Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar – a spoiler-free book review.

Disclaimer: The fact that I received this copy for a review by the author does not affect my views in any which way.

Before I begin sharing my thoughts on this particular book I’d like to congratulate the author, Kochery C. Shibu on his first novel! I think it isn’t said enough that how amazing it is to take a step to do what you want to and put it out to the world.

Screenshot 2017-07-17 17.26.37.pngWhen I first saw the book cover and the title, I thought the book to be about a sporty travel story – something about mountain climbing perhaps, or a story about a few men and their adventures in the mountain range – or perhaps, something to do with a story on the locals and their aspirations.
It turns out that the book is actually about a number of characters, three of them being the main ones, and their connection to the Dhauladhar range and/or the dam project that takes place there.

The things I liked about the book and the “However”s to them! :

I liked how the author managed  to provide a voice and a world to some of the most ordinary people doing ordinary jobs – something I don’t get to read in many other books. I loved how each person had a unique story to share and feel special in their own ways. I got to meet and understand lives of some villagers, workers and labourers working or affected by the dam project.
Also, it was intriguing to read about the varied backgrounds and stories that the main characters brought along with them and how easily they got linked together despite their complexities. It wasn’t difficult to get into the story, it flowed nicely. The writing is smooth, easy and really enjoyable.

However, I personally feel that had it been only a few characters (3 or 4 at the most) and had it been a novella with a maybe a hundred pages or so, the book would’ve been a much, much better read. I say this because I began losing interest somewhere before even reaching half way through. The story became too slow and some places, too monotonous. I honestly enjoyed the main three characters, but they lost their touch when more and more chapters were dedicated to various other characters.

Which also leads to my next point – the book title. In no way do I feel that the name of the book is in sync with the story. It’s not all about men and it isn’t all about dreams. For some characters, it was just one of the experiences and moments in their respective lives.

The author did have an advantage, which was well used, of having a first hand experience with hydroelectric projects. He did provide a lot of factual information regarding the project mentioned in the book – some interesting and necessary and some not so much.

If I try to link all the characters, not just the three mains, but all of them – it doesn’t really come across as a well weaved story. You understand the author’s perspective of the story but you don’t get to experience its charm, if you know what I mean.

Overall, I found it to be a relaxed average read – not too good but definitely not too bad. I give it 3.5/5 stars!

But! If you like meeting various characters, if you’d like a character-driven story in a new refreshed set up, if you’d like to go on a journey with an engineer with a life threat hovering over, a doctor who’s more passionate about dancing than anything else, and a young boy who lost his way in life and got caught up in terrorism and if you’d want to see how they end up with each other along with various other people – you’d definitely enjoy this one!

The book’s available on Amazon and Flipkart.

I’ll see you in my next one 🙂



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