Mapping the Mind of an Idealist
by Kiran Nagarkar , , pp.,
August 2006, volume 30, No 8

Monika Boehm-Tettelbach, (former Head of the South Asian Institute, Department of Indology, at the University of Heidelberg) speaking of Kiran Nagarkar’s fiction, speaks of its ‘velocity’, its ability to keep the reader’s attention focused, while the narrative moves on at a snappy pace. The ease and speed of the flow suggests that the simple and the literal is what is to be viewed. But hidden provocatively within is a depth of vision, feeling, a search for the meaning of life, and of the great eternal questions, the nature of salvation, the meaning of love. It is only too easy to think that it’s just a tale well told: the complexity of what is being explored is not thrust upon one’s attention, but only gradually unfolds. Humour, fantasy, and sheer good writing help to keep one riveted in the welter of soul-searching. God’s Little Soldier is an attempt to map the mind of an idealist, and the journey that he takes through life. In the process, somehow, the admirable qualities of the protagonist Zia get subverted. The fact that he takes his notion of integrity to such lengths leads him on to following what his brother Amanat refers to as ‘a religion of extremism’. He even goes through a phase of being a terrorist.

Continue reading this review