Book Review #17: Whisper of the Worms

Name: Whisper of the Worms
Author: Marcardian
No. of Pages: 317
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Cactus Publishers
Price: Rs. 240/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:
A crow eyed peep in to the backyard of a banking organization.

An unusual portrayal of the life and times of an ordinary mortal and his subdued fight for survival.

Listen to the Whisper of the worms to hear the muffed wail of the humans on the run, lured by the carrot, forced by the stick…..

An unbalanced account of gagged sentiments….. Subtly unfolding the naivety of petty minds. Also of nepotism and dehumanized value systems…..

A moving story of the commercialized people in an imaginary country called Marcardia, portrayed through their psyche and polity, makes one think, laugh, and get emotionally choked.

Blended finely into the main fabric are vivid shots of rustic life lifted out of a fading frame; sweet smell of paddy fields in blossom…. rhythmic splash of the wooden bucket in the farm well….
About the author:
Nothing has been mentioned about the author. The story takes place in a fictitious country called ‘Marcardia’ and the author’s name is Marcardian. So either the author’s name is truly Marcardia or he is penning down the story as a resident of that imaginary country.

Cover: The cover shows an upside down donkey with a reflection.

Writing: The narration is in simple English and regular vocabulary.

Story: The story is about a man named Thobias Mathai, who is born in Marcardia to a poor farmer family, gets educated and starts working in a bank called ‘Smile Bank’. But when he couldn’t take anymore of the politics and nepotism of the bank, he resigns and moves to USA. two decades later he is diagnosed with lung cancer and decides to return to his native place to spend his last days. But on his return he finds that Smile Bank has a fraudulent case filed against him and he had to go under an investigation procedure.

The story starts with Thobias learning about his disease and returning to his native place. He reminisces about his early life, his relationship with his father and friends. Then he is pulled into the bank investigation and story moves to Thobias’ life in the bank. During his last days he meets his old colleagues and learned things he never knew about the bank. But the last chapter didn’t impress me where worms talk about the human life.

To me, Marcardia sounded absolutely Indian, specifically sounded like the peninsular area of India. Whoever works in a bank can easily relate to the life of a banker depicted in the book. As I too had been a part of the banking system, many aspects of the story seemed familiar. How junior officers are manipulated and many  a times coerced into certain situations, promised one thing but given something else, hard workers made to work harder and so on.

I give “Whisper of the Worms” 3 stars on a scale of 5. It is a decent read.
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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