- and could well be the character of her novel that shares my name – but there are more reasonable ways to attack than the format of the novel.

OK Vidya, we acknowledge that you are very clever and funny too! Now get a life please.

Regards, Ram

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