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Never Again by Shreyan Laha (A Review)

Editor's Review

4/5 (4)

 

Title and Cover:

The title of the book “Never Again – A Tale of Stranded Legend’ is quite aptly chosen by the author. In fact, the whole story stands on it and there can be no better title this story can have, given the plot or otherwise.

The cover page shows a soldier standing with a machine gun over a battlefield which again goes with the theme but is not as aptly chosen as the title. The design is good and so is the graphic, no doubt. But the picture is quite clichéd and has got a general impression of any war. If you read inside the pages, a soldier (in color) standing over the Nazi Germany (in black and white) could have been more real and apt to the theme.

Description:

A dairy is discovered in the cold desert of Siberia which belongs to a high-ranking Nazi soldier, Kasper Hartmann, and as requested in the dairy, it was given to the Govt. of India on its discovery. This dairy titled, ‘The stranded Legend’ documents the life of Kasper since childhood, the abuses he suffered, the love and betrayal, his ups and down as a soldier, the psychopathic aspect of his life and his spiritual enlightenment. But quite weirdly, this dairy also has some real connection with India, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the present global terrorism. What is that connection and what is ‘Never Again’? Well, that is the gripping story that you will get to read in the novel ‘Never Again’. And if you have a knack in world history, like me, then this book is sure to have your nose in it till its last page. The mystery surrounding the dairy reveals a truth that is as shocking and as gruesome as the Nazi regime.

A Critical Review:

If I’m to give a critical opinion to the book, then one has to truly admire the crafty narrative structure and the suspense it develops and holds till the end. The narrative structure is quite intricate and asymmetric with a first person and omniscient narrator connecting the dots…and then there is this dairy of Kasper Hartmann translated by the first-person narrator which renders final meaning to all the dots. One thing I would like to point, a dairy is a personal writing, so it should be, as a rule of the book, in first person. But since what we get to read is the German translation of the book in English, the fact that it is written in third person can be taken into consideration. But at the end, its Kasper Hartmann personal dairy, so how it has the details at some point where Kasper was nowhere in the scene or could not have written those pages of the dairy, especially at the end? This is one mystery only the author can solve. Nevertheless, it’s the dairy that makes the novel real interesting as we get to see both monster and man in the same person, a peek into Nazi Germany, how they were brainwashed and the last realization of Kasper.

There are few chapters were the author confuses and contradicts the story.

Also, as the story comes to its final rising point, that is the climax of the novel things move a little hastily for the conclusion, as if, foiling the terror attack and the political conspiracy was a child’s play. It’s the place where the novel loses its strength. However, I believe, foiling the terror attack is not the crux of the novel but the dairy with the heart of Nazi regime in it and the tale it wants to tell- how the same game is played over and over again, either in the name of race or class or religion and it is to quench our superficial ego and lust for power that we make nations war with each other, destroy each other in mass without thinking the impact it will have on humanity and lives of the people living. This the author portrays quite well in the novel- the myth called ‘World Peace’ and the futility called ‘World War’.

There are also few editing errors which needs to be corrected.

Rating:

Overall, the novel can be given 4/5

Added Points:

  1. Narrative structure.
  2. Plot and Climax.
  3. Relating history with fiction.
  4. The message it gives.

Minus Points:

  1. Few confusing and contradicting element of the story.
  2. Editing Errors.
  3. Fall of climax.

At the end, it’s worth reading.

 

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About Anwesha Ghosh (30 Articles)
Anwesha Ghosh is the author of the book, 'Seasons - Songs of Life (a collection of short stories and poems).' She is the founder of SmartReads and an author, editor, book critic, and an entrepreneur. She is a prolific writer, reader, traveler and is also the Chief Editor of a travel web magazine, Dream Wanderlust . She has been a part many anthologies and her writings have received much critical appreciation for the simplicity of its style, ingenuity, and wit.