Book review: Equations by Shivani Sibal

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Neelam Sharma, Booxoul



In New Delhi in the 1980s, Aahan Sikand and Rajesh Kumar are childhood playmates. They have been brought up under the care of the same woman, living in the same house, but with starkly different realities – Aahan is the only son and heir of the fabulously wealthy Sikand family, and Rajesh is the son of Mr Sikand’s driver.

As Aahan and Rajesh grow up, the friendship they shared as children reaches an uncomfortable end, as both become aware of their places in the world. While Aahan is expected to keep what he has inherited intact for the next generation, Rajesh, in the eyes of the world, can, at best, hope for a life better than his father’s, free of domestic servitude. But he has much larger plans for himself…

Equations is a story of aspiration and social change, of individual ambition and family bonds. It announces the arrival of a striking new author who delves into the secrets of New Delhi politics and business.


What exactly is an equation? An equation can be defined as two sets of mathematical expressions that are equal on the basis of certain arithmetic functions irrespective of the variables posited on each side of the equal sign. The main motive of an equation is to present the fact that both the equations are equal in net value. No wonder why we use the same term in everyday life.

This book, Equations, is all about relations and balances. The relationships range from friends, couples, and acquaintances. With each equation of relations explored in this novel, the angle shifts and thus gives one person an opportunity to gain power over the other. So, will that person make the most out of such an opportunity? This is what Equations is all about.

ALSO READ: Book review of Love & Longings by Sumana Bhattacharya

Literary Fiction is a genre that has a universal charm. The reason why people still celebrate certain novels is not only for its technical and thematic innovations, but also for the universal emotions and ideas it often addresses in its writings; and Equations is one such book. I am amazed at how the author has devoted an immense amount of time to build the characters in the storyline. Even though the book is a short read, Equations is driven by its characters most of the time, thus giving ample amount of space for them to thrive to their fullest. The slowness of the narrative only seems to accentuate the depth of the novel, and this is where Equations fared wonderfully. The study of human relations becomes an important discussion that the author looks into till the last page, and the patience invested in it is simply fascinating. In fact, each of the characters is explored with a certain kind of depth both philosophical and psychological. This confluence only seems to highlight the positive aspects of the novel. Most importantly, Equations is successfully communicating the emotions through an extremely meticulous and simple style of writing. This further contributes to the beauty of its narration altogether.

The only wrinkle in the entire novel was the absence of humour, even in its lightest sense. Of course, in Equations I saw every hue of emotions blooming, each of which manifested the truest of feelings experienced by people at least once in their lives, except for the absence of humour. According to me, humour is one of the most important elements of creative writing. Exclusive of the ideas of jokes and comic relief, humour can often be utilised as a reliable weapon to criticise or react to some custom, idea, or attitude which is not supposed to happen. Yet, I think some stories may not require humour at all. Perhaps the absence of it would rather highlight the necessity of the same.

Equations is all about how people constantly study the kind of relations they are involved in. Eventually, it’s all a matter of belief and acceptance.

5 Books for you if you like Literary Fiction
Pick the book if
  • You love reading Literary Fiction

Skip the book if

  • You don’t like reading Literary Fiction
  • You don’t like reading about Family issues
Age Group

18 years and above


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