What happens when an erstwhile investment banker turned lifestyle writer pens a book? A piece like ‘Fade into Red’ gets born. An upscale novel which takes you to Rome, into the vineyards, with Chianti and Brunello wine, and with rich businessmen, while weaving a story. The writer creates Ayra, a Mumbai living Chennai hailing girl, an investment banker who is transported to Rome by serendipity and undergoes a business and emotional change.
The story assumes a movie like setting when Ayra is described to be engaged to the love of her life Kartik and in comes the young scion Ishaan Malhotra for whom she is set to work with in her short stint touring cities in Italy analyzing vineyards. The engagement ring at a time in Roman countryside appears like Frodo’s burden to her. Then to add there is a friend Narina back home who plays the agony aunt most of the times. Fultoo filmy.
What this book also achieves is introduces Indian readers to art of winemaking and vineyards. Celio, the Italian, gives practical lessons on what Materia prima of grapes is. Picking a bunch of grapes and its falling into the cart has been described in a little far-fetched manner with newborn baby. All the harvest (Vendemmia in Italian as the reader will be informed), fermentation, crushing description is interspersed with business deal narratives, competition, rivalry which makes the book interesting.
On the downside, the introduction isn’t as promising as it should be. Coherence in plot is sometimes missing. There are a lot of Italian words scattered through the body of the novel, few of which will require looking up or simply ‘googling’. Also a lot of business terms are thrown at the reader like SHA, NDA, which might throw a hapless reader off balance.
The book has its moments that makes it a good read. Be it the typical Chennai family at engagement or the description of perfect vineyards, the Roman Piazza narration or the conspiracy in the Redna. The book has all the trapping for it to be taken to the celluloid form. It connects largely with the young, urbane, ‘dyed-in-corporate-world’ readers. The writers descriptive brilliance shines throughout the novel.