Book Review :: ‘Delirium’ by Sowmya Aji

Book Review
Disclaimer: This review is part of the blog tour of The Book Club and all the details of the book can be found here.
I was addicted. To him.
Anjana Narendra just can’t keep her head straight when it comes to the nation’s heartthrob, cricket vice-captain Avinash Katagi. The mere sight of him sets the heart of this thirty-one-year-old television journalist pounding, and fills her stomach with butterflies. He seems smitten too – taking her out for romantic walks in the botanical gardens, appearing by her side when she has a road accident, knocking on her door in the middle of the night. Even as Anjana is swept off her feet into a whirlwind romance, the reporter within her sniffs out the biggest scoop of the season. All too soon, she is neck-deep in trouble with her bosses and the cricket board, struggling to make sense of the sordid world of steroids and celebs. Will anjana give up the delicious young man she is hooked on to? And does she even want to? Sinful and alluring, Delirium is a heady cocktail of intrigue, temptation and betrayal.
My Review
Delirium is a story set in the backdrop of two highly glamorous professions—cricket in India and journalism and deals with common human emotions. Add to it Sowmya Aji’s writing style and the recipe for a fantastic, page turner is complete. After a very long time I have read a book in one sitting, till the wee hours of the morning.

Anjana is an ambitious journalist moving up the ladder of her career with sheer intelligence and hard work, looking for that ultimate scoop to further her career. She meets the vice-captain of Indian cricket team, main strike bowler, handsome, reticent Avinash. There is something dazzling about the fast bowlers, and the two that I pictured were Kapil Dev and Imran Khan, the fast bowlers.

The cricket world is full of rumours about players taking drugs and steroids to boost their performance on the field. It is this scoop Anjana has been tasked to unearth. The charm of the handsome cricket-star works on her as Avinash gives her exclusive attention as she covers the ODI series news. During her investigations and follow-ups, a much-married Anajna falls for Avinash.

But things are not what they seem on the surface, Avinash is about to be engaged to someone else. As she gets into the story of drug abuse, with BCCI and other officials denying the problem, one player agrees to give an exclusive interview on the condition of anonymity and Anjana falls deeper into professional and personal mess.

Sowmya Aji has movingly captured the dilemma of a married woman falling for nation’s heart-throb. Especially when he is the one who chases her, Anjana couldn’t deny him. Kudos to the way Aji has written Anjana’s character that I never felt she was on the wrong. In fact she invoked sympathy and compassion. Avinash’s is a typical gifted man, who finds himself riding a tiger and racing on the road to success, if he dared to get off the failure is guaranteed.

The whole book is from Anjana’s point of view, her attraction to the icon, her resistance to that attraction and then finally succumbing to it. The day to day humdrum in a journalist’s world is eloquently portrayed and I relished the confidence with which Anjana handled the questioning by BCCI officials.

The secondary characters added to the story; Kartik, who is Anjana’s best friend. Junaid, Ravi, Mangal, her office team. Coming to the most complex character her husband Narendra, or shall I say the most mature one. Though Aji has not dwelled on their relationship a lot, but she had dropped hints about Naren all along—he is eight years older than Anjana, he has allowed Anjana to do whatever she wanted, a generous and confident man. To give him benefit of doubt I think he suspected the affair, but didn’t want to react either ways. He wanted it to be her decision and perhaps he understood the fascination and magnetism of a celebrity.

I loved the way the soul of various Indian cities is shown, the taxi driver suggesting Anjana to take the local train in Mumbai, was hilarious.

Delirium is a fast paced, extremely engaging novel, leaving the readers to interpret and think about the lives of the protagonists. With her debut book Sowmya Aji has done a fantastic job with words. I look forward to other such treats from her. In few weeks I am going to read the book again at a slower pace.

I love day-dreaming and my close friends in this endless activity include Hamlet, Howard Roark, Absolem, Miss Marple, Elizabeth Bennett, Katniss Everdeen, Holly Short, Sirus Black, Gimli and Septimus Heap.. occasionally, Saphira also 🙂 Otherwise, I am a serious hard-nosed print journalist who writes about politics, social issues and culture.

I’ve spent most of my life reading and writing.. I also love movies, dance, theatre, music, trekking, yoga.. I tried my hand at Russian and French and remember Rooski Izink Nimnoga and je sais un peu de Francaise .. (I bet I got that wrong).. but the latest language I picked up, Spanish, is very close to my heart, as I want to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s yellow butterflies in Espanol.. I speak, read and write three Indian languages — Kannada, Hindi, Tamil .. and my masters is in English, so I obviously love language and communication.

I also love knitting and I hate cooking 🙂 I’m trying very hard to be good at a new job — parenting — to my three-year-old, but boy, is that the toughest job!

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