A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi by Aman Sethi is something different from the normal books. It does not has a grabbing impact but if you start it, somehow you will want to read this book. Same happened with me over the past two days. 230 pages, I ended up reading them. I never got the feeling of being hooked by its words but in awe of reading something different and something based on my home-town New Delhi, I wanted to give it a try.
The major part of the novel is set in New Delhi, near the area of Sadar Bazaar. The book focuses in particular on a man name Ashraf who studied biology, became a butcher, a tailor, and an electrician’s apprentice; now he is a homeless day laborer in the heart of old Delhi along with his group of companions. Ashraf is the main character in this nonfiction reportage by young Indian journalist Aman Sethi, who writes his account in the first person and is witness to all the action. While doing a series of magazine articles on the incredible urban transformation of Delhi in 2005 to 2006 in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, the author discovered that the clearing out of slums was changing the city. I thought this book will give me more insight on the topics it intends to cover and the city itself. But it failed in may ways.
The language, though used many times as a slang with no perfect explanation is erratic. In between author do try to put some interesting bits but he fails to impress me. The timeline and few events in the book are not well organised and after reading it, I had a feeling that I am reading an amateurish raw work like a draft which still needs an editing.
I won’t recommend this book to anyone. Still if you want to read something peculiar, go ahead, I won’t stop you.
2.5 out 5!