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Book Review : Dark Horse By Nilotpal Mrinal

Book Review – Dark Horse

Author: Nilotpal Mrinal
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Hind Yugm / Westland

Book Blurb‘Dark Horse’ is one of the most popular novels of this decade written in Hindi. Such live and vivid portrait of the life of candidates preparing for the Civil Services Examination in the Hindi medium was not focused on any other book to date. Candidate preparing for the country’s highest honored examination is not only an aspirant but also has a multi-faced life-style and struggles in his lap. This is the story of the same struggle. This novel depicts the uncommon doldrums of getting out of villages/ towns and dealing with urban life specifically in the backdrop of Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi. In addition to the immense popularity among readers, this novel has also received the ‘Sahitya Akadami Youth Award’ of 2015. This is an edited and refined version of this book.

About the Book – This book is the first book by Nilotpal Mrinal. From the title, this book sounds like an English novel but actually, it’s written in Hindi. This book is focused on those students who come from different states for the IAS exam preparation. These students are from lower to middle-class families with big dreams in their eyes. How their life go, what struggles they face, and what is their state of mind is all about the book. The story is set in Mukharji Nagar, Delhi location, where different institutions are ready with the claim to make future IAS/ IPS officers. Walls are decorated with such hoardings and pictures of the success students boast their training techniques. The talking slangs used by the characters are on the ground level like we talk in general. The reader connects immediately with them. Their expressions, partying, tea gossiping, and IAS attitude is really touching. Anyone who has gone through such a face or lived such student life can easily relate to the story that the writer has narrated. Common people and their hesitated respect for these students is funny and showed well. The story pace is too good and worth praising. The author has not restricted himself to these student’s life only but their parents and background are also portrayed with genuine feelings. The story is very captivating and very simple.

My Critique – The book’s language is so close to common people that it immediately connects. The variety of characters in the story is really interesting. With what mentality an IAS talks in debate and try to impress is shown well. If anyone finds no one is getting impressed then how to turn it to own favor using debating quality gives a comic touch to the story. In today’s world when everyone is including sex and other exciting material to flavor their story, this story is an ideal example and worth remembering that good literature is itself very rich and doesn’t need any fancy thing to outshine. It also proves that if a writer has guts and he is connected with his roots, writing such magnificent creation is not that difficult. It’s simply a flawless awesome book that I loved reading and will definitely recommend to others. One problem that I found about the story’s main character was that his struggle of becoming a dark horse was not much described but when I see the rest of the story and also see this book as a novel and not any IAS preparation book then this complains resolves. I congratulate the author and wish him all the best for all of his future endeavors.

Rating : 3.5/5

Best Buy: Amazon – Paperback at Rs.160/-(Available at just Rs.124 in Amazon Sale Now)

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  1. I am also intrigued by the lives of the students who dedicate years for the preparation of IAS and other public exams.. Comprehensive review.. Would like to read it.. But my hindi is rather slow.. May be would try..

  2. Regional writers bring a different flavor to the literature world because they can truly connect with the masses. I liked the setting and the plot.

  3. This book sounds very promising. One thing I would like to point out is that with the changes in the IAS format Hindi speaking students at least stand a chance but the plight of youngsters who come from south Indian states is worse. If they are not fluent in English they stand absolutely no chance of becoming IAS officers. I am referring to students from remote areas of Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc. Coming back to the book I definitely plan to read it.

  4. This book sounds nice. i like how you have called out that the book relies on good old fashioned story telling and not cheap shots to create plot.

  5. This is a fantastic review. I too believe that one need not sensationalise the subject to sell; one can have a connection with the reader by being candid.

  6. The book based on reality that connects with today’s youth is highly recommended. We must know what goes on in the minds of the youth preparing for these esteemed exams. They are a part of our future of the country. Sounds interesting.

  7. Regional writing has been on a bit of wane recently. Good review.

  8. The way you have critiqued the book comvinces me that it must be a good read.
    You have pointed out the strong points of the book as well mentioned the minor problem you have with it.

    If my hindi was stronger i would definitely have picked this one.

  9. This book seems like a good pick. I am glad you also pointed out the cons you experienced while reading it.

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