2.5Disappointed Serious and Illicit expectations from the author killed it for me. 3.5 starsWith Illicit happiness of other people and Serious men, Manu Joseph has easily become one of my favourite contemporary Indian authors Hence I pounced upon this book as soon as I came to know of it This one ranks beneath the above 2 novels, but above Lost Libido and other pulp fiction, his collection of short stories.This novel is about a plucky young news reporter vlogger wbo is not afraid to caricature and publicly humiliate all pompous public figures, irrespective of their caste or political beliefs After all she lost her mother to misplaced communist idealism Mukundan, a young police in the CBI who wants to maintain his work ethics Laila, a 19 year old Muslim girl who is burdened with a widowed mother and half a dozen younger siblings whom she has to support Jamal, her employer various political bigwigs who can be very well identified with living personae with a little imagination.The past and present collude and we get s fast paced story set in the premises of a collapsed low cost building in Mumbai.Was a quick read Enjoyed most parts.But if one is new to Manu Joseph, please read the other two books first. On The Day That Hindu Nationalists Have Won A Spectacular Election Victory, A Building Collapses In Mumbai The Rescue Operation Finds A Single Survivor In The Debris The Only Person Able To Reach Him Is Akhila Iyer, A Medical Student Who Is Also A Notorious Social Media Prankster She Finds Him Mumbling In Delirium That Two People Are On Their Way To Carry Out A Terror Attack Elsewhere, A Young Intelligence Agent, Mukundan, Is Assigned To Shadow The Two Terror Suspects 3.5 stars rounded to 3 When you pick up a book with great expectations you are being unfair to the author s creativity This book by Manu Joseph stays close to the journalist in him than on the human character expert that made us love him Standalone, this book is readable, but not one that you want to become a brand ambassador.Miss Laila Armed and Dangerous could be a satire or a thinly veiled soft expose Whichever be the case, the book knows to tell a good story Akhila Iyer, a standup comedian, who takes on the leftist agenda through pranks and who has recently made fun on the Sangh s demigod DaMo is taught a lesson by the goons The same day a building in Mumbai collapses and DaMo sweeps the elections A lone survivor in the building is ranting about a terror plot involving Jamal and Laila and Akhila is the conduit between the trapped man and the police above It becomes a thriller from chapter 5 onwards.At a subliminal level, it takes on the ideological aspects of activism of any kind We tend to vilify any threats to our identity be it minority, independent women, western influences, reservation meritocracy you name it In one of the clever chapters towards the end, Manu Joseph demonstrates this activism with a wailing baby in an aircraft and the business class divide Aside, his earlier two books were enmeshed with quotes that exhibited brilliant wit and human character This was few and far in between in this book primarily due to the agenda for an author which is to shock you than entertain you And if you are someone with limited tolerance to mock you There were some gems along the way Sample thisThere are faces only an Indian can make Like that baffled face when he is shocked by the most logical outcome of his actions He crosses the road like a cow, and he is startled by a truck A vehicle on the road How He walks across the railway track, and he finds a train hurtling towards him A train on a railway track He is stunned Too few witty lines and, to me, the book gets buried in the expectations from the author in him Readable but I wish it had been remarkable.edit Read the case account of Ishrat Jahan encounter and new found respect for the theme I missed something here, I think There are the stories of a vlogger prankster, a man trapped in a collapsed building, a girl whose sister is on a road trip with her boyfriend, and one of the policemen following them because the boyfriend is a suspected terrorist They intersect and sort of fit together eventually, but it doesn t really form a satisfying whole in story terms However, it s based on real events that I don t know about, so I think I just don t have the basic information to interpret what s on the page Hey ho, the author writes very well so I ll try something else that sintended as a novel. 3rd November 3.5 stars The book reads well and makes for a pacy, interesting story but truth be told, I didn t get my closure with it by the end of the book and I wanted to readabout the actual incident Ishrat Jahan Case if you re curious too I m all in for satire in stories and this is precisely what works for me in Manu Joseph s writings That said, the story as a whole felt incomplete, it being a writing on a real life encounter case I guess there will be loose ends as there are limits to both journalism and investigation I didn t hate it, I just didn t love it as much as I loved The Illicit Happiness of Other People End of review I ve read in one of the reviews here that they would love to know if Mukundan too is based on a real life character I would like to believe that his character is inspired by the writer s own experience with the incident view spoiler It s beenthan a decade and here he is, writing about the incident, isn t that what Mukundan does throughout the story too, recall the incident as if it was just happening then No Just me then hide spoiler I would have given this a three star rating after the first 50 pages or so The writing was good, if a little rambly The author s predisposition to poke fun at both sides of the political spectrum shone through at times, while at others it felt a bit flat and forced Some of the ideas and musing were interesting, while others just too tangential to the flow of the narrative Well, well, Manu, I thought, where are you going with this.As if in response, the writing shifted up another gear Without realising it, I was drawn into the narrative, pulling curiously at the little threads that he d left as breadcrumbs for me to follow There was Akhila, instigator and prankster there was the Hindu Patriarch, Professor Vaid, analysing her pranks in context with the larger sociopolitical spectrum there was the poor bastard trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building there was Jamal, a suspect terrorist and Laila s boss there was Mukundan, the IB officer following Jamal there was Alisha I could be getting the name wrong here , Laila s little sister and her closest confidante there was Bheem, the leader of the Beards and a staunch Hindutva flagbearer who featured in the good books of Damodarbhai, ex CM of Gujarat and the would be PM of the country And then there was Laila Raza the titular character, but always shown through the eyes of someone else Her hopes, her dreams, her thoughts, her actions are all from the perspective of the people narrating it, coloured by their perception of who she is It was a curious device to employ, this non subjective representation It made you think you knew who Laila was, and know you didn t Not really.The story progresses, and all the loose ends are tied up in a gangbanger of an ending The climax literally swept me off my feet The thinly veiled satire you know which real life person each character apart from Akhila and Mukundan, I guess is supposed to represent brings a haunting, biting perspective to a highly publicised police encounter that is still unresolved, and is by now mired in so many claim and counterclaims that it is difficult to identify what is truth and what isn t Manu Joseph pulls no punches when he delivers his verdict of guilty on everyone involved the law enforcement, the government, the media, the social activists, the facist right wingers, the liberal left wingers Top stuff, this Five stars through and through. Miss Laila is the sort of book where you don t really know with which side the authors sympathy lies The novel trapezes across a few contemporary events in Indian society like the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing, the Gujarat earthquake and the ascent of Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalists The characters include one of Joseph s best creations Akhila Iyer, a female prankster who makes videos that poke fun at prominent personalities especially liberals Manu Joseph observes everything with an air of serious drollness He is not someone who would write long pointless articles about the emergence of fascism, that merely state the obvious His commentary on the rise of Modi is the best I have read He says that evil is an equal opportunity hiring place where the biggest asshole rises to the top Modi, Trump etc While the good is a well entrenched network where only the duds with connections seem to rise to the top Rahul Gandhi, Hilary Clinton etc Manu Joseph s villains are the activists and social justice warriors The character Akhila Iyer could well be a mouthpiece for Manu Joseph s views about Indian society My review might suggest that Manu Joseph sympathizes with the Hindu right wing He does not He is not Paul Joseph Watson He is asking for a higher standard to judge liberals Manu Joseph s two earlier novels had elements of genre fiction Serious Men was like a heist thriller The Illicit Happiness of Other People had an investigation into a suicide Miss Laila has a tense car chase pursuit at its center Miss Laila is a terrific thriller with interesting and original views about Indian society Manu Joseph is the best writer in India today Here is a man who chooses his words carefully Never does a trite remark or sentence escapes from his pen It is almost as if he is serving literature and not humanity or some ideology. 4.5 5 There r faces that only an Indian can make Like that baffled face when he is shocked by the most logical outcome of his actions He crosses the road like a cow, and he is startled by a truck A vehicle on the road How He walks across the railway track, and he finds a train hurtling towards him A train on a railway track He is stunned The release of this book kept getting delayed and I would check every couple of days to see whether it is available Bought it at 8 mins after midnight and must have been the first one to buy a Kindle edition And it was worth it.Manu Joseph is a brilliant author whose satire will make u laugh, then u will pause and reflect Many times in a book And while Joseph said that courage is either foolish or ignorant, I think this book was extremely courageous and is neither Kudos There are faces that only an Indian can make Like that baffled face when he is shocked by the most logical outcome of his actions He crosses the road like a cow, and he is startled by a truck A vehicle on the road How He walks across the railway track, and he finds a train hurtling towards him A train on a railway track He is stunned This quote from the book explains a lot about what it has in store for the readers I have a lot of things I want to talk specifically about, specially the political instances referred But maybe in a detailed post later For now, I d like to share my thoughts on it and why this book isn t for everyone, in a video.Click here to watch Biblio Thoughts on Miss Laila Armed and Dangerous by Manu Jospeh It s offensive but I loved it.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous book, this is one of the most wanted Manu Joseph author readers around the world.
- 216 pages
- Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous
- Manu Joseph
- 18 January 2019 Manu Joseph