Book Review: The Wednesday Soul by Sorabh Pant

It’s been a while since I reviewed a book. But the book review program and the fact  that I signed up for reviewing will make me come out of my slumber. And the book getting unveiled is “The Wednesday Soul” by Sorabh Pant, who is also a stand-up comedian by the day.

Plot Summary: The book is primarily about the afterlife experience of Nyra Dubey, a female vigilante , Chitr Gupta, a higher mortal/ demi-God, and their super-powered nemesis, Kutsa. The broader blurb is available on the publisher website. But in short – Girl is a vigilante, meets and likes an interesting guy one night who’s apparently invulnerable and can read people’s innocence in their eyes through a score, has a nemesis who’s despatched a few too many people to the nether world. Girl like guy, nemesis kills girl, guy and nemesis die in a clash. A whole battery of support characters come into play as the afterlife world is constructed, while the broken fragments of the mortal world come together as well. Etc Etc.

The concept of a “Wednesday soul” or “Sunday Soul” though, I believe, is driven off our expectations and evolving lifestyles. The mid-week peaking frustration making people suicidal to the Sunday being the most sacred of all days. Nyra, the central character, is a Wednesday soul, people who subconsciously drive themselves to death (say, by overworking, over-eating, putting themselves in the path of danger).

Liked : Many of the jokes and potshots. Right from Lenin spewing Russian comedy to Indian PhD in queues, to Agatha Christie connecting with Inspector Sharma in Sanskrit. The pace is fine, if not submerging. You can finish off the book in one go (or two). Its not a very complicated story, and you can get the sense that there are several ideas introduced in the book that can easily help you create more stories/ books around them. The book is irreverent and there are no holy cows in the book. And that’s where the books biggest strength is. The funny potshots at everyone and everything.

Did not like: The story at large and the narration leaves much to be desired. Far too many loop holes in the story (the character of Harithi and her ability to score cadavers for instance), and fairly incoherent storyline (Inspector Sharma’s character, or Agatha’s link with the world starting off with British English in Harithi’s head and Sanskrit instructions later), the idea of “Thinkers” viewing what’s going on in the world, but not being able to locate the Third, and the missing Sunday Soul. However, the thing that really got me was the editing and printing of the book (at least the edition I have in my hands). It’s a mess. So much so that it reminds me of Times of India. For instance – the editing jumps refers to a flying eledactyl (an elephants -pterodactyl) as Air-Awat, Ayr-Awat or Ayrawat at different places. Insignificant editing errors such as these are present in significant numbers across the book. The bigger peeve I have against the book is actually the quality of editing. The narration and character sketch is hardly consistent. Inspector Sharma graduates from good English to grammatically incorrect English in the later half. The beings do not exist in the same plain consistently. A weird character (in the earthly sense) like Chitr Gupta, fighting off goons in a lowly locality of Delhi thinks of Grey’s Anatomy and Literary Jokes in his head. There’s a subliminal level of awareness that makes most characters speak in the same language/style and intonation and binds them to the same awareness about different things, issues and people. 87 rewrites do not seem visible from an editing lens I think.

End Verdict: At 250, this one session book seems very steep. For an INR99 kind of price established by Chetan Bhagat, this book could have been a passable read. It’s a book that showcases Sorabh’s abilities as a funny person, but not as a narrator/ story-teller. What really works is that Sorabh is a stand up comedian, a funny guy, in short. What really doesn’t work is that the book does not go much beyond that. It’s a series of gags, puns, pot-shots woven together. The book has some extremely funny moments, or gags as I’d rather refer to them as. But I wouldn’t mind missing out on this book. The book is like a DJ mix of spoofing and puntastic commentary on the world beyond and the powers that be. You may dance the night, but you won’t remember why.


This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

2 Responses to Book Review: The Wednesday Soul by Sorabh Pant

  1. I’ve been in search of this data and finally located your post. Your writing is key in helping me with my exploration. Please don’t stop composing at this quality.


  2. Kamikaze says:

    I liked your analytical style of review. You’ve hit the nail on the things I didn’t like!
    Enjoyed reading the review 🙂


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