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The Wall by [Gautam Bhatia]

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The Wall Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 59 ratings

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"A deeply intelligent and thoughtful intellectual adventure that raises some fundamental questions in a strikingly original and provocative way." - Gary K. Wolfe, Locus Magazine

"A significant Indian debut in science fiction on the theme of freedom." - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Open Magazine

"An exciting new direction for Indian sci-fi." - The Hindu

"A fast-paced, gripping read, it is an important addition to Indian and world speculative fiction." - The Hindustan Times

"By rebuking static, formulaic utopias in favour of dynamic, complex societies, The Wall asserts itself a descendant of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed ... an unforgettable story and a fantastic addition to contemporary Indian (English) SFF." - Strange Horizons

"It would be hard to put the book aside, even for a bit, for the last part. The Wall comes across as a deeply imagined, stylish and confident debut of an author who has introduced one new world to us, and will hopefully introduce many more." - The Wire

"The novel pulls in readers with its thoughtful and detailed world-building." - Scroll

About the Author

Gautam Bhatia is a science fiction writer, reviewer, and an editor of the award-winning Strange Horizons magazine. The Wall is his first novel.

Product details

  • ASIN : B08B7SS1CL
  • Publisher : HarperCollins India; 1st edition (13 August 2020)
  • Language : English
  • File size : 1060 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 413 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 59 ratings

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
59 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 19 August 2020
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Reviewed in India on 29 December 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars An SFF that isn’t centered on a patriarchal Caucasian culture with a straight lead? Read this!
By The Urban Reader on 29 December 2020
“There is a world to discover, isn’t there?”

Gautam Bhatia’s debut fictional novel is what I’d like to call a masterpiece in the making. A story of a walled city – Sumer - which knows nothing of the world beyond it and of curious minds who feel caged up inside. A story of revolution, of yearning, of smara.

The city of Sumer is divided into 15 mandalas (circles/rings) which is separated from the farmer’s land by a river Rasa which flows through the middle. The society has a matriarchal structure and the people don’t seem to be evidently homophobic, which is a welcome change from the world we live in today. Despite these developments, like every society there are flaws in this one too. There’s a difference in the opportunities you have based on the mandala you live in, you can consider the mandala system similar to that of a class-system, where the first five mandalas are superior to the next ten.

There are various groups/clans within the city with different ideals, the Shoortans who preach their incendiary doctrines, the Select who rise to oppose them, the Coterie who teach a new creed, the Young Tarafians who call for bringing down the wall and lastly the Hedonists who simply cause general chaos in the city because they have nothing more adventurous to do.

The focus of the book is mainly on the Young Tarafians and their leader Mithila. Her determination to breach the wall is inspiring while her will to sacrifice everything for what she believes in lights a fire inside you which might’ve been dimmed over the years of adulthood. The Shoortans and the council of Elders will infuriate you enough throughout the book to keep that fire raging.

The Wall speaks of various issues surrounding a society like class divide, power struggle, freedom of speech and expression, population and even the question way too many people seem to ask these days, “Who is a citizen?” My favourite chapter in the book was when the all the members of various groups gather together to try and ban the young Tarafians, dismissing their ideals like a crumpled bit of paper. The speeches given, the points made, the questions asked... it is most captivating.

But if I were to give you five reasons as to why you should read this book, they are:
1. The book is well-paced and the story structure is as such that while dropping enough hints of what may be yet to come, also keeps you wondering and hence you continue to keep reading on.
2. If you love beautiful personifications used for nature, you’ll definitely love this book.
3. Are you a sucker for MCs who will give everything they have to stand by what they believe in? Yes? Get ready to meet Mithila and her friends!
4. If you’re looking for a SFF that isn’t centered on a patriarchal Caucasian culture with a straight lead, then this one fits the bill
5. Lastly, The Wall is capable of stirring up a storm of emotions, especially towards the end and while it’s a duology and while you may have a lot of questions, the author does a brilliant job of not leaving you at a cliff hanger which will make you feel angry.

Gautam Bhatia has done brilliantly in bringing us an SFF in the form of Sumer and makes sure that he encapsulate just enough aspects of Hindu mythology and Indian culture.

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 bookmarks, knocking off 0.5 because of the disconnect I felt in between chapters on rare occasions and also because I believe the cover doesn’t do justice to what a masterpiece this story is. I loved this book for how thrilling it was. I have not felt that way after reading a book in a very long time and will definitely recommend that you give it a chance on your TBRs.

I’d also like to thank Harper Collins India for this beautiful copy of the book and congratulate the author on his fictional debut!
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Reviewed in India on 19 September 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 24 August 2020
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Reviewed in India on 29 September 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

Yaroslav Barsukov
5.0 out of 5 stars Zelazny-rich in poetry, metaphors, imagery—and Chiangesque in its attention to detail
Reviewed in Germany on 27 February 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars The kind of book that will give you new insights with each reading
Reviewed in the United States on 26 September 2020
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A. Rajamani
5.0 out of 5 stars A feeling of freedom
Reviewed in the United States on 19 October 2020
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