Saturday, 23 August 2014

Kabuko the Djinn by Hamraz Ahsan, 2013

I have said elsewhere on this blog and in comments on other blogs that I rarely put a book away after I have started reading it, even if I’m plodding through the book. I will read it anyway because I always find something that redeems the book in my eyes. And sometimes I feel I owe it to the author.

In the case of Kabuko the Djinn, 2013, by the London-based journalist and author, Hamraz Ahsan, I didn’t make that exception because, much as I liked the storyline and writing style, which is really good, I lost interest after the initial few pages. I didn’t feel like reading further about the occult and the mystical world of the djinn who enters the body of a young boy, around which this story revolves.

There are two reasons. One, I wanted to get back to the fast-paced fiction, the thrillers, the mysteries, and the westerns, that I’m fond of reading. I’m a brainwashed prisoner of the American paperback. And two, however absorbing Indian fiction is, given its literary style, the narrative is often long winding, as I felt about Kabuko the Djinn. Indian fiction is also more descriptive and 
almost academic in tone.

I understand that you cannot judge a book by reading only a few pages and I’ll probably try and read it at some point in the near future. But not just yet. I
ve to be in the mood for a fictional tale involving “mystics, myths, and magic.”

For now, I’ll leave you with the synopsis of Kabuko the Djinn which has received much praise from more discerning readers.


“Kabuko the djinn is the evocative story of a djinn who journeys through human life in search of occult knowledge. Wishing to study the dynamics of the human species for himself, in order to unearth the secrets of human power, Kabuko enters the body of Ajee Shah, a boy born in post-independence Punjab, Pakistan. As Kabuko loses himself to the trials and tribulations of living an ordinary yet intrinsically exceptional human life through Ajee, sex and the supernatural collide, entangling them both in a cataclysmic event that is to change their lives forever. Woven throughout this tapestry of youthful yearnings and a desire for transcendental knowledge are real secrets of the Islamic occult, true stories of Muslim saints, and the folklore of the Punjab.”

I’m grateful to Fingerprint, an imprint of Prakash Books India Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, for my copy of this book. You can order your copy from Amazon.

12 comments:

  1. A brainwashed prisoner of the American paperback! Then we have done our job. :) If I make it more than ten or fifteen pages into a book I will finish it too, even if I have to plod.

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    1. Charles, you surely have! I grew up reading all kinds of American paperbacks that I don't even remember today. This is probably just the second or third book in years I must have put away. I suppose I wasn't in the right frame of mind to read it.

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  2. Based on the description, I would give this book a try myself. The theme of a supernatural being assuming human form is a subject that runs through literature from its beginnings and must answer to a deep curiosity in us about ourselves and the possibilities of mysteries beyond.

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    1. Ron, you have an interesting perspective. I felt much the same way when I read THE INVISIBLE MAN by H.G. Wells. While it was a curse for the invisible man, I wondered what it would be like to be invisible, or to be able to fly like Superman for that matter.

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    2. When I wrote the above, I was also thinking of the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire, in which Bruno Ganz plays an angel who becomes mortal.

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    3. Ron, I did not know about WINGS OF DESIRE or Bruno Ganz who, now that I read about him, appears to be a versatile actor. He also played Hitler in a film called DOWNFALL. I rarely watch foreign films on account of having no easy access to them.

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  3. Prashant, I rarely stop reading a book once I have started. Only two I can remember in the last five years or so. One of Dennis Lehane's books was just too tense for me: DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND. And Richard J. Evans 700 page book on THE THIRD REICH IN POWER. After 200 pages, I knew that book was too long and depressing for me. Sometimes I think I should give up on some books, but so far I haven't. I have always liked your attitude: "I always find something that redeems the book in my eyes."

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    1. Tracy, thank you. I feel incomplete, like something is not right, when I dump a book halfway and so I usually read it all the way through, sometimes over a period of time. I have not heard of THE THIRD REICH IN POWER and will look for a copy. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  4. I mostly finish books I start, but I've abandoned a few too, lately. Sometimes I just know it's not for me, and there are SO many books to get to. Now and then I'll finish something truly terrible so I can feel justified in my review (and have lots of supporting examples). The last few things I've read have been so disappointing that I have to cleanse my palate with some guaranteed winners.

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    1. Kelly, I often hop from book to book though I always come back and read the ones that I'd left midway. I usually finish reading the early ones in the same month that I started reading them. If I'm reading a classic, then I need to read something more fast paced but I'll finish the classic eventually. As of today I have five or six unfinished books which I hope to read through within a fortnight. Thanks to ebooks, I have been spoiled for choice.

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  5. I'll always finish once I've started something. I don't think I'd start this one though.

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    1. Col, I have rarely ever put away a book. I mean I have but I always come back and finish reading it.

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