First, let me congratulate the author for writing this novel. It is not a easy thing to write a novel from different POVs and he has not only managed it with aplomb but also shifts from first person to third person mode very easily.
Tall Man Small Shadow is a story that is told from different perspectives and people. Anupam a middle-aged retired man who lives with his wife and daughter ponders deeply on the meaning of life and death. His daughter Alaya, is writing a thesis and is looking for a mentor. His neighbour Salil is an introvert who keeps to himself and has little interaction with anybody. Seema is a professor who is trapped in a unhappy state of affairs due to her inability to conceive and she becomes Alaya’s mentor.
The story began slowly as all the principle characters were introduced and it gathers steam when Seema’s intent and inclinations are revealed. Each character is a multi-layered personality and the way they react to situations and choices is brought out very beautifully.
My favourite among the bunch was Anupam. He seems so innocent to the world and his quest for a meaning in life is something that I truly recognize with. By the time, we get to Sulekha’s chapter you will truly realize that nothing is a coincidence indeed.
Let me list out a few pet peeves –
The ending seems a bit rushed. What is Alaya feeling in the end? How was her married life with Salil? Was she able to put her lesbian encounter behind her? We do not get to see her pov after that and we just have a narrative that says that she wants to get pregnant.
Salil too talks about his company and its growth but did he put his past with Nasreen and fall in love with Alaya. What are his thoughts in the end? These were the two main things that I was wondering about at the end of the novel.
The author’s prose is simple to read and easy to follow. A much tighter editing is required though especially since this is a novel with different narrative styles.
Plus Points: Good plot, different perspectives and strong characters
Minus Points: A few cliffhangers that gave an incomplete feel to the novel. A much tighter editing
Verdict: An interesting read