Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review - The Watch

Title: The Watch.
Author: Joydeep Roy- Bhattacharya.
Publisher: Hogarth, Random House UK.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 336.
Genre: Literary Fiction, War.
Blurb: Here.

'The Watch' by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya was the third book I had won in Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway. The first one being,Wife 22, the second being 'Shades of Truth' an unbelievable bummer of a book which I promptly misplaced it somewhere and now I don't know the ending. Not that, I'm dying to know. :|
Anyhoo, I knew 'The Watch' is a war related book. I knew it had a strong female character and I knew that the author is an Indian.Three reasons to incite my inquisitiveness.

My Thoughts:
The Watch is a powerful book which would most likely tug at your heart,emotionally drain and maybe even manage to confuse you. The book is about a legless Afghan girl who travels over 20 kilometers to claim her brother's body from an American platoon so that she can give him a proper burial. Well, it's not just about her,the novel is voiced and reiterated form multiple perspectives. Many a time,a particular scene is recurrent, from different first person standpoint.
Nizam, the Afghan girl is compared to Antigone from the Greek Mythology who attempts to get her brother a proper burial even though he was deemed a traitor. I felt the characters were very real, each of them dealing with their own demons. All the characters are so overwhelmingly human that there is no other way than to feel for them. The trauma, the pain, the confusion, the longing to be back with their family. The confusion setting in at Nizam's appearance at the outpost in the parched land of Kandhar. Is she telling the truth? Is she a suicide bomber? Is she a just a distraction deceitfully placed by the Taliban? The captain is wary of the girl's presence especially after a gruesome firefight the previous day. That is when the interpreter comes in to the scene. The story line changes in point of view ranging from the Nizam, the lieutenant, the rule obeying captain, the empathetic medic, the translator, the first and the second sergeant. What particularly impressed me was JRB's way of rendering the same scene from the different character's eyes. Each time, adding a small detail. It kept me glued to the book. We never know what new facet the author would heave upon us. It was like a missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

Till the end, the very end JRB keeps us guessing what would eventually happen to the girl. Will her wish be fulfilled? What will happen to the soldiers? By now we would have got attached to atleast one of the characters. The book ends abruptly and rightly so. An incredible book which is sure to stay in the minds of the readers long after they have done reading it.
My rating:


  1. Your review makes me want to read the book as soon as I can. The watch - added to the reading list.

    I've always found Indian authors are a marvel to read. It's easier to connect with their style, language and the story they have to share.

    1. Thankyou Summer!I totally recommend this book and yes I agree with you about Indian authors.They are a talented bunch. :)


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