Elephants in the Room is a novel written by Suraj Laxminarayanan. The debut novel by Bangalore-based novelist has drawn appreciation as well as criticism for its qualities and details. The very basic things about this novel which can be said without possible disagreements are: the novel is a crime fiction or a crime-thriller fiction; the novel is lengthy and almost a single act piece of fiction; the novel exhibits very unique and special characters with very special names; the novel has a convincing (as author tries to make it one) plot and a thought-theme. Once these basic facts are understood, we can get back deeper into the content and then an analysis of the novel.
As expressed by Suraj in one of his interviews and in many articles, he has been a fan of crime thriller fiction for a long period and only from there, he got the inspiration to write fiction. It should be understood that for him, crime genre comes naturally and that’s why he has invested his very first work of fiction in this genre. He tries to bank on a theme of unaccomplished bank robbery and tries to settle his fiction against one very scene set-up. He partially succeeds as well. With a bank on the core and robbers around it, the theme might be said to be limited to robbery, crime and deep folds of violence.
A part of the novel’s plot is very aptly scribed on the blurb. A few criminals (not dreaded) come up together and they think of doing something bigger than what loose crimes they have been indulged in. They think of robbing a bank without knowing the plan of a dreaded gang of certified criminals to rob the same bank on the same date as it’s more and more about their lives. As it was not enough, another gang (the third one) shows up and the scene goes ultraviolent!
Well, I am not going to mention the conclusion in its blacks and whites for you. However, I will certainly comment on it. The conclusion is not very convincing on the readers’ perspective. It’s loose and open-ended. You can be happy or you can be sad about it – so, it, almost, satisfies the readers on both sides of the line dividing the tragedy and an okay-ending. You almost anticipate about a possible sequel once the novel ends.
Critical Aspects and Remarks:
I did enjoy reading Elephants in the Room by Suraj. Nevertheless, I did not very much enjoy the length of this novel. It could certainly be edited further and given a better outlook. Nonetheless, whatever it is, a debutant could certainly pull off something to be proud of! Suraj Laxminarayanan’s conviction with what he was doing is certainly commendable as he goes on with his plan. The narrator’s soliloquies as well as the inside-head comments made by the characters are very special and rather new or rather stuffed in the crime-thriller genre which I did not see in any of the previous works I have read in this genre! This is new.
The characters are interesting. The Plot is not peculiar. The theme is also very much known. The handling is certainly unique and can be safely attributed to the author. The ideal readers for this novel by Suraj will be the casual lovers of crime fiction and serious readers of fiction in general. Those who are interested in doing a trend-watch in Indian English literature will be happy to read this novel because it bears a kind of shift in the narrative.
You can get a copy of this novel by Suraj by following the Amazin India link below:
review by Faizan for BooksToRead
Elephants in the Room by Suraj Laxminarayanan
- Theme & Plot
- Narrative & Handling
- Overall - Reading Compulsion
Suraj’s debut is new, original to a large extent and also an interesting work of fiction to be fair. He has employed the theme and the plot which are not new with his peculiar and original handling to offer us a crime thriller with something new into it.