book-reviews

31 by Upendra Namburi

31 by Upendra Namburi

Blurb:

It’s the first day of March and it has been a great year for Ravi Shastry, a regional head at an international bank. Promotions and increments seem within reach, life is good, and the month of March should be very merry.

Until trouble in Imperial Bank, Brazil, snowballs into an international crisis, and the Indian bank also has to lay off one-fifth of its staff.

And battlelines are drawn, conspiracies are hatched as everyone struggles to make sure their name is not on the laidoff list. Meanwhile, Ravi’s wife is having her own professional and personal crisis, and Ravi must protect his team, his family, and himself—all of which is not helped by mysterious tweets from @ImperialInsider, who seems to know everything that is happening.

This crackling page-turner (set over a period of 31 days) reveals the ruthlessly cut-throat world of the banking industry, but also its humour, quirks and strange camaraderie.


My Review:

Having worked in a corporate, it is easy to relate to the intricacies of one. Gossips and grapevines are an important part of corporate life.

“31” focuses on the sufferings and psyche of the employees in the time of layoff. Which considering today’s situation, seems real. The burn seems fresh and you know that staying employed is crucial. The employees are ready to go to any extent to stay so.

I loved the build-up of the story. It starts with a typical employee’s life—Exhausted but satisfied with everything. Gradually, as the tweets from @ImperialInsider start pouring in, their lives are drastically changed. From the goal of meeting the targets, they have to now make sure that they are visible. Just a good, but invisible worker won’t have a chance at staying when we are talking about 20% layoff.

With the introduction of every new character, you know better than to trust anyone, given the situation. But you can’t stay in isolation as well. The decisions between who to trust and who not to, what to share and what not to, were no less than a life and death situation. Add on to that, moral dilemmas of doing or not doing something to save your ass. It kept me on the edge of the seat.

The reader dives right in the middle of hot gossips about the latest updates, hard-core office politics, and blurred lines between ethical and unethical. The story even if not real, seems believable to a large extent while the ending left me with a lot of questions.

Ravi Shastry’s character appears to be very indecisive and unsure while he is wife appears to be a bit more confident and aware of what she is doing. There wasn’t much of character development throughout the story for any character, which I would have loved to see.

The writing style is easy to understand and very capturing.

Overall a nail-biting thriller (without deaths) and fun read.

The front cover design of this book is very smart. It very smartly uses 2 cover pages. One, with all the deatils and cutout of no. “31” while the second has the picture of the model, which is visible through the cutout.

Highly recommended for those who love corporate thrillers, work in the corporate, love/hate office politics, or just want to try a new genre.

Happy Reading!!