12 October 2021 | By: Writing Buddha

400 Days by Chetan Bhagat (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

1968th BLOG POST

32nd Book of 2021


So, some writers stay with you for long even when they don’t impress you every time they write. Chetan Bhagat has become one such author for me as I have been involved with his books since he wrote his 1st one. It is because of him that I got acquainted with many Indian fiction authors and I respect him for whatever revolution he has brought in the literary and book world in India. His latest book released 3 days back and the hidden fan within me couldn’t stop himself from reading this 352-pages book after office hours. The title of the book goes by the name “400 Days” which is published by Westland publication.


This time the book is not about the murder mystery but an abduction case where a girl is missing and again – the case reaches the private detectives- Keshav and Saurabh. I really liked the start of the book as author takes us into the story and characters slowly. Till the time the case doesn’t reach the Bhagat’s detective protagonists, you just love the way characters are introduced and the story being taken further. As soon as Keshav and Saurabh enters, the story gets a push initially where they start applying their brain and bring things in a better state than where it was after the police investigation. Though I believe that police are shown in quite bad light by Chetan in his thriller stories but still, I must say that the way detectives are shown working on the case gives some justice to them.


As the story moves forward, Chetan doesn’t want it to be all about the thriller case only. He is quite Bollywood-ish and filmy hence you’ll find his fitter detective falling for his client and ending up getting emotionally connected with her and the case. Now, this affects the pace of the story because sometimes it ends up as a romantic angle more than the thriller aspect. Even though the whole section is enjoyable and relaxing, it starts irritating the curious reader in you who wants to know the person behind the abduction of the 12 years old girl. If you see both these plots separately, I must tell you that it’s great but the way it comes in between of the engaging mystery solving spree, it impacts your interest in the thriller.


There are few aspects that Chetan has tried to counter in his book, and I must say he is quite successful as it gets noticed – the reason why I am also mentioning it here in the review. How the modern relationships are broken even when it’s all fine in the people’s eye is represented so nicely. Similarly, the dilemma and problems when one thinks of getting divorced is given prominence which I believe is responsible attempt from the author because it could have been skipped to show the glamorous part of leaving someone just because you don’t want to continue anymore in the toxic relationship. I also liked how well Chetan has handled extra-marital affair rather than mentioning it just as multiple sexual encounters between two people.


He also reflects on how the children gets affected because of experiencing regular fights and arguments at home. Their psychology gets completely disturbed due to it. The consideration of saas-bahu angle and how a boy gets confused about whom to give more importance between mother and wife is given lot of prominence in this story which I believe is fine to discuss as this is a major issue in many Indian households. How social media can lead to big crimes or damages in a normal family is highlighted as the major takeaway which I believe should be a concern for modern parents who just give mobile phone to their kids and never check what they are up to. Similarly, how blind faith on someone can lead to your victimization is given prominence in the story. So, Chetan has basically tried to touch upon many social concerns which I believe has been executed properly. Lastly mentioning, the fitness spirit of Saurabh in this part of the Detective series tells us how rather than accepting your bad shape, we should get up and improve our lifestyle, habits and try getting into shape rather than crying about being body shamed.


Talking about the climax and revelation of the criminal, I must say that Chetan has again missed the jackpot here. You just can’t keep speaking about half dozen characters in your whole book and suddenly introduce someone new in the pre-climax and make him the culprit. This is the easiest way of writing a thriller. There’s no talent here. In fact, it should surprise the reader at the end that I never thought he/she could have done this. This book doesn’t give those vibes at all. Though I liked how the romantic story between Keshav and Alia is given a beautiful ending which actually made me feel emotional.


Overall, I found this book very stretchy. It could have been shorter by 100 pages. I give this attempt 3.5* out of 5. It is an okay read but nothing that will make you put this in one of the best books read this year.






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