The first thing that catches your eye is the title, “Cough Syrup Surrealism”. It is poetic and calming, reminding you of times when you’re floating above the ground. But this book is definitely neither calm nor poetic but rather an explosion about a bunch of issues irking the current generation, all put in to a grinder to churn out a quite brilliant book.
Charlie is a sweet Malayalee boy studying in Loyola College, Chennai while his parents harbour dreams of his following his father’s footsteps and becoming an IAS officer. But no surprise that Charlie doesn’t want that life. And then, he is rudely interrupted while writing his umpteenth suicide note and pushed into a life of drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, quite literally. All this while his parents sit and worry about their A-grade child who has tasted big city life and been “spoilt” by it. And to top it all off, there is Mao, the most interesting “character” of the book. Mao is none other than Charlie’s brain, his alter-ego you may call him. So what happens when a depressed boy with suicidal tendencies, a Nineties mentality and a very active alter-ego gets into drugs?
This book feels apt for the generation. Jimani doesn’t shy away from the big D(rugs) word and lets it all out, unrestrained. Conversations between Mao and Charlie are cleverly written. He portrays the life of most collegiates in India today who are much under stigma by the society that refuses to accept the changing lifestyle of the youth. The Malayalee parents are a brilliant touch and bonus points for it being based in Chennai!
All-in-all, this is a good book that is quick to read and leaves you with quite a lot to think about. Finally, Indian authors’ concentrating on Indian issues is refreshing.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
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