Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

Continental Divide

Naveed Burney

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Writers Club Press

Published : 2002

Copyright : Naveed Burney 2002

ISBN-10 : PB 0-595-26117-5
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-595-26117-8

Publisher's Write-Up

A journey into adventure, mystery and intrigue; this is a personal journey of Dave Marsupial in a mission of dare to uncover the truth, for his spiritual need and his resolve to avenge his friend's murder. It is a story of adventure in a world peopled by heroes and villains, the characters ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other - the good and the evil. The evil characters jar the sensibilities of the reader with their self-serving perversion and cowardice. The goodness of others restores faith in humanity as these are people ready to fight on the side of what is right. At the expense of putting themselves in peril, they are willing to help and partake in an adventure of life, to explore the unknown in search of truth. They are representatives of a breed that have the lust to uncover mystery, raring to punish those who want America as hostage for their perverted power.

Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Denise O'Brien (220903) Rating (9/10)

Review by Denise O'Brien
Rating 9/10
Of late there has been an obsession for books that delve into characters and settings perceived as depicting exotic cultures that offer the reader a passport to a vicarious experience, very different than what may be encountered by reading about the familiar goings-on of the West. The imaginative as well as enterprising writers of the South Asian Diaspora in North America and U.K have capitalized on this trend and produced novels in spades meant to fill this market that seeks something different. The result has been literature ranging from being very good to very bad, some of it sonourous, interesting and spontaneous the other kind pedestrian, insipid and forced. The popular authors representing this Diaspora like V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje Rohinton Mistry, Bharathi Mukherjee, Vikram Seth, Jhumpa Lahiri, in this market have already grabbed the bigger slice of the pie but there still remains a lot to go around. But understandably, it is only the well written, and above all, interesting literature of this genre which stands any chance of becoming popular, and if marketed properly making the author famous.

Naveed Burney’s novel is not about India in a true sense, nor is his protagonist, in his novel Continental Divide, an Indian or a person with direct ties to India. Actually, it is about a true homegrown American lad, handsome, talented, cocksure and self reliant, groomed for upward mobility in the rough and tumble politics in the confines of the glorified and notorious CIA. However, it is a novel spiced with the novelty of Indian culture. It is meant to be alluring by latching on to the mythical spirituality of the sub- continent that has been exported actively from the time—or even prior to the time— when the Beatles hitched themselves to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for their dose of spirituality.

The novel progresses in a true action-thriller fast-paced fashion, with the author delineating the character of his hero, Dave Marsupial, as the rugged Bond like figure, with his natural proclivity to sexual adventures with different women, all of a sudden a changed man after the murder of his mentor and colleague. Even his progressive sexual encounters take a spiritual face, forcing him, at least, to rationalize his sexual urge after his rendezvous with the Bollywood actress Urmilla.

Though honestly, Marsupial’s sudden choice to pursue his heroics in India appear to be more a strong desire on the part of the author to jump on to familiar territory to make interesting what otherwise could have been a story leading to nowhere. But that is no capital crime really, especially if the author can vindicate himself by convincing us that in the end, by doing what he did, he made the novel more interesting. My verdict: yes, the author in this instance stands vindicated.

Continental Divide, with its strong and weak points for being a first novel, balances out as being extremely interesting, especially in certain parts. There is a good flow to the plot and an honest development of the characters. The contribution of characters rooted in the Indian tradition though predicated on stereotypes is nevertheless extremely hilarious. RSVP the benign and bumbling character (a computer expert, what else?) is reminiscent of the part played by Peter Sellers in the movie The Party. Urmilla the impetuous Bollywood belle is impressionable and in awe of Hollywood being on the lower rung of the entertainment business recognizing, of many things, the stupidity of aerobic skills required for romantic scenes in her movie world. But despite the injection of the exotic spiritualistic mythical content of the East, though somewhat contrived, the story remains not as unconvincing as the hero’s last name.

The black, cool, big-hearted American dude Tony Corrado, the hero’s right-hand man fits a part tailor made for Danny Glover of Lethal Weapon fame. His allegiance to a good man and a good cause is understandable as it was Dave’s pro bono effort that liberated him from the electric chair. Tony’s character serves as a good foil to that of the hero who appears endowed with an inherent respect for women that takes a funny twist into making him think that one way to liberate women is through tender loving care accompanied by memorable sex that their husband might be denying them. Dave is too much of a connoisseur when it comes to tasting women to be convinced into believing like Tony that “if you’ve seen one you’ve seen all”. The romance offered Maria, the impotent boss’s wife is not the same Marsupial extends Cathy. And so is the sexual gratification of Urmilla different having been motivated by different reasons and feelings.

Continental Divide is not bad reading at all; it is a good surprise from someone who elects to cross an all American personality with the spirituality of the East. Perhaps didactic in a certain way, the story in the end accomplishes what it sets out to do—provide light reading. I would certainly recommend this novel to anyone moved by mystery, romance and American pride.
Denise O'Brien (22nd September 2003)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends