Yes, there is nothing unusual in the book… not one page that steps out of what I have come to expect of a lot of first-time novelists.

Despite being thoroughly non-descript and devoid of either realism or fantasy, there is one discovery I made because of this book. I stumbled upon the fastest way to read trash! Hold the book by its spine in your left hand and let your right hand start releasing the pages at a regular pace. Stop when your eyes protest at being subjected to read words that create no gyrating metaphors. Stop when your brain protests at being compelled to read words that make no logical sense. Stop when your right hand sighs and protests at being made to act like a terrorist for the eyes and the brain. Stop, if you must… and then resume. You will surely finish reading this novel in a record time… and then I’m sure you’ll mutter: ‘Please God, don’t extend this torture and be made into a movie!’

Tapan Ghosh was probably in a state of delirium when he was penning this novel, and to compliment his work I have created an image that tells you all there is in this novel of 239 pages (with a large than usual font!… which is the only unusual thing that I came across).

A faceless mess...

A faceless mess...

The story takes us through some inane mess-ups of Shom and Khush, their ludicrous escapades and rather low-brow sex-capades. The language shudders and stutters, the plot hobbles along, the story-line is like the hair-line on a bald pate, and the dialogues are mundane and forgettable. No wonder then that a fellow blogger pri too has written in a review:

‘It seems like somebody misguided the author with the not-so-secret formula for a B grade hindi flick—characters singing songs at the drop of a hat, trashy hindi dialogues and lots and lots of sex scenes…

…thus “Faceless-The Only Way Out” came into being.’

Another reviewer, Nikhil, says that ‘his portrayal was eccentric and not something one can easily relate to.’ Let me make you go through some of the utter nonsense that I had to hop, skip, and jump through…

This first example tells me that Tapan has tried to create a world record in character development by using the fewest words. Read and you’ll know how miserably he has failed.

He allowed his wife total power. He believed that a man who was the boss outside the home wouldn’t mind his wife being the boss inside. Being an August born, he was a born leader, a Lion at heart. However, at home, he was only a Circus Lion and he had submitted himself to his wife in every respect. She was the ringmaster. This went against his basic nature. He was dying a slow death. Poor rich man, everyone wanted a piece of him.

I am confused. Where exactly does the lion fit in? And Tapan, nobody can give power, as power is something that arises out of a personal and intrinsic charisma.

The next two examples are taken from different parts of the novel and again we find that Tapan writes a sentence and wants his readers to imagine the rest. For instance, if I write a story that begins with this sentence: “He came to Mumbai with thirty rupees in his pocket and in three years became a millionaire. He loved to travel and now had an airplane that he could fly himself. He could just hop in and rush to any part of the world whenever he felt like doing so.” Does it make any sense? Tapan did it with sex, with love, with lust, and with emotions…

All we enjoyed were several ways to kiss, smooch and stimulate each other. Aruna managed to look up a book on sex from her brother’s room. She was very careful and did this only when she was alone at home. One day she called me to her house to get some class notes and the homework for the day. She had been absent from school and supposedly was not well. She taught me all about protective sex after she stole a condom from her father’s huge stock.
He could not resist it any more and pinned her down to the bed. What followed was prolonged enjoyment and ecstasy that came from the release of pent-up energies of both the participants.

The writer has gone ahead and messed up the ending too bringing in outlandish actions without having subjected them to any plausible reasoning. One blogger aptly writes: The climax seemed to be inspired from the famous Indian Movie “A Wednesday” but the author failed to justify the conditions to introduce the sudden change in the protagonist’s purpose of life. Even a third rate Bollywood action flick will feel proud to have more sense in it than having one of the inexperienced protagonists go around killing trained and committed terrorists and also romp away to destroy explosive dumps single-handedly! Even 007 would kowtow to such heroics! But Tapan, you must know that a reader isn’t a silly secret agent in another novel, he or she is a living person who can think and deduce. Why would a reader tolerate bunkum like what you’ve written?

Khush was so proud of his friend, as one dreaded terrorist was found dead on the streets. The police had no clue and they wanted the rival group responsible for this to surrender but Shom had no respect for this corrupt system and he continued on his rampage. One more terrorist was found dead on the streets and finally a huge underground dump in Sewri, supposedly full of explosives, exploded with a huge blast that continued throughout the night, causing all the fire brigades to work round the clock for days.

Strangely, when I read Tapan’s own review and justification of his novel, I found that though he talked a lot about plunging into the depths of a character’s personality, while writing he probably missed out this vital step. Tapan writes:

…he was curious to know why being faceless was the only way out. This question to my delight prompted quite a question-answer session in my blog. If you have something to add, be sure to join in. To answer this, I will have to plunge into the depths of Shom’s personality and dilemma.

The writer goes on and gloats that ‘Faceless like Devdas is the story of a love beyond all else, even life. It is the saga of a man who loved, loved and simply loved.’

Well, the saga sags, and love its way because of ill-conceived characterisation. The story is faceless, the plot is faceless, the characters are faceless… but considering the great rush of pre-mature novelists, there is nothing unusual in this.

Faceless - Tapan Ghosh

Faceless - Tapan Ghosh

Book Details:
Title: Faceless – The only way out
Author: Tapan Ghosh
Publisher: Frog Books
ISBN: 978-93-81115-98-5 

Arvind Passey
16 May 2012