My Friend Sancho – Review

I had mentioned in my previous blog post that I’ll not be attending the My Friend Sancho launch in Delhi because it was on a weekday. I had also mentioned that since I have a huge pile of unread books I wouldn’t buy this for a while at least. My boss happened to read that blog post and mentioned to me that he was planning to drive to mainland Delhi for the launch at the end of work on Wednesday evening. Not having to drive all the way there relieved me of the NED and I went. And given that I went, and that I was planning to buy it some time, I bought it at the venue and got it signed by the author.

I just finished my dinner. I know it’s a bit late, but I started reading the book at 8pm today. And got so engrossed that I didn’t get up to cook till it was around nine thirty, when I had finished about half the book. I got up and put the rice to cook and sat down with the book again. And didn’t get up until I was done (oh yes – I got up once in the middle to turn off the pressure cooker, and to take a leak). All two hundred and seventeen pages of it. Extremely easy read, and extremely engrossing. The drop in quality of Amit’s blogging during the time he wrote this book can be forgiven.

Overall it is a nice book. But I wonder how well it will be appreciated by someone who doesn’t know Amit at all. I know that a large proportion of people who will be buying his book are regular readers of India Uncut (which finds half a dozen plugs in the book), but thing is there is so much more you can get from the book if you know Amit. Now – given that I know Amit, and not just from his blog – I’m trying to imagine how much less a person who doesn’t know Amit at all will get out of this.

One of ther more delightful sub-plots in the book is the speech given by a policeman about “the beast called the Government” – while speaking in bullet points. It is a fantastic libertarian speech, and it is even more fantastic that it is delivered by the possibly corrupt inspector. Now – the problem is that a person who hasn’t read much of Amit’s writing – either on his blog or in his erstwhile Mint column will simply gloss over this monologue as some random meaningless gibberish.

There are a few other such pieces in the book – where a prior reading of Amit’s work will make you enjoy things a lot more. So my recommenedation to you is tha tif you wnat to read MFS, you should first go over to and read a few dozen of Amit’s blog posts. And then begin reading the book and you should enjoy it.

Another reason why I was initially sceptical about the book was that I was told it features a talking lizard. I inherently don’t like stories that cannot be real. So if you put in talking animals, or creatures that don’t exist, I am usually put off and lose enthu to read the book. Amit, however, does a good job of limiting the number of lines given to the lizard – he does it in a way such that it appears as if the lizard represents the narrator’s conscience.

Overall it’s a really good book, and I recommend you read it. The story is simple and gripping, and the sub-plots are also really good. It won’t take too much of your time, or too much of your money (very reasonably priced at Rs. 195).   Just make sure that you read some of Amit’s writing before you read the book.

10 thoughts on “My Friend Sancho – Review”

    1. yeah they should be. look at the comment below. Amit says that a number of his book readers have enjoyed the book despite never reading his blog. so maybe my judgment of the book isn’t right. anyways it’s a nice book

  1. Thanks, Skimpy, glad you liked the book. I don’t agree with the point about people needing to read the blog, though. Most of the people who’ve written in recently saying they liked the book have never heard of IU before this. And the voice of the book is quite different from the blog, even if the sense of humour is similar.

    1. good to know that people who haven’t heard of IU are liking your book! for some reason though, I felt that my experience was “enhanced” because I know you and your blog. again – that is my personal opinion

  2. @skimpy – I think the best fiction is that which can be enjoyed without knowing a thing. Somewhat like the veil of ignorance – and the enjoyment is absolute and all that.

    @Amit: I still haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard nice things from people who have (and don’t otherwise read IU). I’m buying it soon! 🙂

  3. IMHO, a good book should stand on it’s own feet, instead of getting support from previous works of the author. Especially, when it comes to fiction, people certainly hate to do homework of pre-reading other stuffs.

  4. Hi, I really liked the book. I just read it last week only. It was so interested that i completed the book within one and half day only. I was disappointed with the end only. Because I was expecting the book to continue. But I know Amit must have thought to do something great in second book. So waiting for Amit’s Second book now.

  5. Finished reading the book a few days ago and really enjoyed it, especially the the sub-plots. I do agree with you in that those who are unfamiliar with Amit’s writing will have a hard time understanding the writing style, and the humour. To them some of it might seem frivolous and flippant.

  6. I bought the book only because im crazy about lizard motifs and the likes!!…seriously!…read only half of it.Ill have to agree with you on the ‘gibberish-ness’ due to which i havent been able to proceed further.

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