The White Hindu has moved

The White Hindu has moved! This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Onsite Opportunity

I was sent a copy of this novel by the author.

It is charming, even though it relies heavily on summary and sometimes I feel as though information is just being thrown at me rather than getting immersed in a story. The glimpses of story are often brief and surrounded by a lot of exposition, but it's interesting and light exposition, so it wasn't a big problem.

What I really like about it is that while showing some of the absurdities of modern life in India, it doesn't descend into bitterness or superiority. It lacks the negativity of so many books that I see.

The writing itself is clean and fresh. It bothers me a little bit that there's a lot of explanation along with dialog, which feels weak. That information would be better coming from the words and actions of the characters, rather than the reader just being told, i.e., " 'Give it your best, guys!' The team was excited." I would rather see what the team members are doing to show that excitement. Are they turning to one another and grinning? Are they elbowing one another and joking? It's difficult to visualize the scene when so little is given.

It's a short book and I think that's due to so much summary and more telling than showing, as in the example above. Along with that, it is definitely more character-driven than plot-driven, but Ganga is an enjoyable character to follow. He has an endearing innocence about him.

There's a great part near the beginning where Ganga is proud to present his business card to an important business client, but it causes the client to get angry that only an associate engineer and not someone higher up is there! I like the way Ganga is completely taken aback by this. He was so proud and excited, doing his best to be the height of professional, but it is not taken the way he expects at all.

On the other hand, it's hard for me to feel connected to what's going on in the book. So much of it is focused on Ganga's work life, which is not something that I personally am that interested in (Of course it's clear that's what the book is about! I just don't think I would have picked up the book for myself). Still, it is very informative and an interesting insight into a different life.

I would sum it up with this sentence: a charming and sincere look into the life of an Indian engineer.

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