Book Title: 400 Days
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Publisher: HarperCollins India (20 July 2022)
Chetan Bhagat’s novel “400 Days” is a mystery thriller that follows the journey of Keshav, the central character. While studying for his IPS exams, Keshav runs a private detective agency with his friend Saurabh. The book has the classic Chetan Bhagat style that blends romance, humor, family drama, and mystery. Although the plot contains several unexpected twists and turns, the story progresses in a familiar, cinematic fashion.
The plot centers on Alia, a mother who searches for her missing daughter, Siya, who was abducted from her grandparents’ home just before her thirteenth birthday. Despite exhaustive efforts by the police and others, the girl remains elusive. But Alia is determined to continue the search and enlists the help of Keshav and Sourabh, two amateur detectives. The story focuses on their quest to solve the mystery and find the missing girl. Along the way, Keshav finds himself drawn to Alia’s beauty and cannot help but be captivated by her.
In “400 Days,” Chetan Bhagat weaves different genres into his writing styles, such as romance, humor, family drama, and mystery. The language is simple and uncomplicated, ensuring the book is a smooth and effortless read. The narrative follows a predictable and cinematic structure, with fast pacing maintained through short, snappy chapters that hold the reader’s attention. Moreover, the characters are authentic and easy to connect with, while the dialogue is lively and realistic, adding to the natural feel of the story.
After reading the story, several thoughts come to mind. Firstly, the Internet and social media are two-edged swords, and parents must be vigilant when children start using them at a young age. Secondly, belittling someone based on their humble background signifies mental degradation. Thirdly, children who witness their parents fighting daily face a kind of trauma that makes them more vulnerable. Fourthly, in today’s times, it is essential to educate children and raise awareness about child predators. Lastly, it is worth noting that in crimes against children, the perpetrators are often either family members or people familiar with the family. We must address these critical issues as a society to protect our children and create a safer environment for them.
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Chetan Bhagat is talented at connecting with middle-class, tier-2 towns in India. His plots are typically centered around a contemporary issue that resonates with today’s Indian youth. Bhagat is a decent storyteller who takes his time to build up his characters. However, he tends to provide excessive information about them, which can detract from the main story. One of the best things about Chetan Bhagat’s novels is their contemporary feel and relatability, making them appealing to a broad audience.
Readers who enjoy Chetan Bhagat’s previous works and prefer light, quick reads will find this book to be an effortless read that can be finished in one or two sittings. Overall, it may be suitable for those who enjoy easy-to-read novels.
Read more book reviews in our March 2023 Issue featuring Anuja Chandramouli