15 June, 2021

Missing The Cue

Military history thinly-veiled as fiction with flimsy dialogue, loose characters and a scanty plot.

Missing The Cue
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
War often spawns great literature. Military history does not. A Twisted Cue is military history. Rohit Handa's account of Indian military mores and manners in the early 1960s is thinly-veiled as fiction with flimsy dialogue, loose characters and a scanty plot.

The story revolves around the thoughts and lovelife of one Lieutenant-Colonel Quintin Reginald 'Mulkally' Oxley-Protheroe, during a period when war with Pakistan threatens to break out. Mulkally is an urbane charmer, a "ladies' man". The ladies in question are Narayani—a witty Indian divorcee described as having an "eruption of adoration" for Mulkally—and Erica, a fellow Anglo-Indian whom he also teases along.

To get through this book, you must be prepared to turn a blind eye to the strange spelling, typos and grammatical peculiarities and a deaf ear to the clanking dialogues. My favourite example of the former comes when Narayani, during the early part of her courtship with Mulkally, serendipitously refers to her "frig" (a solitary sexual pastime) rather than her "fridge" (a kitchen appliance).

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