Monday, April 23, 2012

Evolution of Insanity - addictive and subversive

An independent book review

To read Evolution of Insanity is to admit that the world is not perfect, to learn to adapt to the reality of the world and to see just where your own behaviour could be construed as insane, or even offensive to someone with a perspective necessarily different from your own.

I thought Evolution of Insanity would be a novel, or at least a set of linked stories with an overall arc, but it seems to be a collection of the Haresh Daswani's storeis, essays and poems. While there is no story link, the individual entries are linked by Daswani's wry humour and razor-sharp observations.

The entries in the book include short stories (some very short), absurdist observations of the vagaries of everyday life; observations on social trends; essays on religion, life and people; and even a few poems.

I have to admit, I was put off at first by the large number of grammatical, punctuation and typographical errors. But these are more than offset by the humour and underlying honesty of the work. That's what I mean by accepting imperfection: there is much to enjoy in this book. I found myself smiling, even laughing several times; but more often, I found myself recognizing the characters as people I had met in my own life.

Some of it is absurd, sure. But it's all grounded in Daswani's ability to see what people are really doing, and analyzing so accurately the often twisted thought process behind those actions. Ultimately, it makes us question how logical or straightforward our own thought processes and actions are. Do I do those things? Do I stare at inanimate objects for inspiration while writing about something completely different, like the author in the first vignette?

Grammatical problems aside, Daswani's book is enjoyable and interesting. You cannot stop reading it once you stop. So maybe the best description is subversive and addictive.

No. It's a positive force in the world. Just buy it, read it and let the rest of the world know what you think.


  1. I must buy this. My wife thinks I'm bonkers already.

  2. I appreciate your struggle to accept a work worthy of both praise and a good hosing. I am still in recover from typo-ranting, even after a friend added his list of typos in my novel to the list another friend had give me. The total stands at 38 typos in a book of 352 pages. Only solution is to throw money or barter at the problem, I'm thinking. I did three full edits aimed at typos. Missed 38. Leaving work in poor shape cannot be acceptable. So says one who generates typos like rabbits generate pellets.

  3. That's why you need someone else to edit your work. You cannot proofread your own stuff - not effectively, anyway.