Spy From Unaula by Alok Kumar – Book Review – A Life Size Journey

Spy From Unaula by Alok Kumar is a life size journey of many characters of the story. The book seems to be more like a memoir of portraying the complete life of author’s father Ram Chandra Prasad. The story is well crafted and woven in a fluent way that keeps you engaged to its characters. “What next?” keeps popping in mind while turning pages of this engrossing story. The story is about love and care of an elder brother for his younger one who does everything possible to fulfill latter’s dream of studying and becoming a substantial human being in life. The story is about an elder brother’s motivation to his younger brother to do whatever he wants to do in life to become a better person and achieve new heights that none in the family ever dreamt of. The story is about how selfishness becomes prominent in a family lacking proper education. The story is about how a man kept struggling in his life to achieve his goals and his elder brother’s wish to become an officer.

Spy From Unaula by Alok Kumar – Book Review – A Life Size Journey

I liked the way Spy From Unaula by Alok Kumar has been crafted to well building up the life of its main character Ramchandra from nowhere to substantial heights. The way Ram’s struggle has been portrayed in his village at his childhood in an urge to study, his running away from home because his father decides to marry him with an illiterate girl, none of the family members supporting him except his elder brother are engrossing. Ram’s struggle with various situations while staying in Mumbai will keep you engaged while building up hopes that some day Ram would be out of his bad time of life to restart his studies to fulfill his dream. But that does not happen in Mumbai and gradually after spending few years there he plans to move to Delhi to try his luck, find out some suitable job, and probably be able to start his studies. Destiny had something else in store for him. He reaches Agra and becomes a rickshaw puller. Despite all agonies and setbacks in life, he never gives up and continues his craving for studies that he finally is able to achieve.
Overall Spy From Unaula by Alok Kumar is a fabulous read for many reasons. It has many life lessons that emerge out of the story. I would rate it 4.5 out of 5 for its well crafted story and superbly evolving characters as you turn pages while the story matures up after initial few chapters. The rhythm is well maintained and so is the momentum and pace. It breaks the barrier between fiction and non-fiction.
Source :- https://pebbleinthestillwaters.blogspot.in/2016/05/spy-from-unaula-by-alok-kumar-book.html

Review: Spy from Unaula by Alok Kumar


The story is set in pre-independent India spanning over a life time of a character. The story follows Ram, who born in a remote village Unaula and his adventures as he frees himself from the bondage of social prejudices and backwardness of the uneducated society there. He is inspired and supported by his brother Bhagwati right from the beginning.

What I like about the story:

The content of the story is very unique, fresh and something we don’t see in present piles of romance, mythology and crime-thriller novels. The characters are normal, real-life people and events are told in good detail (the war with Japanese, the process of selection, the atmosphere of death). Especially I like the sketched images which frequently try to bring out the scenes going on in the book. It has social messages, about how a little person from some remote village can become big.


Critical Comments:

The narration puts me off, to be honest. It is top to bottom telling in dull way. The story here is huge and if it is written with more patience it could become a 400+ pages epic, whereas solely due to the school text-book style telling, the book is merely 210 pages long. For example, it is not enough if one tells me that Ram is courageous and nervous at the same time. One can show that simply by his actions (like he elopes from his house just before 2 days of his forced-marriage but at the same times, trembles, cries sobs, wanting for water etc. when he is walking away from his home.) Or if one really wants to stick to telling, he should use similes, allegories to evoke cruelty, humor in the tone. For example, let see if the same situation can be written like : Fifty kilos of weight, he felt such pride and determination that he could alone conquer even Achilles if he tried to force him to marry that unknown girl, who definitely was not a decedent of Helen. By the way, when Bhagwati fights against Japanese in army of British, I have expected the mention of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who was using the Japanese force to create the menace British felt.

To be Specific:


The plot is has potential, as I have mentioned before. You’d agree with me after completing the journey of the characters in this book.


It is natural and okay, but the amount of dialogue is very less in this book which is not compensated by good narration.


It is good but could become livelier with more developed style of presentation. I wanted to feel the same disappointment was Ram was prevented from going to school, I wanted to feel the tension Ram felt when he was leaving his home forever.


Unnecessarily fast which neither creates the thrill it intends to create, nor allows the reader to feel for the characters.


It is mentioned in critical comments section.


Not many typographical and grammatical errors. It’s neat.


Satisfying but could have been of more impact.

Overall impression:

A good read for readers searching for something new based on Indian setting which could become a far better piece of novel.

Source :-  https://anirbanigp.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/review-spy-from-unaula-by-alok-kumar/