Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Talion Tale by Rahul Apte : Book Review

An Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth - that is the essence brought out in Rahul Apte's The Talion Tale.

My Review

When I picked up The Talion Tale I was pretty intimidated by its weight. 400 pages of military action - I wasn't ready for it. However, I was so wrong. The book is not only extremely packed with emotions and events that turn the world around Jamshed, the protagonist, upside down but makes the reader feel on the edge and anticipate the end crazily! In modern Indian Literature, all we find is sweet love stories and complex love plots. Apte's book is a piece of reality served cold. No sugar coating. No unnecessary hyperbolic statements. I feel realistic books like this is highly needed in today's era. That is why I encourage my readers, to go and pick up The Talion Tale.

What is The Talion Tale about?

Jamshed Hyatt Khan, an Indian Lieutenant, a Muslim who loses his family in the 26/11 attack and in a fit of anger, ends up murdering a terrorist sympathizer. The RAW utilises the opportunity and efficiently uses him as a spy, and Jamshed too turns his ordeal to his cause, owing to the revengeful attitude he is nursing in his breast.

The Themes in The Talion Tale

The very first theme that caught my eye is that of parental pressure on kids to fulfill their own dreams. The author has brilliantly portrayed the mark, or rather, the scar such parenting leaves and how the children are never able to forget such torments of the past.

A second theme - minor but significant is the love for one's family. The human is a social man and for him his family is always the most important part of life. To save or help them he can create and move mountains. When something happens to them, he will burn the same mountain down. The powerful emotions of Jamshed for his family, is unmatched.

The third and the most important theme of The Talion Tale is terrorism and revenge. We can look upon the two as a cyclic action as well. Terrorist activities trigger deaths, the families of the dead seek revenge and the easiest way that appears to them is that of Terrorist activities again.

There are several other plots such as Political tension between countries, specially highlighted in the India-Pakistan-Afghanistan issues. Honestly, I am not the person who stays updated to a great extent with these facts so it was pretty new for me, but Apte has explained everything in quite detail in his book which I absolutely appreciate.


A strong and weak point in this book both act in the form of Jimmy or Jamshed. His characterisation is the most perfect characterisation ever done, he is a perfectly rounded character who is three dimensional and we keep on discovering new shades in him. From an abused child who is forced into joining the army, to a loving man to his family. From his utter devastation at the loss of his family and finally to the cold-blooded assassin he probably never wanted to become - the character of Jimmy shocks and thrills you. In a long time I haven't met such a memorable character.

However, no other character in the book is half as well made. They are all very flat and I feel that the author could have given them atleast a bit more dimension to make them memorable. There are an array of characters, but you hardly remember more than a couple of them once you are done with this book.

Style of Writing

What makes a book standout among others is definitely how it has been written. Even the best of books wouldn't go well in the market if they were written inappropriately. Apte's writing style is articulate enough to propagate his ideas properly to the reader, and that proves to be helpful for readers like me who have hardly read any book previously with such themes. Never does he get discursive in the course of the novel even though it spans over 400 pages. His statements are polemical - the facts stated are not merely out of the blue, they are quite true, verified and trusted. This is necessary while writing such novels because the author is indirectly or directly reflecting on the conditions of the state. The chapters bear the time and location of the events beneath the chapter numbers, making it easy to imagine the setting at once.

However, the author might use a bit conversational style in some parts to connect more with the reader. To sit through 400 pages is not an easy deal, and the reader will find it much better if he feels invited.

Is the Title Justified?

Absolutely.  There probably couldn't have been an better title. The Talion Tale signifies that it's a tale of how a punishment was awarded to someone who actually deserved it. Was it Jimmy who turned slowly into a revenge hungry monster? Was it the people who killed his family? To find out, you need to grab The Talion Tale.

Overall Opinion

Indian Authors today lack the basic sense of writing novels, they mess up with characters and do no research. The Talion Tale is one such book that has taken utmost care of the presentation of the novel and finally it has turned out to be a great piece of modern Indian Literature. I would definitely like to see Apte writing more books, probably on diverse topics to check if he is a versatile author as well. I rate the Talion Tale 4*/5*. A bit more work on character sketch, more interesting prose work and a better cover could have made the end product absolutely Perfect.

Grab a Copy by clicking Here .

1 comment:

  1. Diptendu Mandal1 March 2018 at 08:58

    Great Review Helly.... I feel i should try this!