Book Reviews

Prelude to a Riot by Annie Zaidi

  • Author: Annie Zaidi
  • Genre: Contemporary fiction
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Aleph Book Company (1 September 2019)
  • Language: English


Prelude to a Riot is a seemingly impressive novel about the impending riot in India. Set in an unnamed town, the book is divided between soliloquies of members of two families – one Hindu and the other Muslim. The characters are fleshed out well with their conversation with self portrayed wonderfully. The dialogues though have been kept bare minimum.

Annie Zaidi has crafted a white-hot novel breaching the structure of literature. Her book is formless, you won’t find a structure, and yet you can see a pattern. Although I was unclear about the intent of the book, it somewhere appealed to me because of the literary quality and its relevance to present-day India. The book masterfully showcases the impact of the brewing social-political unrest in society and how different generations view it.

What I drew out of the book was contemplation – an urge to ponder over the happenings around me. The book wouldn’t appeal to you if you need some clarity, a clear narration, a neat presentation. To be honest, the narrative is messy and so, it stands difficult to comprehend. But, you see, this is the thing. This book demands your attention authoritatively. And once you are drawn into it, there’s no turning back. You’ll be sucked inside to confront an ugly truth.

I did take a long time reading this book and even longer to write this review. To speak the truth, it was worth it. It is a book I’ll reread for its impeccable writing and whenever I would feel a need to see the truth.


Buy your copy: Prelude to a Riot

3 thoughts on “Prelude to a Riot by Annie Zaidi

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