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Updated: December 1, 2010 17:04 IST

Too many themes

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The Good Son by Michael Grumber.
The Good Son by Michael Grumber.

The book is only for hardcore fiction buffs.

Religion? Psychology? Relationships? Terrorism? It is quite hard to be certain of the central theme of this book. I guess it's best to believe that there is not one central theme but a combination of many. The cover my speak of one relationship but the pages speak of more.

The book takes some time to really kick off but it soon gathers steam. It follows the now common practice of multiple interconnected storylines. The problem is that the book ends up being double paced with one storyline being an interesting edge-of-the-seat-thriller and the other quite a drag for the most part. The use of interesting elements like Urdu poetry add a nice touch to the flow .The author's efforts to keep it authentic must be appreciated while the Afghan ‘Jihad' sequences tend to bring up memories of 1980s action movies like “Rambo” and “Commando”! One major point the book puts across is the human nature. People are best judged when death is near.


The American paranoia about Asians and moles post-9/11 is highlighted with graphically described torture and interrogation sequences (possibly a move to show us that security agencies and terrorists are not so different in the way they treat people). Interpretation of dreams, divine intervention and even some flirting with the Stockholm syndrome form the psychological skeleton. If only a little more justice had been done to one of the many “central” themes, it might have been substantial. What it ends up as is a little bit of everything which tends to be a letdown. Also beyond the halfway mark the story gets a bit predictable. The Good Son ends up as a case of what could have been. Recommended only for hardcore fiction buffs.

Shreyas is a II year B.B.A student at RKM Vivekananda College.

Title: The Good Son

Author: Michael Gruber

Publisher: Corvus

Price: £12.99

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