Book Title - Whisper of the Worms
Author - Marcardian
Published by - Cactus Publishers
Reviewed for - The Tales Pensive
All our lives we keep running to fulfill our basic needs and loose track of what we call "Life". Such is the story of Thobias Mathai (protagonist) who longs for life when it is about to end. He is a god-fearing and peace loving man who lives in USA with his wife and kids until he comes to know about his impeding lung cancer which has reached its last stages.
He decides to spend his last days in his childhood town and so travels back to India after 20 years. As soon as he lands in India, his passport is seized by the authorities claiming that he has committed a serious crime. But as a dying man, he doesn't really care and moves to his old house. The memoirs of a man on his last journey are inspiring but start to drag after a few pages. He thinks of his childhood, paddy fields, the big banyan tree, teachings of his father, his best friends and much more. The story only picks up after 60-70 pages when the frauds in Smile bank of Marcardia come to surface and Tobias is held for charges. Marcardia is a fictional place, which is true sense depicts India, but sarcastically. The amazing view of corporate world, culture of Banking Industry, carrot and stick approach given by the author keeps you hooked and craving for more. The usage of a term 'Asinisation' of an employee, basically meaning how an employee is made to work like a donkey, is relevant and enables the reader to draw analogies in real work space. The strategies that Smile Bank adopts to 'asinise' its employees, make them work tirelessly for the same money, lure them into promotions if they achieved targets (Carrot) and tire them with frequent transfers (stick) is showcased through short instances of Tobias' memory.
There is an inquiry against Tobias about fraudulent loans that he had issued as part of his service in Smile Bank. Tobias is shocked and determined to proove his innocence, but at the same time, he is detached as he knows that justice in Marcardia is slow and he may not be alive till then.
In his quest to find the truth behind his involvement in the case, he meets several of his colleagues from old days which leads to a series of shocking revelations.
Tobias' chemistry with his childhood friend and his mother is on and off. The novel ends of an emotional note.
The title "Whisper of the Worms" and the cover design is not coherent with the story of the book, except for the last 2-3 pages where the worms talk about humans. I wish it could be better.
The key to reading this book is patience, the first few chapters are dry and will want you to quit, but later the story picks up pace and thankfully keeps it till the end. Strongly recommended for those in corporate jobs, especially banking.
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.