Book Name: The Antagonists
Author: Tina Biswas
Book Blurb: I am one of you . . . that is why I, and only I, can be trusted to do what is good for you. January 12, 2013. Sachin Lohia, billionaire businessman, has just woken up to a nightmare. A raging fire in his hospital. Over hundred people dead. Journalists demanding answers. And worst of all, the chief minister of West Bengal, the formidable Devi, calling him a murderer. Hot-headed and stubborn, Devi doesn’t bother with formalities or facts. Her people are baying for blood, and Sachin is the perfect scapegoat. But will her schemes bring about his downfall or will she be the one to get hurt in this battle of wits? Seamlessly melding the personal and the political, this is a darkly satirical story of clashing egos, fatal misunderstandings, and dangerous self-deception. Irreverent, incisive, occasionally scabrous, and always bold, The Antagonists shines a light on the murky world of politics.
Review: Tina Biswas draws inspiration from real life scenarios and weaves an interesting plot situated in a small place in West Bengal. A billionaire, Sachin Lohia finds himself facing the wrath of an over-zealous chief minister after a fire at his hospital. It is left to his fixer, Anil to mend bridges but things don’t go according to plans.
Tina has researched a lot for the book and it shows. The media circus and political whataboutery is well captured in the book through the eyes of the various characters.
The plot should have focused on the single major tragedy but it mixes up land mining issues and other political deliberations which ends up meddling with free flow of the overall narrative. Nevertheless, this is an important story and highly relevant.
The book is written in colloquial English and falters too but Tina’s hard hitting prose makes up for the limitations in writing.
There have been few books in India that have explored the nexus between politicians, media and the justice system and so this book hits all the right notes. It states the obvious and does it with ample sarcasm that makes it an interesting read.
The novel is contemporary and ends with no clear winners- as generally happens in real life. The common citizen as always, loses out.