Book Review: 03:02 - Mainak Dhar

03:02 by Mainak Dhar is not a book about zombies but is a book about human feelings, about loneliness, the fear of facing the world and about the unrelenting need to do it. The book is pleasant, which with its enjoyable style offers a very detached view of the world which is exciting, fast and original, as this novel will captivate you from cover to cover.

But let's go quietly. If suddenly your peaceful life, with an out of the blue promotion in work, a nippy love life full of affections and various conveniences, is suddenly overwhelmed by unforeseen events that would change forever, ravaging your mind and upsetting your personal scale of values, how would you react? Surely chaos, paranoia, fear and anxiety will hit you like an avalanche, which is swift, silent and without control.

It would bring down on your defenceless little body of flesh and bone with its immense destructive power and its hyperbolic weight reducing you to dust and that's right here one of the author's strengths, knowing how to explain all this. Yes, it seems an unattainable thing, pure madness.

But tell that to this young man Aaditya, who lives a common life and wakes up one morning to find his city of Mumbai to a staggering situation where everything is blacked out from electricity, phone signal, internet and cars, supplanted by the invasion of an army of guerrillas.

Initially everything looks normal but soon, however, as he moves around creeps’ suspicion in his mind that something more serious happened, something that cannot be controlled easily. As he strives to fight against the unknown enemy, it's useless. We, therefore, are followed by the facts narrated by the protagonist who in the midst of dramatic events will give us a chilling testimony about how things can amazingly change at any moment.

I saw a man, in all of these pages, who went from a normal indifferent life, to finally encounter the implausible to bring back lights once again in his favourite city after almost two months of armed struggle.

It’s a novel written perfectly. I had to repeatedly stop reading because the author had managed to create an atmosphere so strong that I felt roused by the sometimes conceivable noise inside the house. Then I would start all over again to read, as I told myself that it was just a novel, and after a few lines, there I was again in, there I entered without realizing it, and I was enveloped by the atmosphere of terror that forced me, after a while, to re-close the book to resume soon after, because I wanted to know what would happen.

The main character is perfect and full of humanity and it would be nice if there were more people like that in the real world. There is a discreet psychological depth in the main character, with his transformation dictated by the survival instinct, make this novel an enjoyable read.

It is a book that will intrigue you first and then swallow you in a succession of experiences of the protagonist, among other things told in the first person. It's just that style of storytelling that involves, in my opinion, more and more readers, giving us the feeling that we ourselves want to live certain experiences and anxieties. The book is well written, with the suspense, like in a suspense film.

The narrative denotes a simple but effective style in creating tension without forgetting a touch of indispensable romance and humour. There are all the ingredients well mixed with the sense of perpetual threat, the attacks, until the fierce fighting in a world, where the disappearance of all morality turns every encounter in a potential danger.

The author is able to return a great sense of powerlessness, exacerbated by a visceral loneliness that disrupts repeatedly the protagonist surrounded by a world without light gives us a very exciting apocalyptic story, charming and certainly not lean with emotions.

The author, however, has the ability to make everything smooth, thanks to a strong pace and being able, through a simple choice of words. It almost felt like watching a movie generated from my mind. Yes, a book impresses in which the author has succeeded in writing a story that offers a lot to the reader, who made it possible to make the reading more enjoyable and, at times, amusing.

Publisher: Westland ◘ Published: 16 June 2016 ◘ ISBN-13: 978-9385152962 ◘ Language: English ◘ Binding: Paperback ◘ Pages: 350