I recently picked up a romance novel to satisfy the writer as well as reader in me. On the contrary, I felt sick because of its excessively decorative language and repulsed by the entire concept of love that leads to idolization and dependence rather than liberating two people in love. I guess my ideas about love have drastically changed with age and time. It’s now more about spending my precious time with a man who respects me and my thoughts. I find super heroes boring and utterly disappointing, instead find men with conviction and knowledge more endearing. Frankly, I am so much done with fairy tales and neck deep into the realities of life. So, I naturally started looking for novels that are more rustic and closer to reality. People say reading a book is like traveling the world and experiencing the life. And, there’s no doubt that I absolutely buy this idea. They have molded each and every aspect of my personality. However, I still feel incomplete as I am yet to feel that I have read enough and know sufficient to lead my life. The daily grinds of life no more scare me; I rather get a kick when I come across people who deliberately came out of their comfort zones to do what they yearned for long despite all hardships and hurdles.
Sometime back I happened to purchase the novel “Fools Die’ written by Mario Puzo from a local flea market. I had no idea about the novel, except the fact that it was penned by the author of the classic novel “The Godfather”. I gleefully bought it and unconsciously pushed it in one of the corners of my book shelf. A few days back when heat and loneliness started hitting me hard, I thought of reading this novel. And, trust me, I have loved it so far. As I quoted before, the novel is rustic and extraordinary as it portrays the reality as it exists. The protagonist, Merlyn, is not a super hero, though he loves calling himself a magician. It gives a detailed picture of the world of gambling thriving in the city of Las Vegas and the travails of a writer born orphan. The world of gambling is a world in itself, far beyond the law-abiding life that we lead. It’s a world outside the purview of law and more powerful and fascinating than imagined. There are fixed denizens of this flashy and dangerous world, including rich tycoons ready to splurge money over women and gambling, prostitutes who are commonly known as sleeping pills, losers, people with a broken heart and family trying to forget their personal tragedies, men who control the pit and manage casinos, among all. In this world, it’s not easy to cheat and far difficult to escape after cheating. The person who cheats the casino of its money is more likely to be buried in a desert than left alive, as simple as that.
As I said before, since the characters are vulnerable and imperfect, it becomes far easier to accept them while reading the novel. There are women who are trading their body for money and that’s the reality of life. The novel gives a glimpse into the life of filthy rich people and their world of infidelity, greed, power and control over the system. It’s quite eye opening to read about the personal lives of the capitalists controlling the major portion of the wealth across the world. It also throws light upon the entire business of corruption and how it is conducted. The protagonist of the novel, who aims to earn his living through his writings, though hesitant before does not mind later to indulge in small bribery in his own Robinhood style. Rather than despising himself, he feels more powerful and happy in earning by bribing others for enlisting their children in a short-term military programme to escape from the long-term active duty. Unlike before, he is able to fulfill the desires and feelings of his family, purchase a house in a safer locality, enhance the lifestyle of his family, etc.
There’s so much to talk about this novel that I will have to post one more article to describe its other key themes. I am still reading the novel and am in the midst of discovering the beautiful relationship between the protagonist and his brother, Artie. Despite being different, they are far more connected with each other and understand each other very well. The novel is incomplete without talking about the relationship between Merlyn and Artie and other beautiful connections. The friendship between Merlyn and Cully, who rises to become the kingpin of the world of gambling, can also melt down the hearts of readers. In the next post, I will try to cover the remaining elements of the novel in detail.