Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Transmission By Hari Kunzru

Hari Kunzru's Transmission is a wonderful, witty yet thoughtful fictional novel about an Indian programmer who dreams of working in US, gets the opportunity, but finds it hard to survive there. It is a story about a computer virus, the man behind it and its effect on the global economy. It is also a satire on American culture and its technology dependence by means of the main protagonist's journey as well as other characters.

The main protagonist, Arjun Mehta, is a computer programmer & bollywood movie buff, who lands into his dream - working in Silicon Valley. But once he reaches there, he realizes that the reality is very different from the dream. His job is not what he desired and working is part time. Living in nearly poverty, he lands into a job at an antivirus company. When job cuts in the company threaten his job as well, he devises a plan - to create a virus named after his favorite bollywood actress, unleash it on internet and then become a hero by finding a "cure" for it. Unfortunately, he can't, and the things go out of his hand - the virus threatens the whole world economy and brings a lot of disgrace for his favorite bollywood actress as well.

Although the characters are shallow and the focus is more on their plight as well as satire over American culture, I feel this book is worth a read. Not as good as "The Impressionist" but still readable - easy read and funny.

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