Sushant Thapa, This definitely is a story of a loser who dares to become a story. Loafer really is a page turner novella. The narrative in the novel is also subverted as sentences are directly addressed to the reader. With a robust vocabulary, poetic touch and figurative use of language the delight and interest in the readers’ are kept intact as the novella progresses. Use of first person gives more impact to the novella, as we get to know the narrator more closely.
Soliloquy like secret sentences are uttered which captures readers’ attention—the secret sentences which the narrator wishes to keep in his head only. It is interesting that the narrator reveals these secret sentences to the reader. I personally enjoyed this technique and some questions asked this way are rhetorical in nature.
The idea that how “right things go wrong” in love, studies and sports is well portrayed in the novella.
From the beginning itself the novella seems to open door for extraordinary or unique captivating lines well stated for readers. Readers are directly asked to cooperate and follow the life of the narrator closely, which is not bothersome. It captures readers’ attention directly.
‘Sex’ being a driving force in the novella when the novella opens portrays the psychology of youngsters. Reading it makes me remember a saying which can be simply put as: “Boys and girls cannot just be friends because there is sex involved between them.” So, the whole story about sex although unsuccessful is justifiable. Shyam the narrator also tries to think about spending his life with Anisha, a girl with whom he wanted to spend a one night stand. This maturity is kept intact in the novel.
There is a shift in chapters from “A Night with Anisha” to “That Day in Our College” and again to the student life titled “My Third Semester.” Readers can go through the messy night and the tension rising the next day, where the events in the night are talked about and also how characters perceive each other is shown. We also see angry side of the loafer. The loafer is a student, so the chapter “My Third Semester” is justifiable after every other sensual and climactic chapter ends.
The husband of the canteen owner elopes with a girl. We rarely come across such incident where we say that a man has eloped with a girl. It is always the other way round in social gossips and talks. The writer has very strongly put this. It seems he is conscious to show such subtle gender dichotomy in literature. And sports come up as a topic. After sensual events and narration a little adrenaline rush will not harm anyone. All the chapters are like life in this novella, some being a little bit of sensual and sporty.
Be it in a small conversation, but the writer brings up Sadhguru. Mystical suggestion by Suman does not seem to help Shyam in his messy situation. It is difficult for him when he has to choose between cricket and studies. This situation of conflict and trap is interesting to notice in the novella.
The idea that how “right things go wrong” in love, studies and sports is well portrayed in the novella. There is also thoughtfully presented situation in the novella, a situation of social concern. Sneha leaving for India is thoughtful and mind wins over heart here.
Sugam has successfully addressed the social cause in his first novella, apart from framing the first person and individualistic storyline. Many people migrate to India for job and it is our day to day common reality. I thank Sugam for addressing this social issue in this novella about love and individualism. It indeed is well portrayed. Loafer ends with a hope. A hope that the story will continue.
Author: Sugam Gautam
Publisher: Brosis publication, New Delhi.
Reviewer Sushant is an M.A. in English . He is the author of the poetry collection “The Poetic Burden and Other Poems.” The book is available in Daraz and Thuprai. He lives in Biratnagar-13, Morang.