It has become like a custom from last one year, every couple of months I pick up a novel by Jeffrey Archer to read. The thicker the book is, the better. It all started when I happened to read this book called First among equals and got hooked to a story telling style that is very fluid and captivating. He is definitely one of the best entertaining story tellers of our time. What amazed me is his capacity to write novels that spans decades, mostly the whole life of the protagonists, and still manage to keep the reader's interest level up through out, page by page and sentence by sentence. As The Crow Flies is also not different.
I feel this novel is all the more apt for the moment as India is planning to open its door to FDI in retail. The novel tell the inspiring rags to riches story of a man who started as a vegetable vendor to become the owner of the biggest retail showroom in the country. Charlie Trumper used to sell vegetables with his Grand Father on a barrow. Inspired by his grand father, he dreams of owning the biggest barrow in the world. The story follows up his life as he struggles to realize his dream. Every element that makes a page turner is deployed here- romance, suspense, love, emotion, action, adventure, scheming villains, twists and turns, coincidences... everything in the right amount, at the right moment. Story is told in the perspectives of multiple characters, which makes it all the more interesting. It also helps much in character building and readers find them more identifiable by knowing about their fears and motives that causes several of their actions.
But after reading the whole book one thing that gets etched in the reader's mind is Charlie's diligent pursuit. His passion for attaining his goal, his willingness to observe and study from his mistakes, his readiness to stand tall adhering to his principles in any adversity. That is what makes him endearing to readers. But Archer does not make him super human. He has several short falls that he overcomes thanks to his virtues and the company of faithful and caring persons who surround him.
I would heavily recommend this gem of a novel to any one interested to get entertained and inspired.