Vikas Swarup, Six Suspects (2008)
That’s it, no more work for the rest of the year! Happy holidays everyone! Let me tell you about my latest obsession: audiobooks.
I’ve always known audiobooks are good when you have both hands busy. I always say audiobooks are great when working out, except they can’t make me work out (perhaps in 2013 I won’t hate it?). The result: I only rarely practiced what I preached. In fact, the last audiobook I listened to was 4 years ago when I was breast-feeding my son. And they were on CD. I know, I know, it sounds prehistoric.
I only just recently discovered that my nifty smartphone (don’t go imagining I’m all hi-tech) allows me not only to listen to the radio (I soon grew bored with the stressful chatter) but to read mp3 files, and that it’s not only music. Added bonus: my library has a great shelf of mp3 audiobooks! That’s mere chance that I chose Six Suspects for my first try. I just wanted to see if I could transfer files and read them and manage audiobooks during my commute, the book didn’t matter.
Ahahaha, did you just read this last sentence? Who am I kidding?
I don’t know anything about Indian novels, and I haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire even though I couldn’t avoid hearing about its huge success. On the audiobook cover I read 14 hours and I shrugged: who has time for 14 hours? I’ve never counted how many hours I spent on a single book, but it sounded huge.
Well, I’ll stop if I don’t like it, said I.
Ahahaha! I started Six Suspects without any preconception but I soon was hooked. With an audiobook you can’t skip pages and have a quick fast-forward. My commute never seemed so short in my life! The 14 hours just flew by. Swarup’s novel provides a myriad of characters and sub-plots, all very entertaining, none of them very subtle or complex, but all perfectly suitable for listening while riding the public transport. Dialogues are short and satirical and I could easily forgive that most characters are rather two-dimensional. I soon got the feeling that Swarup wanted to show every single aspect of contemporary India, an impossible task if you go into details, but for a first approach of India, it was like a gigantic picture book. I suspect that the book on paper wouldn’t have been such a great experience for me because its weaknesses would have been more apparent.
So as soon as my 14 hours of Indian adventures were over, I knew what I had to do: borrow another audiobook!