A brilliant blend of dystopia and surrealism, Aditya Modak’s debut novel Arachnid mirrors the common man’s fears in myriad ways. Jay Mukherjee leads a life bereft of flavour, carefully skirting the barricades placed in society by the Federation.
But one day, his nightmare doesn’t cease. And with great horror, Jay realizes that his childhood fear of spiders has surfaced again, threatening to engulf the world as he knows it.
I couldn’t set this book down, and so I read it in one sitting. The sheer jaw-dropping quality of it emerges not just through the well-written passages but also the ideas that underlie Aditya Modak’s storytelling.
Right from the beginning, the author gives us a glimpse of a world far removed from what it is today. The system of governance has changed. The quality of life has entirely succumbed to poor environmental conditions and dystopian policies. People are reduced beings, trudging on with their jobs, having no ambitions, creativity, or purpose. I enjoy reading dystopian books, so this aspect of the plot appealed to me a great deal.
Secondly, I love it when books I read are inspired by the ideologies and philosophies of other writers or reference other literary texts. And in the author’s writing, I was able to connect the dots to exceptional titles like Orwell’s 1984, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Jay’s character is a vessel of the vulnerabilities and fears that plague mankind. While very few characters hold sway over the plot, his demeanour bears great significance. The story is told over 6 chapters, and the writing style complements the plot progression. So you’ll find yourself racing through the book.
Since I have a taste for extraordinary and macabre tales, I was thrilled to see the story pan out in that direction. Although truth be told, I’m not particularly fond of spiders either. So some scenes did stupefy me a little. But, I’m extremely glad to have read this book. The ending is just splendid!
Apart from one scene towards the end, which I felt dragged on a bit, there wasn’t a single thing that I could find fault with.
If you enjoy mind-boggling stories, I highly recommend Arachnid by Aditya Modak!
Note – I received an ALC of this book from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.