“The Betelnut Killers” by Manisha Lakhe is a fictional, farcical, comical adventure of an NRI Gujarati family running a grocery store in Portland,Oregon.
The book is a light read and more written as a movie screenplay than a book where you can visualise most of the scenes taking place in the book. The book is about weird situation of the NRI Gujrati family hiring a ‘supari’ (betel nut) killer from India to kill their competitor grocery store owner. The book has a wafer thin plot and some of the happenings are almost unbelievable. The characters are very ‘bollywoodish’ and stereotype with vicious and aggressive wife, nerdy son, seductress daughter, drug-addict relative, sexy rival shop owner, mad contract killer etc.. The writing is not so great and is confused at times. The story is linear mostly with almost predictable twists and turns.
The book is to be made into a low budget Bollywood movie, perhaps mostly with NRI actors. I would suggest to make it a Stage Drama instead, perhaps in Gujrati and it might just work.
Good for a one time read, when you have nothing better to read at hand or nothing better to do. Read it with zero expectations and you might just enjoy.
Ratings : 4/ 10