Twice Born

I just read Twice Born, a novel by Vijay Raghavan. After having read three books of Paulo Coelho’s, I needed a break. And so, I turned to some Indian writing.

I hate it that sometimes Indian writers try too hard. They try hard to sound as close as they can to a native English writer. Which is fine, except, none of the British and American writers I read seem to write books with a thesaurus in hand.

And when I read this book, I thought of Joey and big hearts.

Maybe it’s just me, with my measly vocabulary, but to me, if a writer can’t convey her thoughts in a simple way, she can’t convey her thoughts at all.

After all, I heard it was Einstein who preached that if you can’t explain it to a six year-old, you don’t know it yourself.

But I digress.

This is a story of an English professor, also the narrator. One fine day, he realizes he’s schizophrenic, and two characters pop out from his head to help in his “conquest of happiness.” A doctorate in English, he names these characters Dr Heckyll and Mr Jyde. Throughout the rest of the story, these characters talk to him, advise him–even insult him at times–and at last, lead him to answer his own questions.

Even for someone who hates having to open the dictionary every few paragraphs, I enjoyed this story more than I hoped to. Maybe it was the effect of too much Coelho, but the plot of Twice Born ran fast and captivating. It was a peek into the life of a man torn between the Indian and the Western world. The narrative was honest in most places, a little philosophical at times, but overall — detached. I didn’t feel emotions seeping out of any of the characters; they all seemed logical, straightforward and calculative.

Nevertheless, I had my moments with this book. Moments like this.

twice born - excerpt

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