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Transmission

by Hari Kunzru

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Transmission by Hari Kunzru
Neither of these two stories are as engaging, interesting, or seemingly as emotionally invested in by Kunzru. Arjun's story was an engrossing, comedic, and telling story about the mixture and collisions of Western and Eastern societies. This is the story I wish Kunzru would have focused on. By the end, I had the distinct feeling that Kunzru had a predetermined goal of creating a detached post-modern epic with multiple story lines interweaving through the blanket theme of East-meets-West. But the emotional soul of Transmission flows from Arjun whose story, if told straight, might end up being an old fashioned modernist yarn, and that certainly wouldn't be cool in the eyes of the cold, bookish depths of the British literary elite.

While overall, Transmission works more often than it doesn't, the mechanics of the plot can be annoyingly transparent. The best writers who use the literary device of interwoven storylines are able to render a naturally-flowing series of events with all components being as interesting or intricately composed as the final product. Transmission is a good novel, but I think there is a great novel in hiding that could have suffered through a few more rounds of editing to reveal its juicy emotional literary core.
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