Book Review: Black, Grey and White by Santosh Avvannavar, Santosh Biradar
Book: Black, Grey and White
Author: Santosh Avvannavar, Santosh Biradar
Plot: This book gifts its readers five fantastic short stories that has a common aim – to spread awareness about AIDS. It is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against AIDS and show their solidarity for HIV positive people. The book is an eye opener for anyone who wish to see the wave of positive change in society. Everyone including the brave hearts Savita, Chintu, Mithali has the right to live with their head held high without fear of social ostracization. Life does not have to be like this. The time is ripe to act now with one’s sense and sensibility. Break the myths. Come, be the change! (official synopsis)
A huge thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book to read and review
The book deals with a heavy topic and unlike the normal trend of laying it heavy with the readers, i liked how the author treated the topic gently and subtly yet leaving the underlying message clear and loud enough for its readers.
The book is a short story compilation based on the theme of HIV and through short stories it shows the various faces of this demon being treated in India. it touches upon the prevalent myths and practices as well.
The book combines five stories. While the initial four stories were on same underlying themes, i found the last story to be a separate entity altogether with a different story line and treatment.
The book runs really fast so it does not demand much of your time and is a pretty quick read that touches upon the crucial elements with required intensity. i did find the layout different from the other books. The author has used a play format narration and layout to tell his stories. As in we have characters followed by their share of dialogues. For those of us who are not used to this style may find it taking a little while to ease into the style. I love the language quality but i am afraid for the “shayaris” in between but fortunately there are only two or three of them (for those who are not aware “shayaris” are small yet annoyingly powerful poetic outbursts in Hindi by Indian authors and is a new found trend in the Indian fiction field. It is not that they are bad or something but these Hindi outbursts breaks an otherwise free flowing english language literary work). That being said let me dodge a bullet by just pointing out that i was saying this in a general context and not for this book in specific..Narration can be a little smoother but considering that this is a short story compilation, i guess it is fair enough and even the super speed of the book is justified
Thankfully the book does not go heavy on preaching inspite of such a heavy topic being taken as its basic theme and instead it is a quick, sweet and short read that echoes its purpose quite well. Narration runs pretty fast and touching upon the surface of the topics highlighting the essentials.
To argue on could say that the topic could have used more depth but to me personally the pure fiction treatment got the message clear enough than jostling me with harsh and startling facts. I think it is more effective than commercializing and banking on the emotional vulnerabilities of its readers. Plus for the past few weeks i have been reading some strong content that this book was a pretty serene read for me.
Being under 100 pages i would say that it would not hurt to pick up this book and in fact may even open your eyes to how different sections view the topic of HIV and what are the various outlooks that exists even in this highly educated and modern times.