Book Review- Mr. Majestic by Zac O'Yeah

Yes, the author's name may sound stranger than that of the book. He is a Swede settled in Bangalore. This is his second book I have read, thanks to a friend who gifted it to me. The first was something about Scandinavistan.

A good read, and an original style of writing. This guy, Mr. Majestic, is a small-time crook and a tout in a seedy area of Bangalore (named CD Road, quite appropriately). In fact, like Asterix comics, the names here are quite revealing of the character. So you have Gundajee alias Rhino, a bigger crook, Mensinkai (chilli in Kannada), a medium-level crook with more experience than Majestic, and assorted other crooks with colourful names.

The humour is pervasive, dark at times, sardonic at others. The author abviously likes to explore the underbelly of Bangalore, where forgers, touts and louts have a field day. Some of them, like our hero, indulge in cybercrime too, in collaboration with the Nigerians.

There is also Jagatprasiddha, the demi-god actor who can cause riots just by falling sick, and cows on the road who can stop even him. In fact, the nuances of Indian reality lend authenticity and punch to a narrative that in itself is not a great mystery. There are a few twists to the storyline, nevertheless, and Majestic, named after an old cinema hall, resolves them with panache, just like the Sandalwood (Kannada film industry) heroes.

You will get more out of it if you are familiar with Bangalore, and a bit of Kannada, but even without that, it's an enjoyable autorickshaw ride, pot-holes and all.

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