Review: Boomtown by Aditya Mukherjee

September 8, 2013
Author: Aditya Mukherjee
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9788129124074
Rating: ★★★★☆
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No clichés, no bollywood flick-like drama, and no stereotypes – the kind of refreshing read by an Indian author one finds very scarce these days. For all the distressed readers of Indian fiction, here comes our own author-in-shining-armour, Aditya Mukherjee, with his very first novel, Boomtown.

Set in Delhi, Boomtown is the story of four individuals from different spheres of life, coming together to materialize their dream startup, a fusion restaurant. JJ, the dreamer, an affluent Malayali, after his various travails realizes his true calling when he encounters a traditional recipe by Khan Mian from Chandni Chowk, with a slight modification in its essence. This leads to his discovery of Jaaved, the grandson of Khan Mian, who works in his grandfather’s place and is as gifted as his famous grandfather, but yearns to step out of the tradition and create his own recipes (orange sauces, lemon coffees and what nots!).

At the same time, Roy, born to typical Indian parents with a typical IT job after a typical education, gets laid off by his firm and is thrown off into nothingness. Amidst this catastrophe, he finds himself in the hands of JJ, also a former college mate and best friend, to join his crazy venture in Delhi. JJ also ropes in a former schoolmate Sheetal, a feisty working single mother, to help in this venture. Together, they start working on How-to-start-a-restaurant-chain-from-scratch-without-giving-up.

The absolute realism with which the author writes this story just adds flair to the plot. Be it the disillusionment of Roy against his IT life, or Sheetal’s bitterness from a marriage that failed, or JJ’s superfluous craziness to show the world that dreamers can dare, along with real Indian themes of corruption, dadagiri and reluctance to accept novelty- the writer manages to keep them grounded (just like the Chowk boy Jaaved who remains calm in the midst of all this unaccustomed urbaneness).

Boomtown is a mélange of eccentricity, life crisis, friendship and love. It is about an India where the youth are constantly kept on their toes by their elders to succeed, and in spite of scorning traditions or the system, we all conform to it in the end. The author has done his homework and what we get in the end is a wonderfully crafted novel that makes a mark in the reader’s mind. (My favourite part being where the writer jibes at the “new-gen” Indian writers who write novels with the sole purpose of seeing it come live on screen. Right on spot!)

I recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read sense with Indian sensibilities, and still have a good time.

Shradha Shreejaya

Still figuring the exacts.Bibliophile by choice and student by nature.

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  • Bisileesh P.B July 7, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    I wasn’t having much expectation when I took the book “Boomtown”
    for reading. It may be another college love story from this new comer IIM guy.I
    had this thought when I gone through the back cover of the book.well,it’s
    mentioned there that the book is the first novel of Aditya Mukherjie.

    But the book was surprisingly refreshing.Thankfully,the continent wasn’t about college
    love story.(well I am actually sick of reading them..!).If you are the kind of
    person who has got a startup dream, this book is perfect for you.Or if you are
    a foodie, you will enjoy reading this. Or if you are looking for a new voice
    form Indian authors? Here’s the new guy! Grab this book!

    I even liked the way he narrated the story, which gave opportunity to go through the minds of all
    four leading characters. Boomtown is a story of friendship, a story of food, a
    story of romance and of course a story of startup! The lead character JJ even
    reminded me a crazy friend of mine. Roy seems to be a guy whom I meet every day.
    And sheethal is the smart blonde whom every guy is longing to have.

    I enjoyed reading the celebration of “foodship”.Special thanks to team
    for sending me this book as a special gift.(Looking forward for more “Book”
    gifts..!!! Hehe..:))

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