8 PM – An Apolitical Love Story is an attempt, and quite a successful one I might as well say, at a political satire in context of India. The book aims at stating the obvious which is no ordinary feat in these extra ordinary times.
It is no mere coincidence that this book is launched at a time when the country is going through so much. Post 2014, India has witnessed a paradigm shift in its socio-political ballgame amidst all the incompetent policies which have left the common man bereft of opinion as well as possessions. However, there are only a few contemporary writers who have incorporated these changes into their stories/works. Fazle Karim does it and he does it well.
Fazle mixes fiction with facts and creates a miscellany that’s going to leave you wanting for more when it finishes.
As a reviewer on amazon notes that while there are a few areas due an improvement, there’s no denying that Fazle has something which most of his contemporary writers do not – he doesn’t try too hard. Well, one can’t agree more.
The story amuses you while the sharp jibes taken at the states of affairs leaves you in split.
The silent jokes start right with the chapter titles all of which are after different varieties of mangoes
“This is an apolitical love story and, if you don’t like one, I would recommend you watch an apolitical interview.” That’s how Fazle Karim introduces the readers to his story.
Anyone with a little degree of socio-political awareness will know what the story is going to be about and for the uninitiated, let it suffice to say, a story which must say it is apolitical is never truly apolitical.
The story starts with Rahul losing his job the infamous cash crunch after demonetization. In fact, Rahul finds his life a little more in shambles after every time there is an 8 PM announcement. His friend helps him find another job in a firm of an old acquaintance where he crosses path with his divorced wife’s sister.
The plot line is simple, the story grows into a captivating tale of fate and fortune. While there’s nothing political about it, the writer exploits the opportunity with the inline commentary and draws political imagery fascinating to an extent that you wouldn’t know what got you hooked with the book in the first place.
It is difficult not to fall in love with the feminine touch which Fazle imparts to all his characters. For regular consumers who grew up on the toxic masculinity projected in now-a-days’ novels, this book is surely a fresh breath of air. The unpretentious and unforgiving style of the writer is the USP for this book.
The book lends perspective and opens a window into the affairs of a country that, for most people now, is godforsaken.
Dr. Shahnawaz Ahmed Malik