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Monday, February 16, 2015

Book review: 2 States: The Story of My Marriage, by Chetan Bhagat

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I’ve been intrigued by Chetan Bhagat’s success for some time and decided I should study his work to see what makes him tick. I was lucky to get a copy of 2 States from a Goodreads member, because most of his books are not widely available here in the US.

Bhagat is clearly aiming for a mass-market novel—a light, easy read—and he does a good job in that respect. He writes in Indian English, appropriate for his characters, which probably makes the book more relatable to the millions of Indian readers who speak English as a second language. I didn’t like the way dialogue tags were handled and many of them were simply unnecessary, but that’s probably more the editor’s fault than the author’s. 2 States doesn’t make any pretenses at being literary, and that’s okay. In fact, Bhagat reveals his disdain for literary fiction when Krish says (describing the smells of food cooking), “If this was one of those prize-winning Indian novels, I’d spend two pages on how wonderful those smells were.”

I didn’t particularly like the ending, which seemed too simplistic and contrived. However, romance novels are supposed to have HEA endings, and I can understand why Bhagat wrote one. Overall, I liked this book more than I thought I would.

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