This book plays off several shades of the contemporary grunge with a persistent neo-noir gradation. It saturates the cliché and builds it up through every paragraph till it blows into a cumulonimbus of decay. It is a tale of ‘missed connections’ and opportunities. A dystopic dirge keeps throbbing in the background while the four protagonists dance to its tune in perfect psychedelia.
It is hard to go through the book from this frame of reference. We can see ourselves in the pages making love to cellphones and avatars and losing sight of the reality while sinking deep into the mire of a new strain of love, the new romance. No one cares anymore for ‘the real thing’. Is there actually something real? Well, we do not have the time to spare on that kind of discovery. In an age of fast food and digital cash, finding true love seems rather dreary and time-consuming. We have let ourselves be annihilated with lust instead. Modern love is nothing more, but a raunchy escapade. It is more of a habit, a mechanical urge.
The story is very collected, even though it screams of failing control over life. It stings to see the ‘amount of life’ we lose to that purple haze, barely conscious, remotely living. Technology, which was supposed to ease our lives in the first place, has ushered another kind of problem for us. They have enslaved us. We are getting high on technology, apart from other things.
Cubercabs, Minderr, Arrowchat and others present good parodies. The irony is rampant throughout the text. Jack, Ben, Carla and Andrea are like any other youngsters trying hard to make sense of things and failing repeatedly. In a race to defeat time, it seems we have left life far behind, for it functions in its own pace. What makes it worse is we do not even realize we lost. We stand broad and tall as the winners on the very ground which has lost its gravity.
This is a great book! You will feel the loss, make you question your lifestyle and fill your mind with ‘what if’s’. It is an eye-opener as it gives a bird’s eye view to a lot of our daily struggles. You won’t fall in love with any of the characters, because you will be busy building up walls and trying to prove that you are not one of those ‘losers’. But, you will know, in the back of your head, it’s about you or someone close to you and it will embitter you. Yet, you would want to know what happens to them. You will reach the end and realize life’s not a fairy tale. You will realize some things need to be changed and soon. And you will hate these people even more.
A perpetual hunt for fulfillment and self-validation spans some one eighty two pages. Ray has done a tremendous job at painting these everyday characters that stand out to convey something alarmingly imperative to us in a succinct manner. The best part is the realization that of all the things around, love is the last thing that needs to be or can be modernized.