- Title – 31 A Thriller
- Author – Upendra Namburi
- Publisher – Westland Ltd.
- Genre – Thriller
- Pages – 372
Synopsis: There are 31 days in March to go for the close of the financial year. Ravi Shastry, a middle level executive in ‘Imperial Bank’ is riding high in the last quarter of a tough year for a large multinational, with every prospect of a coveted promotion. Just when March looks to be a promising month, within a week, the bank’s Brazil operations are shut down and soon the global restructuring wave pounds the Indian counterparts; Ravi and his team.
Review: The book starts with the promise of being a corporate thriller. It’s my first read of this genre and I was prepared to dive in the book with expectations of talk about stressful lives, excel sheets, frequent meetings, smart use of technology and lots of figures.
I wasn’t disappointed on this front for the book has all this and more while Ravi, the Regional Marketing Head of South India is shown juggling his professional and personal life amidst killing pressures of the financial year ending. The setting of the global financial crisis kicking in with the Brazil branch of the Imperial bank suffering massive losses. Divided in 31 chapters, the book gets its title from 31 days in March that are declared as the deadline by which 20% of the staff were expected to be laid off.
The book gives the feel of a personal diary for it records every event with a date and time slot. The protagonist is a BlackBerry addict and at times I felt his phone was the star of the plot, but nevertheless a very disturbing one. Juggling the 24 hours of the day to stay put in the job, looking for job opportunities in case he loses it, at the same time trying to find time for his IT professional, pregnant wife who is also under pressure of meeting the deadlines and even the possibility of losing her job and their kids.
There is an interesting role played by Twitter in the story with a secret reporter in the organisation who knows all the secrets and hot gossip which he shares as tweets.
The narration does give a good overview of the high-strung lives led by the hiss brass of the corporate world but does so in a language with the generous and overpowering use of sexual profanities. It was a major turn off making it very difficult for me to read through the book.
The book fails at allowing enough room for its characters to develop. The enormous number of characters in the Ravi’s life confused me to the extent that at times I found it difficult to stay focused on the possible motives of each of them while they were busy manipulating each others lives.
I feel people from the Sales or Marketing field of the Corporate world will relate to the kind of life Ravi leads. The kind of scams and upheavals their jobs bring along. Though I failed to feel the thrill the book promised in the start. I personally found Ravi a failure at management skills (of his personal and professional life) which he should have been an ace in given his experience and position in the bank. His personal life suffers miserably cause of his inconsiderate behavior justified by the work pressure he faces.
I had a tough time finishing the book. I do not recommend the book unless someone is looking for a quick read, doesn’t mind the fancy, colorful language and can relate to the life in the corporate world.