The concept of trailers for a movie, ever wondered why it acts as a pivotal point to the success of the film? The first expression of an interviewee, ever wondered why it affects the interview so greatly? The firsts in life are significant indicators to the paths we are to walk on. Interpretation of this simple truth might just pave the way further instead of a muddy road although it sometimes seems to be a hard vision to see as one may need to pull away and look at the bigger picture. The author of this creation has hit the bull’s eye in comprehending this vital aspect of attention spanning the readers’ minds.
If one tries the phenomenon of taking a blind man into a dark room, with a blindfold on, post a corrective surgery, would leave him thirsty with curiosity, it can be seen as a true mix of adrenaline and anticipation. Similar to this, the book starts with blindfolding the readers into an analogous experience much like a trailer to a movie. It automatically sparks one’s interest, prompting them to flip the pages or in many case, scroll through quicker. The opening writing also pumps several visuals into the mind’s eye leaving much to imagination which is one of the spiciest ingredients an author could use to perch in the driver’s seat of the reader minds.
Another interesting path embarked by the author in this plotline stands to be the relatability. While the genre of fiction has explored the heights of wind castles and fairy dragons, to the various species and emotion-evoking storylines, one tends to forget that the ultimate thing every human being looks for to understand a situation, person or content in general is based on their relatability to their result of comprehending the piece. This stands as a reason why normalcy in plot settings are gaining firmer foothold especially with the advent of the first decade of the 21st century. This language of the common man has been noted to be the most spoken, most vocal and thereby most impactful for any spark to mould into something more than the stage of ideation. Again, with the bull’s eye on this concept, Mark Howen in his ‘Requiem for the Rooster’ sets this plot in a setting that everyone can relate to, at least for the first quarter of the book. A false illusion to a true plot.
The country style of writing imbibes the notion of ‘home’ into anyone’s perspective but it also makes one question about the impression of ‘home’ at several points along the story. Like the tenacious rains that pour to reach their final destiny, the circle of life stands to be the greatest example to the postulation of ‘the start of a situation is also the beginning of its end’. There could not have been a more concise saying to describe this piece of writing.
As a child, there is a popular custom in India to describe a family according to the fingers of a human hand. It goes as follows – the thumb stands to be the patriarch, the grandfather (in case of single child families) or the father who tends to bear the semblance of physical strength, the forefinger is the matriarch to represent the root of functionality in a family, the other three are the children (in case of siblings) and the father, mother and child in that order in case the other two are taken by grandpa and grandma in case of single child families. This simple but effective notion contained in the child’s mind from infancy enables them to understand that while not all fingers are same, they still are equally important for the well-being of a home or, figuratively speaking, the working of the hand. As adults and precisely, adults losing out on these cultural ideals, there remains a tendency to forget this simple mechanism that may arise issues. The book channels the same ideal by showing how the family functions with the male protagonist, his wife and two daughters despite instances of disagreement, challenges and disputes that are overcome by love, patience, and forgiveness. The before-mentioned vibe of ‘home’ also strengthens further that wraps around the readers like a comfort blanket to simply keep going. The daughters of the main lead protagonist call out hazardous policies both to uphold their father’s spirit for the right and to expose the contributing sources to the decaying world. This sends out a bold message pointing out to the giants of the real world reeling in the common public to think and re-think.
An interesting outlook, what could be interpreted as a pun, comes from the nomenclature. For example, the lead male’s family goes by the surname of ‘Worthy’ which can only be connected by the reader after finishing the entire book. Coincidence? This also goes for the ‘Rooster’ as one tends to think ‘what is a rooster doing in the middle of this?’ several times along the course of the book.
The tricky concept of time has also been wielded well here with a lot of back and forth in the timeline of the instances. While they may not be particularly smooth transitions, it does keep the reader on their toes to decipher hidden clues, scenarios and plot-twists along the way. Truly an ingenious technique used from the big bang of the art of writing but equally challenging as well! An interwoven web of the past, present and future also presents itself across the storyline and the characters lives. The wounds of the past may heal over time but the scars may continue to burn if poked at frequently is a major life lesson that the author is trying to put across through the characters’ decisions when faced with a forked pathway. Choosing between correcting the past or carving the present, closing the past or continuing the present are all choices that can be visualised in the plot which may appear to be an impasse at a first glance. Does it always have to be a choice? Reading through the book can surely be a way to find out.
Calling out the hypocrisy between the natural human tendency today to plan out the future despite knowing the unpredictability of the future is painted with a philosophical tint to it. Questioning faiths, will powers and arguments are a constant touch to the de facto, pre-instilled notions of the society today. As the book portrays, all it takes is a single deviation, a slight push-off to deviate from this ‘plan’. The tighter one succumbs to the illusion of this planning, the further off-course they are thrown by this intervention. The brilliant example of archery can be taken up to understand this philosophy better where, while it seems like the task is as simple as to aim, pull the bow and shoot the arrow to the aim, the role of extraneous variables like the wind are always undermined. Similarly in life, with a million such variables, is it truly worth to draft out a plan for the future and abide by it like a Testament? Or should it simply be relied on as a loose framework to not lose sight of the right and wrong? The author supplies an entire granary for the ‘food for thought’ process in this writing.
‘Would you rather’ is a trending tag for the netizen family to contemplate many hard choices one might have to make. Safe to say this is another relevant tag for this book. Except here, the characters are truly made to choose. One of the most popular questions in this comes with a background of which would be the greater good, this or that. But this truly brings up the question, is the greater good just the lesser evil? The characters in the book driving the plot advocate on to this very stance throughout but it is up to the reader to pass the verdict for, the perplexities of perceptions pull the reader into moral dilemmas several times. A healthy warning, and an enticing invitation.
The element of suspense and confidentiality is one of the most indulging experience factors hooking the readers for the entire ride. The intriguing mysteries, the truth which seems apparent but veiled, the dots too blurry to connect, all of it simply enhances the thrill in this thriller.
Finally, deep messages are cast out with a few deaths, compromises and reveals which stem from hard choices carry out to say that these have become a necessity to carry out the greater good in today’s world, hardening and softening the hearts of readers at the same time. The sacrifices and strength it takes to do what is right by the characters culminates to represent the circle of life, except the author leaves one wondering whether the circle is truly complete in the universe of the plotline as final shot to keep readers on their toes in the anticipation of a possible sequel.
Get your copy of “Requiem For the Rooster” by Howen on Amazon now! This thrilling novel features a relatable protagonist and a gripping narrative that effortlessly weaves politics and environmental issues into the story. Fast-paced twists and shocking reveals will keep you on the edge of your seat. Don’t miss out!
Also Read: Mark Howen – Interview