Book Review: Young Turks

Young Turks by Krishan Partap Singh

So after Chetan Bhagat and Soma Das, I had resolved to never subject myself to Indian popular fiction again. Thanks to the boredom that comes with a rainy day, however, I decided to pick up Young Turks by Krishan Partap Singh, and found myself pleasantly surprised.

Young Turks is the story of two childhood friends, Karan Nehru and Azim Khan, who by some chance of fate and luck end up the two biggest political powers in UP. The book details their enduring friendship- and sometimes the lack of it- as they become more and more embroiled in Indian politics. Sounds Archer-esque? Absolutely. Thankfully, Mr. Singh has also taken a leaf out of Mr. Archer’s book (no pun intended) in terms of readability. Don’t go expecting a literary feast; Mr. Singh’s work is more like a mid-afternoon snack, to be eaten quickly and without fuss.

It’s obvious that Mr. Singh intends the book for a global audience, as evidenced by asides like ‘The IB is India’s internal intelligence agency like the UK’s MI5,’, and two-page explanations of the socio-political climate in India. These inserts, while no doubt well-intentioned, aren’t really necessary for most Indians (or perhaps that is my upper-middle-class-intellectual privilege speaking?) and are remarkably clunky to boot, slowing down an otherwise scorchingly paced book. Mr. Singh would have done better to have omitted them altogether, or, failing that, gotten himself a decent editor.

Still, faults aside, Young Turks is a good book to while away a rainy day with; lucid and decently written, and not too taxing on the brain cells. The Displaced Desi approves.

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