Book Review : Live from London
Category: General Fiction
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
With new talent shows popping up like mushrooms on different TV channels and thousands of contestants waiting patiently in lines that extend upto several kilometres, we all know that today’s youth is deeply fascinated by the thought of making a career in one of the performing arts. In her debut novel Live From London Parinda Joshi introduces us to one such character, Nishi Gupta, who is an aspiring singer and is struggling to make it big in the music industry.
Nishi Gupta, a 21 years old girl who lives in London and has big dreams of becoming a singing sensation suddenly finds herself on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent where she messes up her performance and receives harsh reactions from the judges. After the fiasco a devastated Nishi, who is unable to cope with the humiliation she had to face on TV, is determined to leave her mark in the music industry and starts interning at Hues, a record label company. She hopes that her new job would help her build contacts in the music world which would foster her dreams of becoming a rockstar. At Hues she happens to me meet Nick Navjot Chapman, a half Indian, half Canadian singer who oozes charm and is totally irresistible. Soon Nishi and Nick become an “item” and Nishi gets the break she had always wanted, a chance to sing in Nick’s debut album. At this point Nishi is confident that she is all set to become the next big thing in Britain’s music industry. However, fate has something else lined up for her and all of a sudden Nishi lands up in India, trying to get accustomed to a life which is entirely different from the one which she had in London. With this sudden turn of events Nishi finds herself struggling to keep her dream alive.
The book is set against the backdrop of the British music industry and is neatly divided into two parts, the former dealing with Nishi’s life in London and the latter, her struggle in India although second part is limited to the last fifty pages of the book. The choice of the words is simple and the sentence construction is lucid and easy to follow.
The novel is targeted at the urban youth, especially girls in their late teens and early twenties who are obsessed with rock-bands, pop stars, metrosexual hunks and a glamorous lifestyle.
To her credit the author has built upon the character of Nishi Gupta really well. Being in my early twenties I could easily relate to it. Nishi is smart, sassy, confident and defiant. She lives with her parents in London and craves for independence and privacy just like most 21 years old girls do. Her dream to make it big in the performing arts is also understandable.
I looked like any other young woman in college in London with heavily layered razor cut, dyed with three different colours- copper auburn and a hint of blonde. It was the kind of funky look everyone was sporting and I was no different.
We also get to meet Nishi’s friends Sarah, Riya, Zac and Arjun each of whom is stylish and delightfully quirky. Nishi’s parents are the stereotypical Indian parents- nagging and overprotective.
Another aspect of the book which impressed me was the author’s attempt to give us an insight into the British Music Industry which forms an integral part of the book.
The UK music scene is quite different from the US. The Pink Floyds and the Deep Purples had once taken the country by storm with ever increasingly progressive elements like obtuse lyrics. Then came Punk rock with their loud and rebellious lyrics which spawned Goth, alternative rock and many more sub genres.
The individual situations, on the other hand, were not well elaborated. At various places in the book I felt that paragraphs lacked completeness. The transition from one scene to another seemed a bit abrupt.
The ease with which Nishi grabs an internship at a record label company is incredible given the fact that she is a newbie and has no prior experience. Her relationship with Nick is also a little rushed. Detailed description of events could have rectified these minor flaws.
I personally feel that the book has a good storyline. Had the author not wrapped up the novel in a hurry and paid more attention to details the book would have been quite gripping.
Nevertheless, the book is enjoyable and makes for a light and pleasant one time read. If you are apprehensive about getting bored on your next train journey you might consider taking this book along with you.
To know more about the author log on to www.parindajoshi.com