Book Review- Kane and Abel

Book Review- Kane and Abel

Author- Jeffrey Archer

Rating- 8/10

William Lowell Kane and Abel Rosnovski, one the son of a Boston millionaire, the other a penniless Polish immigrant – two men both born on the same day on opposite sides of the world, their paths destined to cross in the ruthless struggle to build an empire.

Yes, this is my second official book review. In fact I am not reviewing a book. I am reviewing a classic. A saga. An epic. A lot of adjectives can be used to describe this book but nothing can probably match the experience this book gives. Truly an unputdownable read.

To start with, Jeffrey Archer, with all his eccentricities, is one of my favorite authors. A Prisoner of Birth is still among my favorites. Paths of Glory still gives me goosebumps everytime I think of that photograph of Ruth which Mallory celebrated as a mark of his success. Here, with Kane and Abel, Archer is in supreme form and at his descriptive best.

This book covers 60 years and three generations, through the cycles of fortune and ill fate. But at the end, only one of them can win. This book beautifully encompasses the struggle and hatred that these men bore against each other. The story is so well told(not ‘written’ because you don’t except these novels to be literary classics, do you?) that I felt torn between the two main characters. Archer takes each character and describes his journey right from his childhood to his college life till he crosses 60 and man, he does it beautifully.

On one hand, we have this self contained William who is born with a golden spoon and talent, building a stock portfolio at a school going age. While on the other hand, there is Abel, a strong willed young boy from Poland, who has been through a lot of hardships and harrowing experiences. Finally the book ends with a masterful ending which would leave readers with a lingering experience that we all so much long for.

Positives: Archer tactfully switches between these two men without losing his grip on the story. I have always missed strong characters in Archer’s books but this time around I was more than happy. Characterization is the strength of this novel. But the best part for me was Abel’s childhood. His journey from Poland to Russia to Turkey and finally to the USA was full of interesting yet harrowing experiences. Abel’s story signifies human competence and hunger for success. Truly gratifying!

Negatives:Lot of business and economics can be a turn off for many readers. I personally found the love story between Richard and Florentyn too banal. Yes, there are no major twists and turns in this plot except the ending. But if you ask me, these negatives can be ignored, because what you get then is an epic! Go grab it..

-Tejas Nimbargi

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