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Novel by Somnath Batabyal

Jun 17, 2013

“The Price You Pay” is a novel written by former Cluster Member Somnath Batabyal. It tells the story of Delhi through the eyes of an ambitious reporter, a veteran news editor and a trigger-happy policeman. The book has been published by Harper Collins.

The plot: When Abhishek Dutta joins the Express as a trainee journalist, he has no idea how his life is about to change. Assigned to the crime beat by Chief Reporter Amir Akhtar, Abhishek encounters a motley cast of characters in the press and police: DCP Uday Kumar, the Dirty Harry of Delhi Police who has a penchant for shooting first and asking questions later; ACP Crime Branch Mayank Sharma, who becomes a close friend; Samir Saxena, channel head of News Today, who mentors Abhishek s move from print to electronic journalism; and dreaded gangster Babloo Shankar, who runs the Delhi mafia even though he is in exile. As he rides his beginners luck to unearth one sensational scoop after the other, Abhishek will soon discover that in the dog-eat-dog world of crime and politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies it is every man for himself.

Renowned historian William Dalrymple sees in the novel “A terrific debut: wry and witty, pacy and addictive, and held together by riffs of pitch-perfect Delhi dialogue”. He states that the author” looks likely to do for Delhi what Raymond Chandler did for LA”. In the words of Shehan Karunatilaka, the Winner of the Commonwealth Literary Prize 2012, “The Price You Pay reveals how corruption, power games and ego clashes shape the way we respond to crime and how we report it. Somnath Batabyal gives us an evocative and thought-provoking tour through newsrooms, copsheds, TV stations and the underbelly of modern India. Part thriller, part social critique, it is an absorbing and compelling read.”

Somnath Batabyal worked for a decade in journalism, covering crime and criminality, hobnobbing with politicians and policemen, before entering the world of Western academia. He is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”. His first book, “Making News in India: Star News and Star Ananda”, was published in 2011. Somnath now lives in London where he teaches at the School of Oriental and African Studies. “The Price You Pay” is his first novel.


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