Roopa Farooki’s new book is unlike anything else I have read by her earlier. Even the writing for that matter is different from her other books. The Flying Man is about a man’s life, lived through cities and countries and in various disguises, from where the title comes about.
The Flying Man did take me some time to get into, as it didn’t start with the aplomb I thought it would. However, once the story got me going, I could not stop reading it. The central character of the novel is a man who cannot stay at one place (as you would expect from the title, and the story keeps up to it). This is because he is a criminal (well for that you have to read the book), has had many wives and children (in almost every city) and now, years later, his past is catching up with him. His name is Maqil – also known as Mike, Mehmet, Mikhail and Miguel, and it is all these characters and men (different and yet the same) that Ms. Farooki brings alive in her book.
The book worked for me on various levels. It spoke of conscience, love, fathering children (which I couldn’t relate to), the children’s view about their father, his tracks left behind and of what it feels like when the past is ready to catch up with you, only to culminate in love at the end, as with most stories and plots.
Roopa Farooki writes swiftly and without wasting any time. The urgency in her words and writing is apparent and maybe that is what works best with a book like this. The character of Maqil is of course well charted and documented, however it is also the other characters that equally add to the plot – his many wives, his estranged relationship with his children and their voices and that of his creditors as well, adding sometimes the much needed humour. The Flying Man has its moments of almost every emotion on the range and that’s what makes readers connect to it. I highly recommend this book as a season read.