Book review: 'The Mine'

Sunday, 4 March 2012 - 11:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Where the book scores is in the clever twists and turns the story takes and the way disjointed pieces come together.

The Mine
Author: Arnab Ray
Publisher: Westland
Pages: 294
Price: Rs195

Those with a morbid fascination for evil will thoroughly enjoy reading Arnab Ray’s graphic details of man’s perverted nature. Every form of evil — you name it and his book has it.

At one level, The Mine is about a mine where ostensibly energy crystals are mined. A team of experts is brought in to investigate the bizarre goings on that have religious connotations. But the book is really a thriller with murders, large, titillating doses of sex, and pulp philosophy, psychology and technology thrown in for good measure. The structure of Ray’s story is not uncommon — the dramatis personae are trapped and their lives play out through flashbacks, with tension building up as their narratives unfold.

Where the book scores is in the clever twists and turns the story takes and the way disjointed pieces come together. The end especially is a tour de force of masterful plotting. Arising from distortions of human nature, these twists and turns in the plot leave the reader aghast. Just when you think evil couldn’t get any more evil, Ray presents an even more satanic face of humanity. Progressively, the book descends into purgatory peopled as it is with the most depraved specimens of humanity — scheming scientists who will stop at nothing to attain their vaulting ambition, a female archaeologist with an insatiable hunger for sex, a clinical psychologist who gives false testimony against an actor to avenge the rape she had been subjected to, children molested by sexual perverts, an elderly doctor indulging in sado-masochism, an innocent-looking schizophrenic waiting patiently for his gory pound of flesh. It is purgatory all right. Every sinner has to pay the price for his sins. And the punishments are as stomach-churning as the sins themselves.

At one point, like the devil quoting the scriptures, Dr Karan Thakore, perhaps the blackest of them all, pontificates on the nature of sin: “Makes you wonder if God himself is evil? Or whether what we consider the design of the devil is actually nothing but the will of God?”

As you shut the book, you are left with that question unanswered.

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