It’s rare to find books that can actually be classified as serious literature and can be taught in an academic course. “The Soft Target” is one such amazingly written book, by Kalyan Nanda.
This book has all the elements of wit and sarcasm which are used well, making a reader smile throughout the pages. While reading the scene describing Brij and Rashi’s date, we get to witness the author at his best with a complete dosage of sarcasm and wit.
The explanation of certain points, like the word Masochist or the song Hotel California is terrific. The letter about being a masochist has the soul to touch a reader’s heart.
(If you’ve heard the song Hotel California, read its explanation written in this book. You will discover a new perspective on the song.)
The scene involving a breakup and a proposal (Revathy-Brij-Rashi) made my heart beat faster when it actually didn’t want to beat at all. (Sounds cliché but the scene was amazingly portrayed!)
The coincidences created in the story, when Mohan faced God in a one to one battle, it appeared completely natural. This makes the book an amazing suspense novel.
The book blurb revealed too much of the storyline. However, the suspense of the novel was protected by the author.
Oneliners used in the book are magnificent. Consider the depth in these 5 words-
“Misfortune makes a man superstitious”
Or this one,
“Brij had a smart way of countering sarcasm: he never understood it.”
My favorite one is-
“I want to be your café Madras”
(Only the ones who read this story can understand this)
The equation of life described on page-102 is quite interesting and incredible, here’s a short part of it-
“Your life is like that equation-f(x)= nywhere you are the dependent variable, whose fate depends on the independent variable. How can someone else’s performance determine your state of mind?”
When the author used Sachin’s slog shot to Warne or Dhoni’s finishing shot, being a sports enthusiast, I started expecting more. My eyes awaited the read on the comparison of instances with Messi’s remarkable left foot free kick, Ronaldo’s brilliant Penalty kick, Saina Nehwal’s beautiful drop shot, Srikant Kidambi’s powerful smashes and Federer’s classic backhand shot. All of these were missing. The narration could have been better, if the author could have used gentlemen examples from more games other than cricket. It’s just my personal opinion, of course.
Another thing I found irking in the book was the way the author started describing emotions like, consider this part-
“Ram took Jimmy away from his boss’s office. I wanted to employ the word ‘dragged’, but did not, because it was something in between.”
This sort of explanation for any emotion could be done with suitable words, and not with sentences. I found these words derailing a reader’s train that was running smoothly on the story track. Along with these, in some places, the writer went on to explain things with the words…
“My dear reader, here I’d like to introduce you to xyz things…”
I, personally, found these parts obstructing my stream of reading and thus, I strongly wanted them not to be a part of this novel.
Concluding, the novel has an amazing plot that is written well. The story is connecting and the writing style is simple and commendable. The use of words is apt which intensifies the level of sarcasm and wit in the storyline. Apart from a few chunks where a serious reader could find a miniature scope of improvements, this book is a classic. I recommend this book to every reader out there, looking for an entertaining and classic read.