- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (July 20, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312642342
- ISBN-13: 978-0312642341
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,679,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Shadow Play: A Mystery Hardcover – July 20, 2010
Chakraborti tells two stories: the first is a sort-of memoir of a successful middle-aged novelist named Raj Chakraborti, and the second tells of a serial killer named Charles Pereira, who has been abducted by a mysterious “agency” that has need of his skills. The two stories are offered in alternating chapters. The memoir is ruminative and episodic; Pereira’s tale is more linear, and connections between the two stories emerge slowly. In both, the line between what is real and what is imagined is uncertain, but both show a subtle thread of paranoia. There is much to like in each: Raj’s ruminations on his broken marriage, on his prickly relationship with his university-bound son, and on wealth and its hold on political power. Pereira’s story often charms as he awakens in a small Brazilian city and must learn a new language and adapt to a new culture while he wonders what his abductors have in mind. But Chakraborti has more in mind than a simple thriller. Shadow Play is ambitious and challenging metafiction; while it may befuddle those looking for a conventional crime novel, it will fascinate readers who enjoy Haruki Murakami. --Thomas Gaughan
'A teasing, haunting jigsaw puzzle, less a thriller than a provocative meditation on the intersection of fiction and memory.' --Kirkus Reviews
'Shadow Play is ambitious and challenging metafiction; [...] it will fascinate readers who enjoy Haruki Murakami.' --Booklist
'Among the most interesting writers now operating in Indian fiction ... Shadow Play has a haunting, lingering quality that few writers can achieve.' --Tehelka (India)
'Moves forward with an amazing pace that keeps you hooked. This book will linger for some time.' --Hindustan Times (India)
'Confirms Chakraborti as an ambitious writer, bravely traversing vast spaces, literal and metaphysical, committed to developing original structures and ideas.' --Edinburgh Review (U.K.)
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Rajorshi Chakraborti's "Shadow Play" is one of the strangest, most bizarre novels I have ever read. I can safely say that most people will find it too perplexing to enjoy. One must concentrate hard when reading it to understand the events that are transpiring. The author breaks all the rules while crafting "Shadow Play." First, he inserts himself as the novel's main character as though it is autobiographical. Second, "Shadow Play" consists of not one but two novels within a novel. Each novel is told in the first person from the point of view of either Raj or Charles. Third, chapters within each novel jump forward and backward in time. However, each chapter is clearly titled and dated to prevent confusion.
It wasn't the format of "Shadow Play" that confused me as much as it was my inability to differentiate between fact and fiction. I could never believe anything that was told by either Raj or Charles. Both were involved in the field of writing and both had bizarre dreams that made me question their sanities. For example, in Calcutta, Ray dreams of white horses falling from the sky into a deep chasm. In Manhattan, Charles dreams of white sharks appearing in a high rise apartment and attacking party guests. In the first chapter of his novel, Charles informs the reader that his decision to become a serial killer was influenced by his girlfriend who was a shape-shifter who killed her uncle. After turning into a cat, she fell from a balcony, became trapped in a giant spider's web and eventually fell to her death. I was disappointed when this supernatural element didn't become more prevalent in future chapters.
In fact, "Shadow Play" had the potential to be an awesome novel, but never succeeded beyond mediocrity. My favorite chapters were those involving Charles. He described how he randomly chose and killed his victims to prevent them from being traced back to him. It was an enjoyable hobby for him. (A means of releasing stress, I suppose.) However, a man, Faisul, has witnessed him kill on several occasions and wishes him to work for his organization. A drugged and bound Charles is taken to Rio de Janeiro where he feels trapped, always waiting for his next "assignment" while working in a restaurant. Unfortunately, I grew weary of Charles' tales of eccentric customers and yearned for him to describe in more detail who and how he assassinated.
Both Raj and Charles wasted too much time whining and complaining. I wished Raj had talked more about his dysfunctional family. Certainly, his wife Ana, a film director, had some scandalous stories Raj could have related to the reader. Ana, herself, claimed that Raj always wanted to be in the limelight; his disappearance was probably a means for getting attention. Raj, when angered, often ranted nonstop about capitalism, a subject that grew tiresome. I would find myself yearning for the next chapter in order to read about Charles. Unfortunately, towards the end, most of the hit man's narration pertained to his bizarre dreams.
The ending of "Shadow Play" was rather anticlimactic. Hoping for a bizarre twist that would reward my patience, I was sorely disappointed. The novel ended abruptly with no closure. In a mystery, readers crave closure. Most, if not all, questions should be answered. For example, I never really learned the true identity of Charles Robert Pereira. Not much background is provided for him in the manner of how he was raised as a child or exactly what made him decide to kill innocent people after his girlfriend's supernatural death; it is as though he is an extension of Raj`s personality. As I wrote earlier, "Shadow Play" is very strange and bizarre and I can only recommended it to readers who enjoy avant-garde literature that dares to be different.
Despite the serial killer, "Shadow Play" is more of a psychological thriller than a true crime drama. More emphasis is placed on the psychological profiles of the main characters (especially that of Raj) than the crimes that are committed. At one time, we all fantasize about living another life - a glamorous life of wealth and fame that is enshrouded by mystery and intrigue. I feel that "Shadow Play" is the author's attempt to live out his dual fantasies as a best-selling author and a serial killer. Perhaps Rajorshi Chakraborti has fantasized that his controversial writings would force someone to put a contract out on his life.
Joseph B. Hoyos
He sends a package to his editor in which he explains his latest fiction starring a serial killer hired by the government as an assassin and his fear that reality is stranger than fiction as Raj believes a serial killer turned assassin stalks him. He believes this hired murderer waits for the right moment to kill him. Raj wonders if his past in India in the 1970s has come back to destroy him.
Not for everyone this is a strange Kafka like thriller that grips the reader who will wonder whether the character Raj Chakraborti has gone insane or is being hunted down. Rotating perspective between an "autobiography" and a suspense mystery, fans who relish a well written, but odd tale that appears to break the barrier between fiction and non fiction (or has it) will appreciate this convoluted twisting yet entertaining conspiracy tale of the author on the run from who he believes is a sanctioned government killer.