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Review: 2 States by Chetan Bhagat


In country like India, a love affair converted into marriage is no less than a battle won. When the two halves of the couple are from two opposite regions, things are set to get tricky. Chetan Bhagat ’s fourth novel, 2 States, revolves around this theme – way before Chennai Express was in the works!

The story opens when Punjabi-boy Krish Arora, meets Tamil-Brahmin-girl Ananya Swaminathan in the IIMA mess, where they are both studying. Ananya gets into a tiff with the mess worker, and Krish helps both of them to settle it, in return sacrificing his sweet dish, to the Ms. Popular of the college. Quite predictably, both of them fall in love and what follows is their journey of convincing their parents.

Chetan Bhagat is one of my favourite authors. Though there are numerous issues in his books and his style of writing, but we can’t dispute the fact that this man has changed the face of Indian reading. I have read this book 5 times. The New York Times called him the biggest-selling English-language novelist in India’s history . Here in India, the record breaking success of his books and the movies based on them conveys all. As anticipated, 2 States was a bestseller as well. The fact that the book is somewhat inspired from his own life, makes it more believable, and consequently popular among his fans.

The story moves between three cities – Ahmedabad, Delhi and Chennai (with a snapshot in Goa). While we are shown just a glimpse of the first city, the other two are described in full vigour. The writer intelligently captures the cultures of north and south India. While Krish’s mom and aunt will make you remember all your neighbourhood aunties, Ananya’s parents are shown as typical conservative Tamilians. Though the story is told from the point of view of the male protagonist, the writer never takes sides and brings out the best and the worst in both the communities. Needless to mention, the book is filled with humour, like a Tamil-speaking Sardar and verbal fights between Krish’s and Ananya’s mothers. The sarcasm used never fails. In fact, in some instances I was rolling on the floor.

Both protagonists are likeable. While Krish juggles between his job and different cities in his attempt to marry the love of his life Ananya, she is sorting out problems as her marriage is fixed with some other guy by her parents.

In all, this book is the best from this author. He gives you a clear perspective of life in India. Though it is surely not a literary piece, but book is well written. People looking for intellectual stuff may not like it. But all romance-lovers should surely go for it. It is a light read. The book may not be an emotional roller-coaster, but you will be surely left with a smile after you complete this one!

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5 times? Seriously!! I have to agree with you when you say this is the best of CB’s books.

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This is one of the best seller book of Chetan Bhagat. I hace read this books two times. It is based on real life story of Chetan Bhagat, Chetan Bhagat’s Books are basically combination of some fiction and real story that attract any reader easily and attach him with its life’s experience.

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Book Review: 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

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2 States (2009) by Chetan Bhagat – Book Review

book review 2 states

When I used to discuss literature with my university classmates, the name Chetan Bhagat and his novel 2 States always seemed to pop up during our frequent conversations. I’ve been aware of Bhagat ever since the movie 3 Idiots was released in 2009—as its script is based on Bhagat’s 2004 venture Five Point Someone—and following the international success of that movie, it came as no surprise that his other books were also cinematically adapted later on by Bollywood.

Whoever is reading this review should first be made aware that I’ve read another Indian scribe who wrote in the English language, R.K. Narayan, so Bhagat is definitely not the first non-native author of English that I’ve come across.

2 States, as the name implies, follows Krish and Ananya who are from distinct regions of India but end up becoming a couple during their MBA years. Krish is a Punjabi from Delhi and Ananya is a Tamilian from Chennai. Now, the plot does feel clichéd at the initial reading, and the book was more than generic in its opening chapters, but it later on becomes so witty that you forget the romantic angle and are forced to focus on the humor instead.

The funniest bits are when the couple have to convince their in-laws to approve of their intended marriage. What’s the issue? Their parents are as traditionalist as any Asian family could be. Krish’s parents want the boy to marry a Punjabi girl. And Ananya’s parents want the girl to marry a Tamilian guy. The destination that the story is slowly but surely leading you to is extremely foreseeable from the get-go—the book’s tagline is The Story of My Marriage, after all—but the journey is far from tedious.

This is not only the foremost Bhagat novel that I’ve read, but also the first one I’ve gone through that belongs to the romantic genre. The writing style is so suited to the YA genre that I wasn’t surprised that most of Bhagat’s readers are teenagers and adolescents. Many sections of the book brought back memories of my own high-school years, not because of the content, but due to the way the plot was followed through. I used to cherish reading young-adult authors such as R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike back in the day, and thus, nostalgia was inevitable. By the time I completed 2 States, I felt ten years younger, and I guess people who used to read a lot of YA fiction, and then progressed to adult-orientated tales, will most probably end up sharing my feelings.

Bhagat’s flair for social commentary through minimalistic wording constantly reminded me of Narayan. One factor where Bhagat failed at but Narayan always seems to succeed at is going into the depth of the multitude of primary characters that were depicted in the novel. I reckon that if Bhagat had written this in the third person instead of the first person perspective, though that would’ve been unlikely owing to the semi-biographical nature of the storyline, then 2 States would’ve been a must-read.

In the initial half of the novel, we see a more than needed percentage of Krish’s outlook on South Indian customs and traditions. But when it comes to the love of his life, Ananya, we only get to read about a handful of her opinions on the North Indians—specifically through the heroine’s interactions with her potential mother-in-law. Of course, both our main characters had many conversations with members of their own family and the other’s relatives, but there was a chance for advanced character development which was never taken upon by the wordsmith.

Narayan has always been an expert in societal storytelling. One example is his novel which I have always deemed as his magnum opus, Mr. Sampath: The Printer of Malgudi. There were about four to five major individuals, and a ton of secondary figures, but they were handled so well that I was surprised that Mr. Sampath wasn’t originally penned as a play. Bhagat failed to utilize the literary entourage he had outlined. And the primary reason for this, in my opinion, was his choice of writing the book in the first-person point of view. Again, that perspective almost always suits any written work that is intended to be semi-biographical.

Nonetheless, Bhagat has impressed me in the vein of Narayan by showcasing that the pen will always be mightier than the sword when you have to win over people’s mindsets. Just like Krish and Ananya tried their utmost to convince their respective families to honor their dreams of a peaceful wedding, Bhagat has shown me through his hard work how complicated Indian marriages really are.

He never showcased that love marriages are more difficult than arranged marriages or vice versa. He remained diplomatic in his prose whereas any other author might’ve given a hint to which state of India he favors more. The paperback version that I’ve read is close to 300 pages but I felt that it was only novella-length long owing to how well-paced it was.

In conclusion, Chetan Bhagat is a master of satire, and he joins R.K. Narayan and Mohammed Hanif in my list of favorite non-native authors in the English language. Not only is this Bhagat’s fourth novel but the quality of the book’s penmanship also complements that fact. Inequality seems to exist, more or less, in every part of the world; but it’s through literary works such as these that show us that love truly does conquer all in the end.

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2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat | Book Review

2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat | Book Review

Book review of 2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat

When a boy meets a girl, both fall in love. What follows is not the usual “happily ever after.” It is kinda tricky this business. Why? Caste barriers exist between a simple Punjabi boy and a Tam-Brahm girl. Wait, is it only that or more? Get on this roller coaster of a love story, exploring love, resilience, fun, and most importantly, a slice of India, all at once. A review perusing the finer undersides of Krish and Ananya’s brilliant tale of love and the path towards marriage.

2 States: The Story of My Marriage

Neelam Sharma Author: Chetan Bhagat

So, let me start today by telling you a story. Huh. A romantic tale, my lovelies. Doston, kuch romance ka mood hai. Because I had barely discussed a nice, romantic lighthearted book with you guys recently, I thought – chalo, let’s sprinkle some love in everyone’s lives today.

A girl from South India and a boy from North India met, and it wasn’t all hunky dory, easy-peasy, and rosy-posy on the way to happily ever after. Hmm, that is not how it is in this brilliant love story, a fun amalgam of the North and the South, where the story revolves around Krish and Ananya, whose love affair converted to marriage, which is no less than a battle won.

Having come way before we even met “Chennai Express,” the story opens with Punjabi boy Krish meeting Tamil Brahmin girl Ananya Swaminathan in the IIM mess. What follows is the usual fireworks, and with one thing leading to another, these two eventually fall in love. However, things do not appear to be going as smoothly for the two, who have decided to marry for life. Why? Simple. Well, in “the Chennai trysts, LOL. It then moves to Delhi, where it is now Ananya’s turn to try and convince the infamous would-be Punjabi mother-in-law, aka Krish’s mom, aka Kavita. Well, both of these are my favourite parts to read in the book since I feel like I am diving into a slice of life and dousing through the traditions of these places. I could almost smell Ananya’s mother’s strange snacks cooking through, her father’s constant scowl, and the Swaminathan household’s usual melancholy atmosphere. not to forget Ananya’s brother Manju and his gawky geekiness. I could completely fathom Krish’s quandaries, his struggles, and his challenges in trying to please Ananya’s parents. To avoid sounding stereotypical, it is always difficult to persuade a “highly educated,” “well-placed” girl’s parents to agree to an intercaste marriage, especially one as drastically and diametrically opposed as South to North.

Related: Exploring Love in Infinity and Beyond-An Imperishable Promise by Sarathi Sabyasachi Sahoo: a Book Review

Then there were the “Delhi files,” aka Ananya’s pursuits towards understanding the Punjabi, her “much dreaded” mother-in-law and her idiosyncrasies. What fun! I mean, the tete-a-tete between Kavita and Ananya, the chemistry Ananya shares with his side of cousins during Minti’s wedding, and the way she manages to impress them all was like zip zap zoom! The way she won over the crowd by resolving the bottlenecks in Minti’s wedding and overcoming all issues was incredible. Having finally overcome and won over his side of relatives, I personally felt victorious in this scenario.

Reading through the highs and lows of these two, sailing in the same boats as them, understanding their struggles, and finally reaching that high point when both families agreed. Whoosh, what a feeling it was! 

When it comes to writing style, I’ve always said and felt that Chetan and his writings connect very well with Indian audiences because of his ability to connect with them at the grassroots level. Chetan has always identified the emotional needs of any reader and tried to keep his story and his plot in such a way that they are simple, relatable, and, most importantly, believably appealing to the end readers. That is what makes most of his writing such a huge commercial success, especially in Indian markets. Be it the plot, the characterizations, or the style, Chetan manages to carve it all in your mind’s eye so that eventually, at least for me, I could well imagine this one even before the movie adaptation of it was released. I mean, I was already living “Locha-e-Ulfat” in my dreams before Arjun Kapoor jiggled along to its tunes, and yes, Ananya was Alia!

FAQs for the book 2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat

Q: who is the author of the book ‘2 states’.

A: The author of the book ‘2 States’ is Chetan Bhagat.

Q: What is the genre of the book ‘2 States’?

A: The genre of the book ‘2 States’ is a romantic comedy novel.

Q: What is this book about?

A: The book ‘2 States’ is about a couple, Krish and Ananya, who fall in love while studying at IIM Ahmedabad. They belong to different cultural backgrounds, and their parents are not happy with their relationship. The book describes their struggle to convince their families to accept their relationship and their efforts to overcome cultural differences.

Q: When was this book published?

A: The book ‘2 States’ was published on October 8, 2009.

Q: Is the book ‘2 States’ based on a true story?

A: The book ‘2 States’ is inspired by the real-life story of the author Chetan Bhagat and his wife Anusha.

Q: How many pages does the book ‘2 States’ have?

A: The book ‘2 States’ has 269 pages.

Q: Has this book been adapted into a movie?

A: Yes, the book ‘2 States’ has been adapted into a Bollywood movie with the same name. It was released on April 18, 2014.

Q: What is the target audience for this book?

A: The target audience for the book ‘2 States’ is mainly young adults and people who enjoy romantic comedies.

Q: Is the book ‘2 States’ available in multiple languages?

A: Yes, the book ‘2 States’ has been translated into multiple languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, and Telugu.

Q: Is this book worth reading?

A: The book ‘2 States’ is a well-written and entertaining novel that offers an insightful look into the complexities of Indian society and culture. If you enjoy romantic comedies or want to learn more about Indian culture, then it is definitely worth reading.

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Two States by Chetan Bhagat – A review

Three books and one movie strong, Chetan Bhagat has indeed become a name to reckon with. More than a youth icon, he’s become a celebrity himself. Fact is, it actually took him three years to graduate to being a full-time writer. And with each book, he’s improved a lot. A hell lot, I’d say.

‘Two States’ catapults the 35 year old author to the top rung of all Indian authors in English.

Two States

I was actually smiling for at least two of the three and a half -odd hours spent on Two States. 😀 Yes, the first thing that strikes you is the endearing quality of the prose. I’d clearly vote for ‘Two states’ as the most endearing work by this youth icon writer. Chetan has actually tried out an entirely different layout for the book, quite different from the usual crop. So, we have book that’s written like  the script for a drama or even a teleplay, for that matter. Yes, the chapters are divided into Acts I, II, III, IV and V! The language is simpler, the descriptions are more vivid and the plot is better-laid-out. Bhagat has carefully edited out the sex though! 😛 Yet, the chemistry between the protagonists is much more evident. The pacing of the book is again perfect – not one boring moment in the book! Once you start reading, you’d only put the book down when you’re done with it.

However, the most spectacular feature of the book is the autobiographical element .

It all starts with the subtitle of the book – “the story of my marriage”. Bhagat himself has admitted that the story is inspired from his own life. Yes, he’s a Punjabi and his wife Anusha  is from Tamil Nadu, and they did study together at IIM Ahmedabad. Krish and Ananya have twin kids (yeah, I spoiled your climax! :P) just like Mr. Bhagat and his wife do. Plus, the book seems to be a straight part 2 of ‘Five Point Someone’. ‘Hari’ has apparently become ‘Krish’. There are mentions of ‘lost semesters’, ‘affairs with the prof’s daughter’, ‘traveling in car with the professor’, and there’s even a detailed chapter regarding how the old affair didn’t materialize. And to top it all, we have Krish’s repeated affirmations about his ambition to be ‘a full time author’. Krish actually goes about saying that he’d resign his well-paying Citibank job some years down the line! 😛 The parallels with real-life scores a high score in the endearing-meter. 🙂

Not everything about the book  is rosy, though.

Even though Bhagat has been maturing progressively as an author, the looks of his cover-pages are on a clear downward spiral. Five point someone had a snazzily-designed, awesome cover page. But, the cover page of Two states sucks ass! Even going by the adage about not judging a book by its cover, the first-appearance does give a stunning visual impact about the contents. The jarring-red outer-cover with a classless silhoutte-graphic might’ve scared at least a few thousands of potential readers, I’d daresay!  Besides, on the whole, the book’s story is straight out of a bollywood movie – perhaps, this has something to do with Bhagat’s newfound tryst with the industry. Like ‘Three Mistakes’, ‘Two states’ has its ultra-corny moments. The way Ananya and Krish impress the others’ parents – that’s way too good to be true. Agreed, ‘Two states’ is fiction, but for a book that has autobiographical content, Bhagat could’ve been more realistic. Talking about Bhagat’s ‘common-man-style’ – many critics continue to denigrate it.  In a way, the style is a double-edged sword for Bhagat. It has endeared the author to the masses, but has given him only brickbats from ‘high-brow’ critics. Maybe, Chetan would silence them in his next work.

Minus non-realism, minus the cover, Two States shares space with ‘Five Point Someone’ in terms of awesomeness! 🙂 I’m strongly recommending the book. It’d be a proud addition to your library, and for 95 rupees, it’s very much affordable and worth every pie. I loved it for the chemistry between the protagonists, the endearing moments, the tongue-in-cheek humor, the simple-yet-poignant ‘Bhagat-logic’, and of course, the central theme – LOVE!

Guess what, I badly wanted to get  married after reading the book! 🙂

My Rating: 9.2/10



Have you noticed something? All of Chetan Bhagat’s books have got to do something with numbers! I’m assuming it has got to do something with the author’s IIT education.

Five Point someone

One Night @ The Call Centre

Three Mistakes of my Life

The next book will have something to do with ‘Four’ . 😛

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A twenty-something support engineer, web developer, blogger and journalist who makes the web a better place for a living, at Automattic. Immensely passionate about WordPress! Also loves books, music, movies, and drinking hot cups of coffee on rainy evenings. Dreams of writing a book, someday.


'Two States’ catapults the 35 year old author to the top rung of all Indian authors in English.

I must say that such a claim is outlandish and Chetan Bhagat deserves no such honour. There are far FAR FAAAAR better writers than him around. If Salman Rushdie had a pet dog and that dog could write, I'm sure that animal would come up with something better than 'Two States'. Some good points about the book:

1) It costs Rs 95/- (Thanks to Rupa)

2)um….nothing else really. It's too filmy type. It might make a wathcable movie.

Lol @ Rushdie and his pet dog! 😛

I take your point, but see… the reason why I listed him as a top author is just because he appeals to the lowest common denominator. 🙂 And of course, sales volumes would agree. 🙂

I thought the book was written more like a screenplay and it had all the stupid elements of a soap opera. It is extremely stupid to please the girls' or guys' families in reality and the way its written in the book is like it is taken out of some K series TV soap.

The rona dhona of the serials is there, but in addition the way two IIM grads are shown to be life savers in too many occasions in the book is too hard to believe. Maybe Mr Bhagat gets his money from the movies now; but then he shouldn't forget that he has just written his 4th book and people go to watch his screenplay's in the multiplex's just coz the books were good. Already they had a shock with Hello. If 3 Idiots also goes the same way(which I hope not); then that will be the END of the Most successful English author from India!!

Totally. I concur. There are Masala element and there's C-L-I-C-H-E written down in virtually every line and paragraph.

And yeah, lets hope the next movie doesn't go the Hello way.

You know I am critical of Bhagat's writing. 5 point someone was novel , the other two were a step down each. So I am predisposed to diss the new book and hence the comment in orkut.

The thumbs-up from you is surprising and hence am very eager to get my hands on it. The 2 negative comments above have only made me so curious as to what caused such a difference in opinions.

I will be back to comment here once I do get to read it.

Dont hold Hello against Chetan Bhagat, I don't expect even an advertisement to break even if it features Sohail Khan. 😀

Raouf, since you already have a negative predisposition about the author, I don't think you'd like this one. You're the high brow guy, and I'm sure you'd return with a scathing comment on this one too.

Btw, I've got the book with me. Feel free to ask if you don't get a copy. 😛

And Sohail Khan. God, it's high time he left to Himalayas in search of nirvana. 😐

ive not read this book yet.but hari's review is so good that the next thing im gonna do is to pick this book from a near by store n read.i think harishankar is a chetan bhagat in the making..

Lol, thanks chechi. 🙂 But I don't wanna be a Chetan Bhagat (although I wouldn't mind studying at IIM-A! 😛 ) I would ideally love to be a Jeffrey Archer. 🙂

Chetan Bhagat caters exclusively to the railway station bookstore population. Good stuff for a journey, with no embellishments or flourishes. Good for one, and one read only. Just timepass. But he does it well, even Ranjeet will admit that. But nothing more.

Guru's taken the words right out of my mouth.Timepass level book and void of flowery language and embellishments.But The Inconvenient Truth (as far as I'm concerned) is that when you look at the sales volumes- that indicates the measure of his success. The bottomline(butt crack?) is :- he knows how to cater to popular demands and can sell books. As far as publishing houses are concerned, that's good enough to promote his work.

And I guess it's something you OUGHT to read( whether you like it or not is not the question here).

Nice summing up. 🙂

I would like to contest the 'one-read' part. As I write this comment, I've finished reading the book twice. 😛 And yeah, it's timepass.

Not everyone's a Bhagat fan. 🙂

got a glimpse of this now ……….i have read all cb books at least 10 times each and this one too didnt disappoint me . It talks about social evils , conservative stupidities and the concept of a rich getting richer india which is dished tuned to the reading taste of an average joe . The fact that even my cousin who just got to class 8 enjoyed it as much as i and even my mother did makes this book SIMPLE enough to be succesful. The humour was good too .

hey guys……what u expect in 95 rupees yar………….just take some pocorn sit in ur balcony………..n enjoy three hrs journey from ahemadabad –> delhi –> chennai……..thats it !!!!……… it filmy………take it in that way…….

Hey that observation in the end was nice. Anyway I have heard that book is about Chetan Bhagat's own life, is it true?? is he married to a Tamil girl?

First- The book name should have been "Two families" and not "Two States"… With just his wife's family he cant judge the entire state…

Second- Though some of his views about girls may be correct not all are true…

Private things could be avoided… Girls today are not vulnerable as he thinks…

I wish atleast in his next book the story goes without "I"… Means he describing the story…

Yes Ajay… U r absolutely right… The South Indian criticisms must have been avoided…

This was my first read to chetan bhagat & let me tell u ,i actually enjoyed it a lot.In today's fast and tensed life all u need is a light stuff that makes u feel easy and this book does it well enough. I was in a new city , new job and new atmosphere when i read it and frankly speaking i completely lost in my memories while reading it.One negative thing in this book is that KRISH does a lot to convince ANANYA'S family but when it is her turn to , she just hands down.Just after one meeting with his mother ,she immedieately denied from any possibility to be able to serve his mother.So the moral of thebook is –boys do anything for their lovers but what abt the female side. i wish if HARI replies it. ONLY FOR HARI- HEY BUDY PLEASEMAIL ME PERSONALLY AS I WANA TALK TO U ABT SOMETHING SERIOUS. YOU HAVE MY MAIL ID SO PLZ………….

I would correct you :-). I would say that Chetan 'also' appeals to the lowest denominator. Most of our 'celebrated' desi English language authors express themselves so self-consciously and are so over-nuanced… it hurts!! They can only appeal to the equally stilted high-brow minority. And some prize-giving institutions. Chetan's deliberately simple style mixed with observation, insight, delightful humour and an endearingly sensible perspective on things is path-breaking for an Indian author, no matter how contrived some of the plot solutions. He is going to make a lot of Indian young people think and observe!

way to ruin the suspense. i was just reading the i know what happens..nevertheless, good review 🙂

Chetan bhagat’s books usually tend to follow a set formula. Somehow I feel his books are ‘aspirational’ in nature.

This has also resulted in a lot of chetan bhagat clones. Take a look at this interesting and hilarious article to see what I am talking about – …

*i posted this comment on another page by mistake. my bad. *

The book is awesome, even better than Five Point Someone. The only thing that disappoints me is that this guy Krish(or Hari) just starts falling for any girl who is pretty. Love doesn't happen like that. Is not there a difference between love and lust? Other than that, everything is fine- a simple plot with an entertaining style of representation. Plus it is affordable.

awesome.. i love it ..

Its really agreat book.The story looks very live. And their love making and the chemistry is the great thing of this book. generally it happens that parents dont let their childrent to marry with the girl or boy of some other cast, religion or the state. They are very much orthodox. And this book shows that what is the real love.Peole can do anything to get their love.

And i hope that Chetan will continue on writing on such books…….


It is a nice book. Chetan knows hot to convert the dramatic situation to appear as if it is going exclusive in front of one's eye by using his expert experience in the field of english. Five point someone was also an overwhelming novel.

I have to say I disagree with your review. I just got around to writing a very detailed reason for that: …

If I hadn't known that Bhagat was trying, through this book, to revolutionise Inter-State marriages, I would have liked the book.

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Mrs. Writes-a-Latte

Caffeinated wisdom, with a snide of sarcasm., book review | 2 states by chetan bhagat.

It has been just eight days into the year and I have finished reading one book. Already! Ahhh… feels like a good start. With the surprisingly pathetic record of last year, 2010 already seems a step ahead in every way.

So about the book I read – ‘2 States’ written by Chetan Bhagat. It’s a story about two people who meet at the finest B-school in India, IIM Ahmedabad and the strenuous effort it takes them to finally get married, the glitch being the cultural differences among the states of India to which these two belong. Contrary to majority of the reviews that I got from people who read it, I seemed to enjoy the book.

I picked it up as the first read of the year plainly because the story line is quite similar to my parents’, actually, exactly similar (though their wedding did NOT happen the way Krish Malhotra and Ananya Swaminathan got married!) My father hails from Punjab whereas my mother is a Tamilian Brahmin (Tam Brahm.) So I was curious to see how the cultural differences (that I have witnessed first hand for the last 22 years) were described in the book.

For the most part, he has got it right except where he described conversations in Tamil that he could not understand. Every Tamil statement that was spoken in front of him and he could not understand was written in the book as “something something,” with a few English words thrown in and somehow the statements had the word “illa.”

Two things…

Firstly, “illa” is NOT a Tamil word, it’s Malayalam. In Tamil, we say “illai” for “no.” I understand he did not write the story exactly as his marriage worked out, but the least he could have done was check the authenticity of the words of a language that’s obviously foreign to him. And didn’t his Tamilian wife proofread the script at all?

Secondly, the translation of the Tamil sentences offended me a little. Instead of “something something illa something education,” (a prototype of the kind of sentence I’m talking about) it could have been done this way: ‘They said words of which, education was the only word I understood.’

Apart from this, the story was good, the humour was awesome. I laughed my butt off at certain statements directed towards Punjabis and Tam Brams knowing how true they were. The one statement I remember right now is, ‘Educational degrees to a South Indian are what marble flooring is to a Punjabi.’ The love story, the chemistry, and the conversations between the couple were so natural that I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it. It took me a day and a half to finish 270 pages even with lectures, phone call s , internet and stuff which is not that bad a record. I would recommend the book if you want to have a good time.

So I loved the first read of the year. Once I post this blog, I’m going to start with the next one pronto. This week I bought a few books (‘Sea of Poppies’ – Amitav Ghosh; the first three books of the Twilight series – wanted to know what the hype was all about; 2 States – Chetan Bhagat; and (ahem) Confessions of a Lapdancer :P) So obviously, my next read is Confessions of a Lapdancer.

Oh and by the way, I’m planning on reading a book a week throughout the year which makes it around 52 books in 2010. Even if I manage to go thorough 26, it won’t be such a bad deal 😉

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book review 2 states

2 States the story of my marriage by Chetan Bhagat – Book Review

Two States the story of my marriage Chetan Bhagat novel book review

After the first publication by Bhagat, this was the novel that prepared the base for his instant launch in the world of Indian English fiction. Two States is primarily a love story with some extra ingredients that have been attracting readers of young age until now. However, it is not a simple love story that you read every day. Chetan Bhagat’s Two States, the story of my marriage attempts to portray a modern love story set against the backdrop of cultural differences in India. Two people from two distant states of the country with subtle and visible differences in their lifestyle and everything else somehow come together to form a very distinct relationship that leads to an incredible marriage. The novel became very popular among young readers instantly after the launch (aided by a vehement marketing drive by the author). However, despite its popularity, the novel falls short in terms of writing style and overall literary merit. In this review, I will put everything about the book and its content. Let’s begin the review!

The story of the novel in a nutshell:

The story, if you observe carefully, is linear and simple. The novel discusses the story of Krish, a spirited Punjabi lad, and Ananya, a vibrant Tamilian girl, who embark on a tumultuous journey of love amidst the clash of their diverse cultural backgrounds. Though this clash is largely because of their families, their upbringing and social backgrounds also come into play. As they navigate the hurdles of societal expectations and familial resistance, their bond grows stronger, fuelled by their unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between their communities. The story is tilted towards a rather humorous description of events that will amuse many readers. And thus, through vivid anecdotes, humorous encounters, and heartfelt emotions, Bhagat explores the complexities of intercultural relationships. The story has its communication in the simplicity that it offers. However, this simplicity, most of the time, betrays readers who want something extra rather than plain storytelling when they read a novel.

Critical Insights:

Except for the fact that the novel is a simple read, a mono-layered, straightforward tale of a love marriage that does not fail despite so many hurdles, there is nothing more that adds to its value. Albeit, there are many things in the novel by Bhagat that call for critical scrutiny eliciting the downsides or the negatives that expose the author’s literary prowess. Let me discuss these things in detail. Well, if you are wondering why is the author so popular despite his works having too little value in terms of literary merits, you may be interested in reading this helpful analysis – Why is Chetan Bhagat Popular? (Link opens in a new tab.)

Let’s begin directing this novel with the obvious concern – the writing style itself. Ask anyone who is into reading English fiction at large, they will tell you what makes Two States too shallow. If you believe something as Bhagat’s prose exists, it certainly lacks depth and finesse, often resorting to clichés and simplistic language that fail to engage the reader. And we can discuss the dialogues between characters, for instance, that lack authenticity and sophistication, undermining the emotional depth and complexity that the novel aims to convey. The dialogue often feels contrived and lacks the natural flow of genuine conversations. Otherwise, the novel’s premise is too good to be put at the altar of Chetan Bhagat’s poorly managed narrative in the novel.

Coming to the second point, I will like to discuss the character development in Two States. Let me admit, at the outset, it is underwhelming. The protagonists, Krish and Ananya, come across as one-dimensional and lacking in complexity. The most disappointing part of the character development aspect in the novel is that the motivations and inner struggles of the protagonists are presented in a shallow manner, leaving the reader disconnected from their emotional journey. Bhagat’s attempt to depict the complexities of intercultural relationships falls short due to the superficial portrayal of the characters and their development. It seems, like the author himself, the characters in the novel are in an absurd hurry to reach the last page of the novel. Hurray! Story narrated!

And of course, like any regular Hindi movie made by the Bollywood dynasty, the novel too has a predictable plot and progress. Anyone who reads literary works can easily understand in which direction the storyline is headed. It follows a linear narrative that offers little surprise or originality. The conflicts and resolutions are often conveniently resolved without delving into the deeper complexities of the issues at hand. This lack of depth robs the story of its potential to be thought-provoking or challenging, reducing it to a mere surface-level exploration of cultural differences. And, let me tell you a secret, you can know such things better by reading some real-life stories of people who have crossed the lengths of their states to get married to people from other states in India. You will find these stories in plenty on the internet and some might even be more complex and interesting than the one presented in Two States.

Though it might seem outright futility, if we compare Bhagat with other novelists of the time, we can easily find out that Bhagat’s writing style lacks more than it has. Authors like Jeet Thayil, Kiran Desai, or Jhumpa Lahiri skillfully tackle complex themes, employ nuanced language, and create multidimensional characters that resonate with readers on a profound level. Even Shobha De, at times, promises more than Bhagat despite her limited sources in terms of themes and subject matter at hand. In contrast, Bhagat’s novels lack the depth, nuance, and literary craftsmanship that elevate a book to the status of a significant literary work.

So, to conclude this review of Two States by Chetan Bhagat, let us understand that it fails to deliver a compelling narrative due to its shortcomings in writing style, character development, and plot structure. Though the novel may have enjoyed popularity because of its easy-reading storyline and no-nonsense development of the plot, it sticks to being a one-time hear-say story rather than a full-fledged novel or merit. Chetan Bhagat’s simplistic language, superficial characterisations, and formulaic storytelling prevent the novel from achieving a deeper exploration of its central themes. And therefore, let me admit and conjecture, readers who are seeking more nuanced and sophisticated narratives about intercultural relationships would be better served by exploring the works of other talented Indian authors. And that explains why while Bhagat may have found his place among casual readers of English fiction in India, he could not secure a place for himself in the contemporary discourses on Indian English literature .

Review by Adarsh for Indian Book Critics

Two States the story of my marriage by Chetan Bhagat – Book Review

  • Critical Rating

One time read to understand, with an exaggeration, how Bhagat got married to his wife. If you are looking to have some literary pleasure, you won’t find it here. Just a story. Dry story. This happened. That happened. And that happened thereafter. That’s it.

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5 comments . leave new.

book review 2 states

Achha likha hai bhai! I also read Chetan Bhagat a few times. He just repeats the same kind of S@#t every time! Nothing new. This was some different bt the same in many ways.

book review 2 states

Aptly written and very objective book review of 2 States by Chetan Bhagat… I agree with many points raised here.

book review 2 states

Totally agreeable review… I am sometimes shocked to read some ‘critics’ appreciating the novel and finding ‘positives’ only…

book review 2 states

Wow! It reads more like an intellectually written literary roast… should not offend the author and yet able to transfer meaningful thoughts to readers… amazing guys! I liked the review of Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States novel.

book review 2 states

that’s what I call an amazing book review! chetan bhagat has certainly not contributed to the foundation of Indian English literature in the modern era. however, I do believe the guy has democratised the process of literature in India. 2 states the story of my marriage has resonated well with casual fiction readers.

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book review 2 states

The Story of My Marriage

Chetan Bhagat | 3.82 | 82,364 ratings and reviews

book review 2 states

Ranked #5 in Indian Author , Ranked #86 in Indian

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of 2 States from the world's leading experts.

Patrick French Chetan Bhagat is one of the most commercially successful novelists in India at the moment. I find him a very entertaining and revealing writer. It’s a boy-meets-girl story, about Krish and Ananya. (Source)

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2 States by Chetan Bhagat - the story of a jerk

Book Review: 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

This is the first book I’ve read by an Indian author. I wanted one which was set in India, but didn’t have India or “Indianness” as the theme of the book as such. I tried reading Midnight Chidren by Salman Rushdie and abandoned it because I found it too boring. Everyone assured me that “2 States” wasn’t about India as such, but about two people. They were right…and a bit wrong as well. The story is about how two people from different states fall in love and can’t get married because the parents will object to it.

I was shocked by how big a jerk the main protagonist was. It’s written in the first person, but I can’t feel any sympathy whatsoever for the lead character. He’s thoughtless, puts up with all kinds of rudeness from his overbearing and nauseatingly bigoted mother and doesn’t utter a peep when she openly insults the girl he loves. In one situation his mother complains about how she’s too independent, and thinking themselves alone he assures her that she’ll be brought under control once married. The girl overhears this and predictably leaves him in a fit of rage. He goes to pieces and we’re supposed to feel sorry for him.

Sorry dude, but if you act like an asshole you deserve to be treated like one.

After they both have sex for the first time, the girl begins to ask him about their future. Granted it’s a bit naive for her to simply assume that there’s going to be a future and I can’t blame the guy for not really thinking about it. But even after he becomes aware of how important the question is for her, he pretends not to understand what she’s talking about and keeps putting her off. Total jerk material.

Usually in books written in the first person, the author makes the reader sympathetic to his cause. Reasons are given for even shameful conduct and while the reader may not approve of his or her actions, they can at least understand the motivations. But Chetan Bhagat gives nothing – no explanations for why he acts like a prick. He completely alienated me and made me feel he deserved his misfortune.

His final plot resolution came out of nowhere. A complete deus ex machina . In real life he would be reaping the consequences of his actions to this date. Only in the middle of the book do I begin to like him when he’s trying to win over the girl’s parents. But then he falls back into prickiness again.

The girl is only slightly better. She’s unable to see how insulting her own parents are and refuses to say a word against them. She doesn’t want to marry anyone else, but still allows her parents to fix up meetings with other men. It’s not only unjust to the guy she’s in love with, it’s also unfair to the men who come to see her.

The book is full of stereotypes. No attempt is made at character development and our author happily judges people based on their hair do, their accent and the food they eat. Granted lots of people judge in this way, but I read an author for his superior insight into the world not for his superficial judgement of appearances.

My wife tells me that all people are like this. That almost everyone in India is entirely beholden to their parents. I can’t and won’t believe this. It’s not possible for everyone to be such a big asshole as the main protagonist. Perhaps he exaggerated and actually did try and restrain his mother when she behaved in such a shocking manner towards the girl and his parents. I certainly hope so. If my wife is right and most people in India are like this I’m gonna get real depressed.

  • Agree   ( 24 )
  • You're an asshole   ( 19 )
  • Don't Agree but Interesting   ( 15 )

56 thoughts on “Book Review: 2 States by Chetan Bhagat”

i think bhagwad u did a wonderful job telling the truth. though not a chetan fan i read the book coz my frends askd me to nd cudn’t go more thn the first half coz it was too. . offensive nd boring. its like a story(wn’t call it a love story coz its insulting to all the romance authors out there) where everyone is just out to insult everyone else. the mothers made me wana scratch their eyes out, felt like hitting the crap out of the protagonist like a gazillion times. honestly i lOVE ur review. totally second everything

In reply to Alisha

Thanks Alisha :)

Bhagwad, I liked your review, it helped me look at the book and its characters in a new light. The main character does come off as a jerk but I have to say that I did find it a tad bit funny :) I just picked this book up yesterday to read and being from punjab can relate to a lot that he is going through with his mother. I have a very close friend who married a Tamilian and believe me I have almost seen this whole story unfold before my eyes which makes this even more interesting. It does potray a very real part of our society. It is sad that even though we all come from educated families, sometimes we are over powered by the stereotypes in the society.

According to me, Chetan Bhagat’s male and female protagonists were both rash and immature. The whole series of events that led them to get into a relationship and certain incidents during their courting proves this. The fact that this kind of relationship, which started off when two study-partners ended up in a physical relationship(that too within 2 weeks as mentioned in the book), ended up in marriage is itself surprising. Its nothing but a bad message to the youth of India.

Its hard to say whether the way they tackled their parents was right or wrong, since in India (esp. since this book is set in a society that existed about 15-20 years ago) sons and daughters need to keep their moths shut in front of their parents as much as possible.

Anyway, in my opinion, no matter how engrossing Chetan Bhagat’s books are, he always messes up at some point. In two states, this happens when Ananya convinces the future husband of one of Krish’s sisters to disobey his parents and call off the dowry. The whole situation as to how Ananya calls all the siblings together and convinces them and how even the grown-ups listen to her seems ridiculous.

Personally, I think Chetan Bhagat’s success as a writer was just meant to be temporary, especially after revolution 2020. Moreover, if indeed his stories are based on his true life, then I think he is an immature person himself too.

In reply to Jenni

Yeah – you can’t change a person’s entrenched mindset with words, no matter how impassioned or persuasive. Especially if you’re an outsider with no stake in the affair.

“…male and female protagonists were both rash and immature.” As are a lot of young Indian men and women in real life. The average middle class twenty something in India grows up in a prudish and protective bubble that makes them emotionally very naive, impulsive and immature – well into their adulthood. I have peers my age with an irrational fear of authority (including their teachers), a very contrite sense of what it means to be ‘liberal’, very easily impressed with emotional pleas AND an 11-year-olds’ maturity towards love, sex and relationships. They make a European high school kids look like Frederic Nietzsche.   The book might seem very juvenile if you are used to people who function on a much higher cognitive plane; but having dated Indian women AND having a varied insight in how a lot of Indians think, I can see the shallowness outlined in the book totally panning out in real-life India. Live in this country long enough and you’ll get used to it.

In reply to Akhim Lyngdoh

OMG! I AM SOOOO LOVING THIS FORUM! I am sooo glad to learn that there are people who have the same opinion as I do on Indian young people. This forum is so funny yet so very real specially Akhim’s comment “They make a European high school kids look like Frederic Nietzsche”.. haha! I COULDN’T AGREE WITH YOU MORE! Indian youth are brought about in such a prudish manner and their families play such a strong influence upon them that they cannot think for themselves at all and they are truly naive and immature. I am specially impressed with Akhim Lyngdoh review and agree with him. I used to read John Grisham and Jeffery Archer when I was 17 years old and when I read Chetan Bhagat’s one night @ a call centre , I was so embarrassed of this guy. In fact, even my Eng. Lit. Professors are embarrassed of him. I used to work in a BPO and his book are the furthest from the truth regarding the BPO work. I guess he needs to work in one to understand the issues of stress and everything. But I guess that is too “low status for him”.. haha! ;)

i like and lov ur reveiw…. but i dont think chetan bhagat is that much immature as tagged by u guys…

I actually liked this book, though. It felt very real.

In reply to B

the langue of book is very good. humor is there.

Chetans bhagaths books are so simple to read. this book remind my love story. each session in the story went soo different and romantic.

may be u dont know that how should be a conservative family. The plot of His family and their Punjabi behavior was awesome. dude, I think u are not well versed with Delhi typical Punjabis, but I like them.

The plot of how can he win the hearts of her family is also good. It is like a bollywood movie, but what do u think bollywood cant be real. Life is different for different people. And Life plays this to him.

I have not seen the movie, as far as i read the 2 states books. he was very much criticising madrasis. Few of the points mentioned in the book of 2 states were: 1. “Tamil men don’t believe in pants and wear lungis even in shopping districts.”- he mentions this to tell that tamil people have no dressing sense and as though he has never seen anyone in pants in chennai. 2. “The city is filled with film posters. The heroes’ pictures make you feel even your uncles can be movie stars. The heroes are fat, balding, have thick moustaches and the heroine next to them is a ravishing beauty. Maybe my mother had a point in saying that Tamil women have a thing for North Indian men. “ – you don’t need better statement than this, insulting tamil people, as though tamil girls are all falling for north Indian guys. If this statement is welcomed then he also criticizing tamil superstar rajini, kamal, sathyaraj, telugu stuper siranjeevi, venkatesh, Malayalam superstar mamooty, mohanlal. 3.” Tamilian, please be precise. In fact, Tamil Brahmin, which is way different from Tamilians.I am born into the purest of pure upper caste communities ever created.” …………… Why should these lines be mentioned ? why cant he love just a madrasi girl? these lines indicate that a punjabi guy loves only girl from the upper caste of south indian society. he wanted to mention no north indian will fall for ordinary madrasi girl. 4.” Their white teeth glistened in the night.”- he criticized the auto drivers colour which is absolutely colour racism that he has. He has also mentioned the bad word told by auto drivers as though common people of north india never knows to speak any bad words. And all of sudden sardarji came and saved this guy from auto men..chetan bhagat must have been watching shaktiman in his childhood which has influenced to him write so…. 5. “I had to supervise eight bank representatives. The bank representatives were younger, typically graduates or MBAs from non-blue-blooded institutions.” – Here mentions that mba or graduate schools in chennai were not noble and putting down that he has come to manage these poor mba guys in Chennai. Infact he insults DGV, Pachayappa, Loyola, SRM and other educational institution. 6.He describes a girl came to ask permission for toilet and she was from Coimbatore, He describes her like “ adjusting her oversized spectacles with cockroach-coloured borders. Fashion is not a Chennai hallmark”- He is just project that people from tamil nadu are like school children. These above points are just sample to mention how keeps insulting madrasis, the fact he criticizes his own community some what intellectually not like in this way. In my opinion chetan bhagat is racist and biased person.

sorry guys u r wrong… first of all u urself put u on the same situation than ask.. how u acted? the boy n girl who r wd each other more than 20 hours obviously fall in love and have sex too.. and girl must think about mrg. their parents wrd abt them …it is natural… but at last they united.. hows u guys expect maturity from young people who have no exp. of life…

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book review 2 states

2 States – Kahaani Poori Filmi Hai

book review 2 states

‘When I started reading it – even though our life had its quota of dramatic situations and characters, especially with me the drama queen being a part of it -the book seemed so far from reality.’

Book Review Title:  2 States Author: Chetan Bhagat Pages: 268

2 States by Chetan Bhagat

2 States by Chetan

There is Fiction, then there is Drama and then there is Bollywood…well 2 States is definitely not the former 2…being Bollywood end to end. At time you think it is a script written for a movie and by chance printed as a book.

Long back when I read Chetan’s 5 point Someone , I liked it, as in it was a fresh perspective touching the educated youth of today; it wasn’t a movie stuff but definitely a piece of my life or those around me. Then came One Night at the Call Centre .  It was ok, not so real especially the God part.

But then came 3 Mistakes of My Life and it was a complete disappointment with shallow characters having no purpose in life except cricket; I understand the craze of cricket but I still don’t treat it as a life and death matter, and that is what Chetan was trying to capitalize on. I think the film Kai Poche (based on ‘3 mistakes of my life’) has done a better job.

Now the 4th Book, 2 States , is actually so typical, there have been 100s of movies made already. The situations and characters are most predictable and shallow. Well I was very excited to read it because my marriage has the same elements, if not the story. I am a Punjabi girl married to a Tamil Brahmin Boy.

We also faced oppositions, threats, long distances, break ups, emotional blackmails and cultural gaps etc. So when my husband read it he vouched that I should read it and I would find similarity between them and us.

But when I started reading it, even though our life had its quota of dramatic situations and characters especially with me the drama queen being a part of it, the book seemed so far from reality. The characters are so unlike what they stand for:

1. The boy Krish broke up with his first girlfriend for no reason, except the deal he had with the girl’s professor father. Now how shallow is that, he broke up one relation for no reason and now he is all out to make his second relationship successful even though when it is more tedious than the first one. Probably the first one was just puppy love.

2. The girl Ananya seemed to be just a pretty face with loads of attitude and no substance. She had no clue why she was with the guy. Not for a single moment I felt that they both loved each other.

3. The Girl’s parents were strict and were totally against the marriage. But they allowed the Boy to come every day to their place to teach the younger brother because the guy was an IITian. Now which parents feel that the girl and the boy would separate and forget each other like this.

4. The guy wanted to be a writer from Day 1 but what he does is a silly corporate job, and also obtains IIT and IIM degrees and a great job in a big bank by speaking the well-practiced management statements in the Job interviews.

He is just idling in his jobs and easily manages to blackmail his boss, easy transfers and placements in jobs, with quality time and events to manage the whole drama to impress the girl’s parents. This theme has emerged for the first time in Chetan’s books, probably only after he has quit to do full time writing. But Citi does show as a lousy employer, with lousy people who either don’t work just like Krish or who don’t let others work just like Krish’s boss Bala.

5. Most of all the South and North cultural clashes, where Ananya seemed to be an exception as she was fair (unlike other South-Indian girls) and Krish seemed intelligent being an IIT – IIM pass out despite being a Punjabi. The cheap remarks on both the cultures are not something you want to judge it with. They seemed shallow and quiet lowly in presentation.

Anyway, overall a below average Book and a waste of Time. Don’t indulge in it, if you want to, then watch its movie adaptation.

Read the movie review of 2 States:  2 States Review: Melodramatic Love


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book review 2 states

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Other Books

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Love marriages around the world are simple:

Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.

They get married.

In India, there are a few more steps:

Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.

Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.

Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.

Girl and Boy still love each other. They get married.

Welcome to 2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya. They are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don’t agree. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a tough battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but it is much harder to convince. Will they make it?

From the author of blockbusters Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center and The 3 Mistakes of My Life, comes another witty tale about inter-community marriages in modern India.

› Read the Excerpt

book review 2 states

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Book Review: 2 States

book review 2 states

While scanning my bookshelf, a reddish colored ‘2 States’ by Chetan Bhagat caught my attention. I had previously read, ‘Five Point Someone’ and  ‘Half Girlfriend’ by Chetan Bhagat, a prominent sensation of Indian Literature. Chetan writes focusing on youth and their psychology. He is known as the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history. ‘Five Point Someone’ and  ‘Half Girlfriend’ impressed and heated me to go through his ‘ 2 States’.

Thanks to writers like Chetan Bhagat who exposes the reality of the Indian community through his books. A love story between a Punjabi boy and Tamilian Brahmin girl: Chetan Bhagat’s “2 states” is an entertaining read. In Asian countries like Nepal and India, a love affair converted into marriage is no less than winning a war because it becomes harder for lovers if they are from different communities or different states.

The story opens when Krish: a Punjabi boy finds Ananya: a Tamil-Brahmin-girl, complaining about food with the cooking staff of their institute IIMA where they are for pursuing an MBA degree. Krish succeeds in keeping Ananya calm after offering her a sweet dish of his part. They manage to have friends in a very short time, followed by a love affair, and what follows is their journey of convincing their parents.

The story moves between four cities­-Ahmedabad, Delhi, Goa, and Chennai. The book reflects the language, culture, and lifestyle of North Indian and South Indian. After graduation, Krish starts working on the Citi Bank of Chennai, where Ananya’s family lives. Their plan to convert love affair into marriage is not going to be that easy as they hail from different communities and different states. Krish’s plan to impress Ananya’s family by offering Ananya’s brother a hand in the preparation of the IIT class exam doesn’t go his way wholly.

Krish, after spending six months somehow manages to convince Ananya’s parents,  but for the marriage, it requires a big ‘YES’ from Krish’s mother, a strict North Indian woman.  Both Krish and Ananya face the struggle to convince their future in-laws. The disaster occurs when their parents meet at Goa and started arguing with each other about their culture but a story ended in a happy note. After all, it was their children’s happiness and marriage was performed in Tamilian culture.

The fact that the book somehow matches the marriage story of the author makes it more convincing, interesting, and popular among his followers.

Though there are numerous issues in Chetan’s books and his style of writing, his art of storytelling is extremely sarcastic, and readers never feel bore. Though people looking for intellectual stuff may not like it. But, all romance lovers and reality-seekers should surely go for it.

  • Chetan Bhagat
  • Published: 2009
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications
  • Language: English
  • Papers:269,Paperback

book review 2 states

Review by: Sugam Gautam (Reviewer can be contacted at [email protected] )

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2 States by Chetan Bhagat

2 States novel by Chetan Bhagat

After One Night @ the Call Center and The 3 Mistakes Of My Life , Chetan Bhagat has a new novel – 2 States. This latest book from Chetan Bhagat is about two individuals’ love saga from different geographical states in India! As the name suggests, it is not about 2 States in India, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi but the diverse state of mind of people hailing from the 2 States also!

Written with an easy-to-read prose style, the plot is about two individuals Ananya Swaminathan , a Tamil Brahmin from Chennai, and Krish from Delhi, who meets at IIM Ahmadabad. They start as friends and agree to keep their friendship to academics’ confines against the backdrop of practical thinking.

But their focused joint study sessions gradually meander from the world of academics into the irresistible domain of love and romance. And for two years, they go around happily, but as all good things must come to an end, so also does this hunky-dory love story. This is where the story actually begins.

What follows is a series of endeavors undertaken by both Krish and Ananya in bridging the gap of differences, mainly cultural between their families, to make their relationship gain acceptance. In the process, Chetan Bhagat brings out the subtleties that exist in the lifestyle and outlook towards people from different states. The effect is accentuated further when the reader views these idiosyncrasies from the eyes of another state’s character.

So, Krish finds life in a track of its own in Chennai where people tend to be conservative, love Carnatic music, and go to bed early apart from having a penchant for South Indian food. If this is one side to the coin, then the other side to the coin is also well showcased. And that is about Delhi, where people have an air of haughtiness and an unseen halo of wealth and ego which surfaces at every possible occasion without a miss.

A gaudy display is best seen at a get-together or marriage, and the book vividly brings it out! Apart from this, there is great emphasis on what one looks like, and perhaps “All that glitters is gold”! The gorge in the mindsets is well showcased through the characters in the book. The characters are well constructed though maybe not in detail, the plot’s incidents make up for it.

While Ananya has her conservative family to convince, Krish has a task even tougher than Ananya. He has an emotional mother and irate father with whom he shares a non-functional fractured relationship.

Whether the endeavors of the two love birds meet an all-happy ending is something I leave the reader to figure out. But what the reader would get in the course of reading 2 States are a series of some hilarious moments and instances that bring out the idiosyncrasies and dogma practiced by the 2 States.

Also, there would be instances that would draw the reader’s thoughts to the notion of being an Indian before a South Indian or a North Indian. In a world where borders are getting dissolved slowly with technology and development, such a thought carries a lot of weight.

And in a country like India which has many India’s in it, the magnitude of such a thought gets magnified! So, enjoy reading this latest novel from Chetan Bhagat and hope you love it and don’t forget to leave your thoughts about the 2 States novel.

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2 States | Chetan Bhagat | Book Review | The Story of My Marriage

2 States by Chetan Bhagat is, according to the author, the story of his marriage and is a contemporary romance set in India. So, read the book review, book summary, book quotes and similar book recommendations in the post below.

Two States by Chetan Bhagat Book Review on Njkinny's Blog

2 States by Chetan Bhagat Book Summary:

Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.Girl’s family has to love Boy’s family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.Girl and Boy still love each other. They get married.” Book Quotes from 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

  2 States by Chetan Bhagat is the story of Krish and Ananya who are from two different states of India, “stupidly in love” and want to get married not by eloping but with their parent’s consent. Everything looks easy except Ananya is from a conservative Tamil family and Krish is from a typical Punjabi family. There are fireworks from the first time that their families meet and it looks like Krish and Ananya’s love story is doomed from the start.

Can they convince their families that they are made for each other? Can a Punjabi and Tamil family forget their differences of culture, values and behavior to come together as  one family? As it’s said “it is easy to fight and rebel, but it is much harder to convince”, can they make their love story into a love marriage?

2 States by Chetan Bhagat Book Review:

Chetan Bhagat is one author you cannot ignore. I am not a big fan of his but I do respect that fact that he revolutionized the literary market and lured back the younger generation in India which had started to drift away from reading books. He gave people simple day to day events with uncomplicated everyday dialogues that anyone could understand. His books follow the Hindi-film style settings with every masala present to entertain you.

Things I liked:

According to me, 2 States is his best work so far and though we cannot term it a literary classic, it is a fitting leisure read that we enjoy while traveling or lazing on a couch. The dialogues are simple and though I sometimes felt them wanting in their construction and their clarity still they achieve their purpose. The musings of Krish are funny like

She’ll never date you, it is a rasgulla down the drain…” Book Quotes from 2 States by Chetan Bhagat
Buddy, pretty girl goes her way, rasgulla-less loser goes another.’ Book Quotes from 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

and also give an insight into the thought process of boys like

Why should any guy want to be only friends with a girl? It’s like agreeing to be near a chocolate cake and never eat it. It’s like sitting in a racing car but not driving it.” Book Quotes from 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

Then the characterisation is noteworthy. The characters are sketched in a comic light like

‘… Ankur and Aditya, both IITians who had already proposed to her without  considering the embarrassment of being rejected and then sitting next to the rejection for the whole year.’ or Kanyashree ‘who took notes like a diligent court transcripter’ , ‘wrote so hard I could feel the seismic vibrations from her pen’s nib.’ or Ananya who had  ‘perfect features, with her eye, nose, lips, and ears the right size and in right places. ‘


So, I thoroughly enjoyed the contrasts that Chetan Bhagat draws between his dysfunctional Punjabi family and Ananya’s strict Tamil family.

All in all a quick and light read. A one time read in my opinion. So, definitely not a book you will keep in your classics bookshelf and a misfit for the company of serious readers.

I give 2 States by Chetan Bhagat 4 out of 5 stars simply because it entertained me and that’s what a good book should do. So, Njkinny recommends this true romance to all romance lovers.

You will also love these Chetan Bhagat Books:

  • 400 Days by Chetan Bhagat Book Review
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  • One Arranged Murder by Chetan Bhagat Book Review
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  • You are the Best Wife by Ajay K Pandey Book Review
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  • Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

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Book review: 2 states by chetan bhagat.

book review 2 states

Very true and gentle review, this is one of those books that make even the avid readers to get good joy, though there are plenty of spice added to make jusice for he writing , this one is rare master class narration of the true incident, but off-course in a similar bollwood fashion.

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book review 2 states

5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week

“reading it is brutal because mccullers’s life was brutal to endure.”.

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Our supergroup of sumptuous reviews this week includes Parul Sehgal on Tommy Orange’s Wandering Stars , Dwight Garner on Mary V. Dearborn’s Carson McCullers: A Life , Haley Mlotek on Leslie Jamison’s Splinters , Alexander Chee on Ed Park’s Same Bed Different Dreams , and Merve Emre on Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You , and Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood .

Brought to you by Book Marks , Lit Hub’s home for book reviews.

Wandering Stars

“Second novels can be gawky creatures, sulky and strained as they try to slink out of the shadows of their predecessors. Will the second novel follow the formula, or repudiate it and chance something new? Critics seem to lie lazily in wait, ready to punish either choice. More of the same, a pity. A misjudged departure, alas .  Wandering Stars , calmly and cannily, has it both ways … it is a different tempo, a different ambition—almost a different writer—we encounter in Wandering Stars . Where There There shoots forward with a linear trajectory, the new novel maunders and meanders. Repetition is its organizing principle—the repetition of pain, addiction, injury. A linear story, it seems to argue, would be a lie. The narrative spirals around and envelops the previous book …

Orange is as good as Denis Johnson in describing addiction’s passage into joyless duty. But it’s not merely addiction that connects these men, these generations—so many are drawn to ritual (newly invented or otherwise), storytelling, music-making … With this expansive canvas to fill, Orange can seem perpetually out of time and out of breath. A few key characters are quick smudges, scarcely more than their signifiers—addict, nonbinary, grandmother—when, in his previous book, each character felt like a world. They sound alike, prone to parroting self-help homilies. Orange resorts to cliffhangers to stitch sections together…And he works his motifs into tatters—holes, spiders, flying, and, above all, stars…

The book appears to suffer from the same condition as its characters; it cannot see itself, cannot see that it need not hammer home every theme every time, that it speeds where it should saunter, tarries where we need to move. And yet it expands and expands—why not throw in a subplot about a suburban pill mill?—with such exuberance that even at its most sprawling and diffuse, I wondered: Is this novel flailing or dancing?”

–Parul Sehgal on Tommy Orange’s Wandering Stars ( The New Yorker )

Carson McCullers A Life

“Mary V. Dearborn’s new book, Carson McCullers: A Life , is the first major biography of this essential American writer in more than 20 years. It is competent and professional, as if built from solid pine and good plaster. It is dispassionate and well researched. Reading it is brutal because McCullers’s life was brutal to endure … Dearborn’s style is clean; we’re in a doctor’s office or a museum, and McCullers’s life is in a lighted display box …  Carson McCullers: A Life is a necessary book, though. It builds on Carr’s work and considers newly released material, including letters and journals and, most tantalizingly, transcripts of McCullers’s late-life psychiatric sessions with the female doctor who would become her lover and gatekeeper …

McCullers was an eccentric. She was needy and smothering and given to extravagant language and gestures. In the short run, these things can be enormously attractive. In the long run, they can make everyone hate you. By the end of this biography, when she has fallen apart from drinking and illness, a lot of contumely is dumped on McCullers by enemies and friends alike. Her Southern accent was adorable until people began to mock it behind her back …

The second half of this book is a litany of ills, including a radical mastectomy and blood clot in her lung, that are hard to even read about. The lists of pills fill entire paragraphs. She must have rattled when she walked … These drive-by shootings are vivid material, but none of us are reducible to what others say about us. It’s to Dearborn’s credit that she also suggests McCullers’s deep humanity, her subversive talents as a writer and lonely observer, and a strong sense of what McCullers herself called ‘her sad, happy life.’”

–Dwight Garner on Mary V. Dearborn’s Carson McCullers: A Life ( The New York Times )

“While Jamison’s writing is almost always personal… Splinters is her most inward book … Jamison is determinedly both the subject and the material—the stories she finds herself investigating here are her own. There are many love stories within this book: a story of love lost, of platonic love between friends, of Jamison’s love for her infant daughter. But the crux of the book is divorce—not only Jamison’s own, but the growing, irreparable rift between her experience and her writing about that experience …

Splinters is Jamison’s story—new to us—but the meaning is found precisely where it repeats something practically any adult person will recognize: a fear of what is happening within their own intimacies, a pain that emanates from their role played in breaks and endings, a fatigue of their own friendships … it’s that awareness of what writing and revision can do that protects Splinters from a callousness Jamison seems to fear. There is little cruelty in her finished work, though that’s not to say there is no pain; I winced hard at some of her recollections of how her marriage ended, and the fraught beginnings of her life as a co-parent rather than a spouse.

I could feel, in her telling, the wounds of that relationship lift off the remembered dialogue and into my own memories. I could also feel Jamison’s hurry to rediscover life in a new role—her commitment to work as a way of proving something to herself, her diligence to romance seemed of much the same stuff … Splinters  is that other love story, the one in love with our dedication to yet another kind of love, and another, and another.”

–Haley Mlotek on Leslie Jamison’s Splinters ( Bookforum )

“…if it is difficult to discover Korean history in America, it is as hard or harder to locate Korean American history. And so any Korean American writer writes across some enormous gulfs when describing Korean American experiences like transracial adoption, immigration, and assimilation, reverse migration, and which forms of political and social repression inside postwar Korea our families sought to escape, producing very different reasons to emigrate—and thus, very different treatments in literature.

Few Korean American fiction writers if any have described the struggle of the Korean Provisional Government, a Korean resistance effort against the Japanese occupation that set itself up in 1919, eventually becoming a government in exile in Shanghai and producing South Korea’s controversial first president, Syngman Rhee. And none that I can think of has threaded together all of this history into the world-building of their novel—the country before its division into the North and the South and after, the diaspora in the United States and also China—until now …

Park is not writing a historical novel, hoping to dramatize some episode or series of episodes in the past. He is building an alternate history of Korea and its relationship to the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, telling a story by mining and transforming the historical record. And it begins with a question that returns again and again, until it is almost like a chant in a protest: What is history?”

–Alexander Chee on Ed Park’s Same Bed Different Dreams ( The New Republic )

Birnam Wood Beautiful World

“Conversations about character and type abound in contemporary realist novels…Although most of these novels have been widely praised, they have also incited a peculiarly agitated response among many critics, who have reproached the creators of these conversations (especially Rooney) for their moral simplicity, their idle politics, their sexual naiveté, and their banal neuroses; for the slight touch of stupidity that attends their language of type, whether moral (good/bad), political (liberal/Marxist), economic (working-class/middle-class), psychological (normal/traumatized), or sexual (straight/queer); and above all for how they seem to abandon character to the social and political determinants of history, refusing to plunge into the ‘full murk of human motivation,’ as one critic writes.

The results, allegedly, are blanched, lifeless novels, characterized by minimalism of description, coolness of tone, humorlessness of style, and wobbliness of genre—not quite fact, not quite fiction … If we are in on Rooney’s joke, we realize that there is a world of difference between appealing to type didactically, to encourage morally or politically ‘good’ behavior, and appealing to it analytically…The game played by Rooney and novelists like her is a supremely intelligent critique of our discourse, not a symptom of its sanctimony. We can play it, too, by letting these novels teach us how to read them alongside the rich history of character in the realist novel.”

–Merve Emre on Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You , and Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood ( The New York Review of Books )

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Learning India

Making sense of the subcontinent

Neil Miller April 7, 2014 Filed Under: #IndiasNotIndia , Book Reviews

Book Review: Two States


If you interact at all with 20-30 year olds in India, you should minimally be aware of who Chetan Bhagat is. He is a famous author whose books about call centers and Indian education systems (and cheaply priced books) really found a huge market among millennials in India.

Some people find his writing style too elementary and complain that his approach to issues is too juvenile, but his appeal is massive, and his books are easy to read. Two States is one of his better books, in my opinion.

Two States is the story of a Punjabi boy from Delhi who falls in love with a Tamilian girl and decides to get married. The book is full of examples of #IndiasNotIndia . My favorite one is where the boy walks into the girl’s family home and says “The long rectangular room looked like what would be left if a Punjabi drawing room was robbed.” (Tamil homes are quite bare in decoration.)

Apart from giving endless examples of inter-regional differences, Two States also gives a picture of modern romance. It may not be typical of most modern-day relationships, but it is at least one to look at. Nearly all films and books about romance in India will deal with the love marriage vs. arranged marriage tension in families, and this book is no different, albeit not as dramatized as a typical film.

Regardless of your opinion of Chetan Bhagat’s quality of writing, Two States is worth the price (about Rs. 100 in India) to get a glimpse into mainstream literature and these two important themes of regional differences and modern romance.

Who would like it: People looking to see more of the pulse of mainstream India, especially if you are working around young people.

book review 2 states

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book review 2 states

May 15, 2014 at 3:13 am

I just finished reading this book and liked it a lot. I could really relate being part of a Tamilian family! It was an easy read. My review:

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May 15, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Nice review! With the movie release, I know a lot of people think these stereotypes are outdated, and in certain circles I think they are right. However, a lot of the trends are still there, at least from an outsider’s perspective.

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book review 2 states

Home » Movies » Bollywood Movie Reviews

2 States Review

2 States Movie Poster

Star cast:  Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amrita Singh, Revathy, Ronit Roy, Shiv Subrahmanyam

Director:  Abhishek Varman

What’s Good:  Alia-Arjun’s real and stirring chemistry and the pleasing premise of Bhagat’s story.

What’s Bad:  The pace of the film is convenient and the hold is scattered.

Loo break:  Nearly None.

Watch or Not?:  2 States is a feel good, romantic comedy which scores for being earthly and grounded. It is never too candyfloss but even with a known, loved and inevitable climax, Abhishek Varman spins an engaging story. Alia and Arjun’s unfeigned and spunky chemistry is winsome but mostly the film is watchable because of its ability to portray known dynamics of culture divide without many glitches. It is easy, breezy and good fun!

Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) narrates the story of how he fell in love with Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt). The first day of IIM-A and Krish lost his heart to the woman who cannot stand bad sambhar. Through friendship and more, the two fall in love with each other and decide to settle down. There begins the problem. Krish’s Punjabi mother won’t accept the Tamilian Ananya and vice versa. With that begins the journey of Krish and Ananya’s endeavour to get their parents smiling on their wedding day. Tough job ay? The movie has in store every hurdle they come across and how they eventually get married.

Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in a still from movie ‘2 States’

2 States Review: Script Analysis

For script, Bhagat’s engrossing book supplies a story that audiences have read on the loop. Obviously the intelligentsia finds a certain degree of insatiable pleasure in bashing the young writer who reinstigated the reading habit among Indians. The book is massively loved and and to make the same story interesting all over again, the film must offer something refreshing. Does the film manage that? Well, the answer is dubious.

While the leading pair’s decadent chemistry is a breather, the story’s magic dissipates in part. The narrative is scattered and I wouldn’t have been this critical of the film, had I not loved the book. The problem with the narrative is there is no new rendering of the story. It is a mere enactment of the sequence of events. The script doesn’t add anything new in its folds except the caliber of its cast, which has been perfectly handpicked to their credit.

The ethos of the middle class children and there tendency to play appeaser to their parents more than rebellious is wonderfully written by Bhagat. The film reflects the same. The north-south cultural clash could have been garnished more satisfactorily. But in the face-off scenes between Revathy and Amrita Singh are fantastic. The little nuances are enjoyable and done to perfection. In the scene which shows Arjun’s first tryst with a typical silent Tamilian household that reminds him of a funeral situation in a Punjabi household is crackling. Also when Amrita and Revathy clash on their Tamil and Punjabi sensibilities is entirely entrapping.

The love story between Arjun and Alia is thankfully kept simple, which is exactly what Makes it beautiful. It is not mundane but comes without any outrageous Bollywood airs. Krish and Ananya are young, rational minded people who are rightly rooted in tradition and sensitive to.their parents’ needs as much as their own. Though the hold loosens, the plot gets dull but their relatable and easy chemistry offers something to look out for all through the film.

2 States Review: Star Performances

Arjun Kapoor breaks his own typecast and performs.strongly in a film.quite unlike him. He is stronger than his onscreen better half, both in terms of mettle and potential. I like the bit that the actor despite not living up to Bollywood’s demands of typical Raj-ish romantic heroes, appeals so extensively. He is very boy next door and immensely lovable. Thank God the brooding angry mould is finally cast away and Kapoor proves to be quite a sunshine when the script demands for it.

Alia Bhatt is a stunner and that quite works in her favor. Even when she misses a few hues in her character or fumbles at places, she is looking so.beautiful that you can’t take your eyes off. Her chemistry with Arjun is full of vigor and the gusto in it is hard to miss. She isn’t the perfect Ananya but somehow pulls through the role with gravitas and confidence.

Amrita Singh as the khatarnak Punjabi saas is fabulous. But Revathy’s character doesn’t get elucidated adequately. The magnitude of her problem with a Punjabi son in law doesn’t come off well. Intact Shiv Subramaniyam too suffers the same fate in the film.

2 States Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay

Frankly there was nothing wrong with the film. Abhishek Varman did manage to retain the intrinsic soul of the novel. I would not call this a scene by scene copy but the débutant director did not feel the need to tamper at all with the original matter. This problem had perturbed me since the release of its first trailer. The ideal thing to do in a book adaptation is to infuse some newness in the plot which Varman doesn’t try a hand at. He remains loyal to the original and that is his main problem. The film fails to soar beyond the contours of the book and sadly even falls short of creating the magic of Bhagat’s book. Coming from someone who has read the book continuously, many times over, the book was far above the film in terms of its gleeful moments and the humor.

Seasoning the weaknesses with glossy songs and humor, the film will appeal less to the fans of the book. For those who are in love with the original will find the direction half baked and below the mark. Though a good effort from Varman, the guy has a long way to go in learning the art of film-making and tackling stories lucidly. The film’s editing could have been tighter and the pacing done consistently. It droops in parts and rushes through in others. Shankar,Ehsaan & Loy’s music deserves some brownie points as tracks like Offo and Lochae Ulfat will blow your mind.

2 States Review: The Last Word

2 states is barely unwatchable but misses the magic of Chetan Bhagat’s novel. As a stand alone, it is endearingly done with Alia and Arjun’s scorching chemistry coming off as adorable. Despite a half baked soul, this movie is worth the price of your popcorn. I am going with a generous 3/5. The Bhagat fan in me is disappointed but the cinegoer isn’t.

2 States Trailer

2 States  releases on 18th April, 2014.

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Book Review: Melissa Albert’s ‘The Bad Ones’ is a gripping story of friendship and the supernatural

This cover image released by Flatiron shows "The Bad Ones" by Melissa Albert. (Flatiron via AP)

This cover image released by Flatiron shows “The Bad Ones” by Melissa Albert. (Flatiron via AP)

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book review 2 states

Four people have disappeared in a single night, and Nora’s best friend, Becca, is one of them. If they weren’t three months into a huge fight, maybe Nora would be able to parse out the clues Becca left for her.

Melissa Albert’s fifth young adult novel, “The Bad Ones,” is both chilling and heart-warming — a story of limitless friendship clashing with fantastical supernatural power in the cold winter of a little Illinois town.

On the surface, Palmetto is the kind of unremarkable place that 17-year-olds Becca and Nora dream of leaving. But if you dig a little deeper, you find a recurring pattern of strange disappearances, seemingly centered around the high school and dating back to the 1960s. The locals all know some version of the story, and that it birthed the “goddess game” that has been passed down through generations since.

There are two iterations of this game, both Palmetto exclusives: a schoolyard jump-rope rhyme, and a trust-fall-style game of teenage daredevilry.

This cover image released by Putnam shows "This Disaster Loves You" by Richard Roper. (Putnam via AP)

But Nora and Becca have their own connection with this supernatural side of Midwestern suburbia: a secret art series in which they’ve crafted dozens of goddesses. Nora, lifelong storyteller and the main narrator of the novel, researches mythos to create their lore. Becca fluently wields her camera to illustrate each goddess’ beauty and power.

The project started as a more grown-up way to carry on their childhood make-believe, but perhaps the Goddess Series holds as much power as Becca hoped and Nora feared.

Nora follows Becca’s clues like breadcrumbs around Palmetto, gathering stories shared by a population so realistically rendered that it’s sometimes tough to remember it’s fiction. Strange things are happening to Nora, including hyper-realistic dreams and an insatiable sweet tooth, ramping up the urgency until we finally learn the truth behind the town lore — and what really happened to the four who went missing without a trace — in a satisfying, epic whirlwind of an ending.

The novel is freckled with alluring metaphors and the kind of grand revelations that flow through a perceptive, open mind. Albert’s ethereal descriptions capture specific vibes as well as big-picture issues; the thickness of the air or the haunted way everything in the art wing of the old school seems slightly askew.

Albert’s talent for YA fiction is magical and undeniable. I was sucked right into “The Bad Ones” from the start, and on the edge of my seat until the end.

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Read Like the Wind

Two books that scandalized readers.

A blues novel; a baseball tell-all.

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book review 2 states

By Sadie Stein

Dear readers,

Thanks to “ Feud, ” “ Answered Prayers ” is having a moment. For me, reading about Truman Capote’s act of social sabotage is a reminder that books — short stories, even! — have always been the best vehicle for scandal. After all, not only do they shock; they last. Here are just two memorable examples.

“Mojo Hand,” by J.J. Phillips

Fiction, 1966

The back cover of my 1985 reissue features two blurbs: One by Alice Walker, one by Henry Miller. The author photo is a head shot of the author taken in her late teens, staring through prison bars at a point beyond the camera lens. “BUSTED,” reads the caption, “for participating in a sit-in, J.J. Phillips in Wake Co. Jail, Raleigh, N.C., August, 1962.”

That’s as good an introduction as any to this genre-defying, wildly idiosyncratic, astounding novel. It’s the myth of Orpheus, told through the eyes of a Black teenager named Eunice Prideaux who becomes obsessed with the enigmatic blues singer Blacksnake Brown. Eunice more or less runs away from home to live with Brown in North Carolina; he’s presumably decades older, and by turns cruel and indifferent.

While from the time of publication “Mojo Hand” has had something of a cult following, it’s never not been divisive. For everyone who has been struck by the book’s sheer power and lyricism, the idiosyncrasy of its voice, who’s praised it as a Black woman’s Beat narrative or a sly work of civil disobedience, someone else has been shocked by its raw sexuality and by Blacksnake’s casual abuse — or criticized its portrayal of Black masculinity. (The literary and music critic Albert Murray was especially harsh.)

The truth is, Jane Phillips wrote this for herself, not even initially planning to publish. While the book is not autobiography — it’s full of mysticism and fantasy as well as mythological allusion — the author did in fact chase down the legendary bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins and was involved with him for about five years. You could call this a coming-of-age story or a period piece or a tragedy, but that wouldn’t be doing it full justice. This is a love letter to music, and specifically the blues.

It’s not a pretty love; it’s horrible, wrenching, obsessive — in the book’s terms, a kind of wicked magic that lures a young woman from the relative safety of a middle-class Black home to a scary and lawless America, and changes her inexorably. Eunice puts it into song: “They says when a man gets the blues, he catch a train and rides, and when a woman gets the blues, she hang her head and cries, but when this woman gets the blues, she puts on her black wings and flies.” You will never forget it.

Read if you like: Country blues ; Smithsonian Folkways Recordings ; “Tropic of Cancer” Available from: Once notoriously elusive, the book is now readily found online in the City Miner reissued edition , or you can borrow it from the Internet Archive.

“Ball Four,” by Jim Bouton

Nonfiction, 1970

Subtitled “My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues,” this tell-all (written with the legendary sportswriter Leonard Shecter) is an account of the pitcher’s 1969 season. For starters.

Bouton, who spent the bulk of his career as a Yankee, began ’69 with the short-lived Seattle Pilots, before a late-season trade to the Houston Astros. “Ball Four” is full of dirt: Players are crude and drunk, and even the clean-cut fan favorites regularly womanize and abuse “greenies” (speed). And Bouton names names — there’s a cast list and an index, for easy character assassination — detailing bad blood between players and managers. There was an uproar; copies were burned; the commissioner tried to make Bouton recant; it became a best seller — which was, as my anniversary edition’s cover copy rather primly puts it, “also very popular among people” who don’t “ordinarily follow baseball.”

Please believe me: This book is more than a sports journalism game-changer. Long after Mickey Mantle’s personal life ceased to shock, “Ball Four” holds up. Bouton doesn’t just provide an insight into the world of the Major Leagues, but into the pressures of being a professional entertainer at the end of his career and the resulting insecurities and behaviors. It’s also really, really funny.

Read if you like: “ Open,” by Andre Agassi ; “Bull Durham” but not “Field of Dreams”; “ Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning,” by Jonathan Mahler Available from: Well-stocked bookstores or libraries online or IRL, or from your favorite uncle who makes an annual pilgrimage to spring training.

Why don’t you …

Dress for success? If, like me, you are a sucker for arcana, oral histories, men’s tailoring, good writing and music, find a copy of “ Miles, Chet, Ralph, & Charlie: An Oral History of the Andover Shop ,” which is about how a Harvard Square haberdasher, weirdly, became a sort of countercultural touchstone at which jazz luminaries (Miles Davis and Chet Baker and Bobby Short and Charlie Parker) and literary lions (Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, presumably railing against “Mojo Hand”) reinvented preppy style.

Think while getting dressed? I don’t like to recommend anything behind a paywall, even a trial paywall, but Diana Athill’s essay “A Feeling for Clothes” — essentially her life in garments, published in her late 90s — is worth reading. “Everything I have bought as a result of a guilt-inspiring impulse has been a success. It also applies on the rare occasions when I venture out of mail-order. There is a designer of magical knitwear called Anne Higgins who used to sell by exhibiting her work here or there on rare occasions, letting customers know by postcard, but now has a tiny boutique in Kensington; and there is a corner of the shop at the Victoria & Albert Museum which displays clothes. At both of these I have proved the truth of the Infallibility of the Guilty Impulse, so that now my wardrobe can hardly recognize itself.”

If you think Tru was mean… Clearly you haven’t read the jaw-dropping diaries of Henry “Chips” Channon .

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If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to others. They can sign up here . Browse all of our subscriber-only newsletters here .

Friendly reminder: check your local library for books! Many libraries allow you to reserve copies online.

Explore More in Books

Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

In her new memoir, “Splinters,” the essayist Leslie Jamison  recounts the birth of her child  and the end of her marriage.

The Oscar-nominated film “Poor Things” is based on a 1992 book by Alasdair Gray. Beloved by writers, it was never widely read  but is now ripe for reconsideration.

Even in countries where homophobia is pervasive and same-sex relationships are illegal, queer African writers are pushing boundaries , finding an audience and winning awards.

In Lucy Sante’s new memoir, “I Heard Her Call My Name,” the author reflects on her life and embarking on a gender transition  in her late 60s.

Do you want to be a better reader?   Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

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  1. Book Review: '2 States

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  1. Review: 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

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    Welcome to 2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya. They are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don't agrees. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a tough battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but it is much harder to convince.

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    Coming back to 2 States, apparently, this book covers his own love story when he was a student at IIM Ahmadabad. Just like our Bollywood movies this novel too has positively encouraged inter-caste or inter-religion marriage and one can hear couples saying that their love story is inspired by 2 States in either ways; from book as well as the movie.

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