SBR: Yellow Lights of Death was originally written in Malayalam and the translation does a good job of retaining the flavor or the original. So good a job, in fact, that it became a problem for me. It didn’t translate all the relationships’ names from Malayalam (didn’t even provide a glossary). The completely fictional life created in the real-life location of Diego Garcia is fascinating enough, the whodunnit fairly interesting, but the book has its share of flaws. Not translating Chettathi and Valayapapan is not the biggest of those. A book within the book has to be pieced together to figure out the mystery. Why and how of it is so contrived that you wish the author took his readers more seriously. The book would have been better off without this meta-mystery. I also wished that we didn’t have to read so much of mundane chit-chats between the friends throughout the book. Not resolving everything in the end and leaving some of it to the readers’ interpretation was a nice touch, though.
To read or not to read: The story is interesting enough to be read. But you don’t have to lose your sleep for it.