Publisher: Rupa Publications
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The Country is Going to the Dogs is the latest novel from the bestselling author of The Inscrutable Americans, Anurag Mathur. I haven’t read The Inscrutable Americans but after reading this book, I have no desire to read it. What has been marketed as a sex comedy with key words like “sex siren”, “gay bashes” and “wife-swapping parties” marked in bold and different colors in the blurb and unnecessary silhouettes of nude chicks doing pole dancing and yoga poses on the cover turns out to be a book with a noodle-thin nonsensical plot, mid-way through which you wonder what could be the reason for this mental torture.
The plot is about some famous film star, Miss Fifoo, who suddenly goes missing. Fifoo is an alumnus of All Saints Women’s College. Our protagonist, an ‘over-sexed seventy four year old retired accountant’, Radhey Radhey Kumar, lives exactly in front of the College and is on good terms with the Principal. I am sure the author must have mixed up Prostrate Enlargement with being “over-sexed” but jokes apart, this RR Kumar is then asked to be a detective and search for Fifoo. The reason for letting RR handle this case is that the police are hushing up the matter and nobody is supposed to know about it. OR there is a nice word in English to describe it – absurdity.
One good thing is the book’s portrayal of the constricted notion about sexuality that Indian men have. RR Kumar opposes women wearing tight clothes, being lesbians etc. by proclaiming it ‘against traditional upbringing’ and is then shown salivating while remembering his past one-night stands. This hypocritical and prejudiced view is encountered every now and then in the book, and is an excellent representation of the double-standard mentality of Indian men at some level. Share this via twitter!
The best thing about the book is that its length is just 168 pages. Just like a bad Bollywood movie that lasts for around 150 minutes, keeping the readers rooting for it to end. I was sitting on a couch and reading the book on a humid summer afternoon and I found the other activity that my body was performing, perspiring, more interesting. My reaction on completing this book was ‘The condition of contemporary Indian Literature is really going to the dogs!’
Want to check out another review before deciding on this book? Try out TOI’s review of The Country Is Going To The Dogs!