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Gory Realities

Simran Chadha

By Abhisar Sharma
Hachette , delhi, India, 2010, pp. 350, Rs.250.00


Works of fiction often bear the charge of blasphemy, creating thereby a tenuous relationship between the art of narrative fiction and the fatwas issued against it. What this establishes beyond reasonable doubt, besides the threat to the authors life, is the fearful ability of art to mould, shape and influence the real and tangible world out there. It is a matter of concern then when statements continue to be issued stating that fiction has nothing to do with politics whatsoeverthis, despite the creation of aesthetics such as magic-realism designed explicitly to negotiate the slippery politics of the Latin American world. Moreover, with globalized economic systems, events in any one part of the world can and do impact foreign policy in an entirely different part of the globe. Authors thus increasingly fictionalize and connect with distant realities, especially when that reality is subsumed by the Scylla and Charybdis of terrorism and trauma. It is in times such as these, when news travels with the speed of light and wars can be fought technologically that personal and subjective experience need not always accompany the writing of socio-realist fiction. Written in 2010, The Eye of the Predator, uncannily predicts the future as recent events in Pakistan/Afghanistan have shown. The novel takes into account the gory reality of the world of Afghan warlords and their machinations for gaining powergames that the author Abhisar Sharma learnt to decipher it in the virtual reality of newsrooms and televized news coverage. His debut novel, The Eye of the Predator reflects a world where tribal cultures compete for dominance with sci-fi American intelligence and surveillance systems. This is a novel about the Afghan warlords battling for control over the territory of South Waziristan, which in turn, as they know will pave the way for the conquest of Islamabad. A racy, high-pitched narrative, what rescues the novel from the science fiction slot is the fact that its raw matter stems from live news reporting from the Swat and Waziristan regions. Against this backdrop of high powered intrigue, random death and brutal murder unfolds another antipodal theme, that of tenderly blossoming love and compassionfeelings that transcend the barriers of race and communitybetween the masters daughter, the Pashto girl Zubeida and the Hazara boy, adopted by the family, Majid. The trials and tribulations of this young couple provide respite in a novel otherwise populated with characters from the ISI, American marines, ...

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