Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Dreams Die Young by C.V.Murali

Title: Dreams Die Young
Author: C.V.Murali
Publisher: Frog Books
Pages: 95
Price: Rs 145
Genre: Fiction / Nostalgia / Naxalite movement
Rating: 8/10 for the basic story and its potential; 2/10 for the editing
Format: Paperback

I am yet to read another book which has such a promising story line but such poor editing. It is always hard for me to look past the glaring mistakes, but this book is an exception.

The book begins at ‘the end’, and the core story is narrated in the flash-back. Rajat Sen is a 50-something, highly successful US-based professor. A chance meeting with an old classmate, Arindam Sanyal, brings back the ghosts of his days of youth and idealism.

The main story is set in the India of 1960s, which saw the emergence of Naxalite movement. Murali’s main protagonist, Rajat Sen, has had a protected, affluent upbringing. The divide between different classes, the sufferings and the dearth of opportunities for the less-fortunate never mattered in his scheme of things. When he joins Engineering, he gets influenced by Arindam and is drawn towards the idealistic beliefs of a classless society. It appeals to his young mind that several well-educated young people with a sound background, like his own, are part of the struggle and taking matters in their hands to create a better future. They are disillusioned enough to believe that their violent means and killing of innocent lives are justified as long as they serve the purpose of achieving the end.

Soon Rajat is also sucked into the vicious circle of violence, plotting the killings of one government official to another minister; until he is asked to kill a prominent government official who was known to be masterminding government action against the Naxalites.

This 95-pages book is a fast-paced story that raises pertinent questions about grim realities of contemporary India in the minds of readers. What instigates the bright, young minds with promising futures to get sucked into the cycle of violence in pursuit of a blurry vision? Is it romantic to be part of the revolution that promises an ideal world? Why choose unrealistic and unreasonable means to achieve a just society? Are they justified? Agreed, the poor have been wronged forever now, but is this the way out?

I admit, there are some unnecessary details in the narrative like the details on the railways or monsoon which go on and on for a while, and yet I loved the book. It could have been significantly better through better editing.

With dramatic twists and turns, it is hard not to notice that this book is a movie waiting to be made. 

The cover page evokes nostalgia and has a certain melancholic appeal; and suits the theme of the book perfectly.  

Do read it if you could lay your hands on it. 

Image source:


  1. Hmmm I have this issue with Frog books, they do shoddy editing! Always! Some lovely books go bad because of this!

    1. I agree. I had read about this book in 'The Hindu' long time back but bought it probably last year or so. Do read it if you can lay your hands on it. At 95 pages, you would finish in an hour or so :-)

  2. Looks good, but a book with poor editing leaves a bad taste in mouth! After a while, the focus moves from the story to grammar and spellings!

    1. Yes Shilpa, poor editing is annoying but this book has a certain appeal which makes me recommend it irrespective of the fact that it falls short in the editing department.