Kanishka Gupta’s History of Hate

I am a voracious reader … I read probably 6 to 8 books a month.  So, naturally, not many leave an imprint on my mind.  I normally pick up Chicklit, Fantasy, Supernatural, Thriller and Sci Fi (yeah I am big on Sci Fi!).  Of late very few books were impressing me.


So History of Hate was not something I would have picked up.  But am I glad I did!  This book is original.  First of all, this genre of psycho-thriller is not attempted by Indian authors in English.

The book is dark, the kind of dark that makes you want to stand out in the mid day sun to warm yourself.  The characters are well etched.  The underlying thought : I dont care if I am unhappy, it bothers me that others are happy, is actually quite real.  Two desperately unhappy people, Ash and Sonny are drawn together because they share this philosophy of life.  So they go ahead trying to make their neighborhood unhappy, causing as much damage as they can, until they meet their comeuppance.

I picked up the book at 11 in the night and read it in one sitting.  In fact, it kept me awake pondering.  It is possible – there are folk who go around spreading happiness and positivity because they see the world as a beautiful place.  By the same coin, there surely are folk who want to spread negativity because that is what they have experienced, what they know.

My compliments to the writer (the book is longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2009), dude, you made Sonny and Ash come alive for me.  And you kept me awake at night.  Very few books keep me awake after I’ve done reading them.  Its a difficult genre to write in, and you did it wonderfully.

A small quibble though – why is the book in present continuous tense?  I know, I know its minor but as a Literature graduate, I found that disconcerting.

Its priced at a reasonable Rs.195/-, which is total paisa vasool for people who like to read.


13 thoughts on “Kanishka Gupta’s History of Hate

  1. Kid #1
    If you get through the first chapter, the book opens up and the details of the characters grasp you completely. Even though you want to leave the book the characters compel you to keep reading on and on. Pretty Shocking book if you ask me. Got to give a salute to Mr Gupta, we finally have a writer in India who does not pull his punches.
    Kid #1

  2. I seldom read books by Indian authors..I donno why but I find their works to be rich in literary content but the plot is usually a tad too dark or depressing. Kiran Desai’s The inheritance of Loss was similar.
    But this book you’re talking about has drawn my attention. I’ll trying grabbing it from somewhere. Thanks for the review! 🙂

  3. Oh I’ve heard about this book! Infact from school itself.. I think I’m going to pick it up,some time soon.
    I heard about your book launch! Congratulations. I hope to be there 🙂

  4. Hmmm…. Nice review… now I need not read it 🙂 …LOL ( This is how I read my books ever since I put on glasses )
    My take on usage of present continuous tense is that it is easier to use especially during description of an activity associated with a negative emotion. Somehow negativity of the past doesn’t grab as much attention 🙂
    Waiting for your novels :)…and an ink signed copy.

  5. The book is terrible, and creepy.
    It is not enjoyable unless you can make your own sadism come out and try to identify with the ugly protagonists/antagonists.

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