Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dork: The Incredible Adventures Of Robin Einstein Varghese by Sidin Vadukut

This book’s popularity is spreading like fire. If you are even vaguely in touch with the world of books by Indian authors, there is no way you could have missed this book. The Dork, Sidin Vadukut’s debut novel, is about Robin ‘Einstien’ Varghese’s transition from a B-school graduate to an associate in a business consulting firm. Einstien is a typical naive-and-stupid guy who can be found in every batch of every single college that exists on this earth. He is the kind of guy who sports thick framed glasses, has oil dripping down his hair, has a stupid grin stuck on his face all the time – you know who I am talking about, right? This guy can be found in every movie ever made on college boys and girls. BTW, that description is entirely mine, Vadukut does not give us a glimpse of how Einstien looks like.

The book takes the form of journal entries by Einstien. He has a habit of writing down the activities of the day where he treats his Diary as a confidant. He pours his heart out, bears his soul and is totally honest with his Diary. Through his journal entries, we get a glimpse of how Einstien’s world is, through his eyes, of course. The book starts with the journal entry for the day when Einstien gets a job – Day Zero job, mind you. It then goes on to show how he manages to goof-up at every point in his life, how utterly unaware he is of the world around and how innocent and naive he is. We have some hilarious incidents which include alcohol, a huge plastic duck and some puking. Another such incident has Einstien trying to solve the storage space crisis to store one lakh ball bearings. There are some smart-ass characters who are Einstien’s bitter enemies and some who he sympathizes with because they are not as smart as he is. Bring in a love interest and we have all ingredients for an interesting dorm story.

I bought this book after I read about it on Jai Arjun’s blog. His thoughts on the book:

Shameless plug: we both enjoyed the book hugely. The trope of the unreliable narrator is something I usually associate with serious literary fiction, but Sidin pulls it off very convincingly in a fast-paced comic narrative. His protagonist Robin Verghese is magnificently clueless about what’s really happening around him.

I have always found his reviews very helpful. I read We need to talk about Kevin after I read his review and I am grateful to him for introducing me to this book. But, this book…. I don’t know what he is saying. Unreliable narrator? We see through Verghese the moment he opens his mouth, I mean his first journal entry. The reader knows that what Verghese thinks about himself is not necessarily true. Is that what he means by unreliable narrator?

I am confused about this book. If it is supposed to be hilarious, then it is not. I probably laughed just once while I read the entire book. Satire?I think not. Are we supposed to laugh at Robin Verghese? I don’t find him funny, but irritating. Are we supposed to sympathize with him? I can’t because he irritates me. A literary master-piece which is disguised as a light-weight book? If that is so, then I totally don’t get it. There are quite a few positive reviews, so it must be just me.

[Via http://mybookshelf.wordpress.com]

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