Here Be Dragons
Author: Mohit Uppal
The cover of Mohit Uppal’s debut novel evokes the poster of Reservoir Dogs, and a blurb on the back of the book says: “If you liked The Hangover and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, you’ll love Here Be Dragons.” Just like that, Uppal limits the scope of his book. Three friends from different countries reunite in Rome.
Kwan, a Korean, nurses a dark secret from his stint in the army; Ayaan, an Indian, has quit a brain-numbing corporate job; and Aiden, the manic pixie dreamboat, is a bartender in New York. They get together to find Kwan’s love interest, a prostitute.
Truth be told there is nothing fresh about the writing or the writer’s imagination, and his best lines are in the footnotes. While the boys’ personal troubles are real, they’re reduced to subjects of lazy introspection. Here Be Dragons lacks urgency, teetering just on the edge of pandemonium but never letting go.