4 out of 4 stars
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Border Post 99: No Man’s Land is a fictional short story written by Kedar Patankar and was published in June 2015. In 2011, two opposing countries, Pakistan and India, have each sent a soldier to dwell in border posts along no man’s land. It is well-known to both forces that these posts within no man’s land are considered against the rules in a time of war. Thus, each soldier must have their presence go unknown while spying on the enemy. The main characters, Sharma and Khan, eventually meet and then a rivalry of sorts begins to pan out. To avoid starting war, the one rule each must follow is they are not allowed to kill the other soldier.
I really enjoyed this book. One of the main themes that really spoke to me was how a war can strip people of their humanity and make us forget that the enemy is a human being with the same wants and needs. The feud between the characters is highly entertaining and I had a good laugh or two. I also found parts of it to be insightful. It gives the reader a perspective of what life as a soldier may be like, such as living out of a tent or eating dehydrated meals. This book also highlighted the loneliness that can happen in such hard times. This is something I think readers can relate to, since at one point or another, everyone has felt lonely. My favorite quote from this book was, “Life gives you ups and downs. If you remember only the downs, you are not living your life”.
My only critique is there were one or two instances when the character perspective would switch too quickly between Khan and Sharma or there was no indication of the switch. This required the need to re-read parts to understand who was speaking. I think that if the author used the character’s names rather than saying “he” during some these transitions, readers are less likely to be confused. Other than that, this book was well edited and easy to read. I also thought would be cool if this book came with a map since the authors speaks of so many places within the book, and it would be nice to visualize this.
The author wrote vividly enough that I could see this book being produced into a short film with a serious undertone that comes with the angst of war, but also a comical side that comes from the feud between Khan and Sharma. I ended up getting so into the story that I missed my bus stop while reading it. At some point I looked up and said, “Oops”. I love how it ended and I am very excited to read a follow up novel to know what happened to Khan and Sharma and how this war will continue to affect their relationship.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This book is appropriate for most age groups. It should be brought to attention that there were parts of the book where the exchange of curse words happens, so mature audiences may be best.
Border Post 99
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