As the title suggests, The Newsroom Mafia is a book about the on-goings of a newspaper or newsroom as such. However, this is not only what the book focuses on. It paints a vivid picture of how news is planted, manipulated and played with. With money, comes power and with power, comes an insatiable urge to stay powerful forever.
It is evident that only an experienced journalist could have written this book. That’s where the detailed writing style of the author, Oswald Pereira comes in. Pereira, a veteran journalist himself has expertly written about the various faces of the world we live in. The three main characters, Oscar, the journalist, Donald, the Police Commissioner and Narayan Swamy, the “social worker” (read don) share a relationship that can be translated to the connection between the media, the police and the underworld itself.
‘The Newsroom’ is the ‘grand old dame’ of journalism and is respected for its accurate reporting, impeccable language and no-nonsense policies. Oscar, a crime reporter, finds treasure in the form of a tip-off given to him by Donald, the Police Commissioner. What follows is a series of escapes, hoaxes and a lingering question about the whereabouts of the don, Narayan Swamy.
What struck me immediately about the book was its non-linear narrative. The author cleverly goes back and forth in his story and neatly pieces all the parts together by the end of it. I like how the reader is left wondering when a certain portion of the story will be completed. The event in question is narrated to us before talking about the various steps that led to it. This is repeatedly twice or thrice till the reader is used to this style of writing.
I could imagine this book in the form of a movie – it evokes immense visual imagery due to its fast-paced action. However, this is also one of its negatives. The story is overloaded with information. Apart from the three main characters, there are many others who are given almost equal importance. Because of this, there were a lot of jerks in the book as the story went from one character to the other. While this is what the author must have intended to do, there were some unnecessary elements that could have been avoided. For instance, I felt that far too many words were devoted into describing the background of characters who didn’t play a significant role throughout the book.
Nevertheless, the transparency with which this book has been written deserves due credit. One gets an insight into the lives of people who fight for their jobs and can do anything to sustain them. A lot of metaphors have been subtly used to describe a lot of places or people. For instance, the Bombay Press Club is aptly referred to as the ‘house of glass’.
All in all, it would definitely be a good choice to pick this book up and read it. I would advise you to not finish it in one go in spite of how fast-paced it is. Take your time and read this one patiently – only then will you be able to grasp the many characters and twists in the story.