Book Review: The Man With Five Heads By Abhishek Leela Pandey

Being attracted to Indian mythology is like being pulled by your roots. You’re always too curious and you’re always too eager to know whatever you can -all the folk lores, all the related literature and all the connections you can find to satiate your hunger to know more about mythology.

While two of the great epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata are much talked about along with Lord Shiva and avatars of Vishnu, the third of the three supreme Hindu Gods is often neglected.

About The Book: The Man With Five Heads

THE MAN WITH FIVE HEADS BOOK REVIEW

The author of The Man With Five Heads, Abhishek Leela Pandey, must have seen that as an opportunity to tell you more about Lord Brahma through this fictional tale about the life of Brahma.

The book touches the subject of creation of Brahma, existence of Brahma and the creation of the entire world.

Plot Of The Man With Five Heads

The plot of this book is divided into three parts –

  1. Ved Vyas is having a conversation with his father about the creation of the world and Lord Brahma.
  2. Ved Vyas reads some secret documents concerning Lord Brahma.
  3. The present events (according to the timeline of the book) have been discussed.

The first part is great. I loved the sequence of events which makes you question a lot and want to rush for getting answers. You’re intrigued to know what happens next. You anticipate some big revelations and explanations.

However, the sudden turn to the second part of the book doesn’t give that pleasant feel. Because even though it’s pretty clear you’re reading a manuscript, you aren’t able to gulp in the events discussed in the manuscript easily. It leaves you confused and wanting for serious explanations. How the creator of the world is born in already created world? If he was born in such a world, then who created the world?  Is this the new avatar I am seeing? Or what is it?

Would I ever get an answer to this question in this book? I won’t. Would I get it in some other book written in this series? I wasn’t even given a hint.

The explanation for all this is missing. It appears to me even when the author made a great attempt to build up a plot like this, he failed to introduce me to the basics where I would be able to understand what’s happening, especially in this manuscript.

Talking about the end, the end is like a massacred human body. Everything is left loose which is fine if you want to read the second book but seeing what you’ll go through while reading this one, there’s a possibility that you won’t want to read it.

Characters

So, this is a book which just has names. You know who is who by names. There’s no character explanation whatsoever. To be honest, in the first half, I was too busy anticipating for what’s next that I didn’t even notice that I know nobody in actual. I just know them by names, which I already knew based on my knowledge of mythology. But when I see new characters which I didn’t know about already, I felt what was missing.

Where’s the base? Where’s the character explanation? Who will tell me who’s who? Therefore, lack of depth is obvious.

I believe it was another point which made this amazing concept take another dip for…

The attempt to create a mythological fiction without proper base means you’re preparing to leave the reader confused.

I’m up for all kinds of mythologies – Amish Tripathi kinds, Rick Riordan Kinds and normal Palace of Illusions kinds but you have to tell me what you’re doing. If you’re changing the character or have a character, explain to me who’s that character.

I understand that people may say how can you be so stupid that you wouldn’t know who Indra is and so on. I agree I may be stupid but then, the story is a fiction and unless you tell me what type of character Indra is – good, bad, manipulative, divine,  I can’t know about it. Neither can you.

There’s one exception to all this   – the second part i.e. the manuscript. As it’s first person, you follow one character and it’s inevitable to not know this character. Did I like this character? No. He seemed like an overly obsessive character who says he did it ALL. All the inventions in physics and  medicine. He saves people with his medicinal discoveries and helps people with his inventions. This is cool for it’s fiction. You can do anything but it seemed to me that this curious character wants to just boast about what he did and he would go to any length out of curiousness – as much as pulling a woman’s clothes forcibly leaving her naked just to see the anatomy of her body. I mean if you’re claiming to be a know it all and be a born genius, why would you do this semi harassment thing? Again, the actions of the character weren’t explained or justified or shunned.

Writing Style

Let’s break it into two – the actual choice of words and storytelling.

I am thoroughly impressed with the former for the style of writing and the metaphors are beyond amazing. At times, you just read the passages again to seep in the meaning of each word for it’s so deep and beautiful.

The dialogues in the book, however, were a sore point. The actual dialogues were good but that ‘he said’, ‘she said’ gets annoying especially for person who actually reads a book word to word.

But if you consider how the story was put together through words, it wasn’t a 5/5 effort.

Overall, I believe the concept is a good one and you really like the flashes of it. You really like the writing. But going deeper into it, you tend to be absorbed by questions and lack of enjoyment due to your confused state.

I doubt anybody would feel differently but if you have that kind imagination to appreciate this book without requiring the explanations I seeked, you should definitely pick up this book and give it a try.

My ratings: 3/5

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