Friday, May 25, 2012

Never judge a book by its cover

I had seen Broken News in bookstores but the cover was a big put-off (it still is); I imagined it to be another of those insipid novels by a wannabe writer who just happens to be a journalist.

But after one of my students, Sonakshi Nandy (Class of 2014), mentioned it in her e-mail a couple of days ago, and after two other students, Ankita Sengupta and Sohini Guharoy (both Class of 2013), talked about the book and about their interactions with the author during their recent internship at CNN-IBN, I went to the Just Books library and borrowed Broken News.

I began reading it the same night and I was thrilled to learn that I was wrong about the book — and the author. What do they say about not judging a book by its cover?

Amrita Tripathi, a senior journalist and anchor with CNN-IBN, certainly has a way with words and Broken News, which is all about life — and love gone sour — at a major television news channel, is peppered with many original lines. Here's one: " never see the spots when you're looking the damn leopard in the face...".

And here's her description of the Mayur Vihar locality in New Delhi:

A suburb that's captured the essence of the Indian middle class so deeply, so thoroughly, that it's turned grey. And it's not just the buildings: the dreams, the air, everything is thick with it. Oh, the dull self-effacement of it; the quiet overwhelming industriousness of it. No glamour here, that's for sure.

(I have been to Mayur Vihar a few times — Tripathi has got it down pat.)

I also loved the thought and effort that have gone into the WHAT WE LEARN "intertitles" between chapters (see below).

But will young people who liked, and still like, Sidney Sheldon and now rave about Chetan Bhagat "get" the very cerebral Amrita Tripathi?

(Don't get me wrong — there was a time when I used to read Sidney Sheldon, too, but that was in high school and the early college years. As for Chetan Bhagat, I admire him for having gotten so many young people reading; here's my RR post: "Chetan Bhagat on how to take your English to the next level".)
  • UPDATE (May 26, 2012): Soon you will not need to judge Broken News by this particular cover. Why? See Twitter conversation below:

  •  UPDATE (July 19, 2013): Broken News has indeed been re-issued with a new cover, as promised by Amrita Tripathi in her tweet to me (above). I purchased a copy at Landmark yesterday and it has now been placed in the Commits library.

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