Nanda Rajanala’s debut novel ‘One Summer in Poleru’ is an exquisite fantastic read for people that read combination of contemporary fiction nudged by crime thriller activities. As I sat in silence, curled up pensively, my inner thoughts shaped and concluded that the story of the novel lies between an old village school demolition versus a new school coming up, which is backed up by a church and some government people.
“Poleru” is a small unhurried village in South India where life is laid back with people having no tangible pretensions. As I carefully examined the black and white illustrations, no doubt I felt being transported to R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi.
However, the devil of avarice for land and prosperity never leaves some people trying their immoral wits. I am more inclined towards the other part of the story than just Renu’s struggle for saving that old school for children of poor and underprivileged. Greed is a devil that grips Poleru, it ignites the sequence of disturbing events for villagers. What and how…fills the story.
Renu’s protest to save her school is evident but the underlying greed of people like lowly politician, Tahsildar, and his assistant Samuel wasn’t. The novel also draws a line between children characters and adults. Renu and her party is involved into protesting by going innovative, on the other hand adults like Giri, Shekhar, Kumar, Lakshman, Gopal – Panchayat Officer, Tahsildar, and Devika have their own fight and reputation at stake.
So, what’s the story points? Let me begin! The novel features the story of one old school that has been at its place since the historical times of South India. It needs to be demolished. A new school is coming up on someone else’s land. That new school will be run and maintained by the influence of church. It may support poor children’s education. Not going any further, Renu while returning home from school gets some sermon from a speaking buffalo, she wants to stand for the school, to save it from being demolished. However, her route to save it wholly wasn’t peaceful and straight. The initial agitation from one of the vile man Kumar and Giri took the life of the school watchman.
But it doesn’t stop here, the lowly politician is found dead in a community park…hacked to death by someone. This was a major twist in the story that steers the novel to the entirety of crime thriller. It switches between Renu and the investigative cop Prasad.
As I read I could play the guessing game – is the novel about land scam or saving a school for a noble cause? It’s a lucid and legible story from all angles. There is nothing that can distract your, or sound off track – I believe it is a perfect book with a lot to offer to a reader that loves mixing aspects in literature. The readers will surely be hooked to the story till the very end, it’s guaranteed.
If you liked my review and feel inquisitive about the novel, please order your book’s copy from Amazon India.