Book Reviews

The Autograph Seeker – Review

Hello everyone! ❤️

After a break of four months and five days, I’m back with another review! *smiling*

Today, I’m writing the review of Tony V Francis’s “The Autograph Seeker”. 


About the book

During the British rule in India, fate throws together a diverse cast onto the stage of the San Souci Theatre: the Kohinoor of Bengal theatre, Esther Leach; James Barry, the theatre manager facing bankruptcy; Alice Anderson, the enchanting Englishwomen estranged from her husband; and Baboo Bustomchurn Addy, the dark Bengali actor infatuated with Alice Anderson and ready to kill for her.

Yet, history has forgotten the cast that perished with the San Souci Theatre until it’s discovered by Tony, a school boy in Calcutta, who is desperate to tell their story. The story of an actress who accidentally got burnt in front of a shell-shocked audience. Of a dangerous liaison between a married Englishwoman and a native Bengali actor. And a secret that has been hidden for the last 150 years! It was the end of innocence and the dawn of a glorious institution. To help Tony in his endeavour is an effervescent Anglo-Indian beauty, Vinny, who’s mute.

Peppered with autographs and amusing anecdotes, The Autograph Seeker chronicles the India of the 80s and 90s through Tony’s hilarious narrative, as he and his motley gang of friends unearth the story behind the steep climb and resounding fall of what used to be the greatest theatre in the country.

What happens when a boy who talks a lot meets a girl who cannot talk? Their love tells the story in this epic coming-of-age novel.


“Addy’s head was buzzing. He looked around. Everyone looked joyous in each other’s company. Rage now had become his companion. No, his master.”

“That was it. I brought my face as close as I could get to Vinny’s, the lips just short of touching. She raised her eyebrows as if to ask what was stopping me. Then I closed my eyes for my first lip-lock.
It was not platonic anymore.”

San Souci theatre was the greatest theatre in Calcutta and the entire British India. Started with the obsession of theatre for James Barry, who was facing bankruptcy, the theatre bought an diverse cast under itself – Esther Leach, called as the Kohinoor of Bengal theatre; Alice Anderson – the enchanting Englishwoman estranged from her husband, and Baboo Bustomchurn Addy, the dark Bengali actor too much infatuated with Alice and ready to kill anyone for her.

The rise and fall of Calcutta’s greatest theatre, discovered by a boy who talks a lot and a girl, who’s mute.

Tony, a too much talking boy studying in St. Xavier’s School in Calcutta, discovers the 150 years long forgotten secret of San Souci and decides to unearth every single detail about it. From the accidental burning of an actress in front of the audience to a dangerous relationship between a married Englishwoman and a native Bengali actor, Tony discovers the rise and fall of the San Souci. Helping him in his journey is Vinny, a mute girl.

The author keeps the language simple and continuous, the shift between Tony’s life and San Souci’s journey is amazing and interesting. The book has a really good amount of comedy, suspense, romance and drama equally blended. The author has tight-knit this book, and never for a minute I found it off-track. Everyone in the book, whether a major or minor character, has an important role to play in the book and their presence in the book just highlights the entire story of the book. What kept me totally hooked to the book is the blending of real-life year-wise happenings with Tony’s and St. Xavier’s life and signatures of famous personalities obtained by Tony.


The Autograph Seeker is a fresh and humorous take on two sides of India – British India and Independent India. Written from the eyes of Tony, who seamlessly juggles between bringing San Souci to stage and his own life, this book is a perfect read for everyone. Helping him in his journey is Vinny, a mute girl whom Tony loves. The book strikes a perfect balance between San Souci’s journey and St. Xavier’s life.

The author has written this book without losing his grip over the story. He has given equal space to British India and Independent India without overdoing any of the two timelines. What I love about this book is the effortless and smooth shift between the two timelines.

The book is really amazing to read without any mood dampeners at all. I loved it to the core and will definitely recommend it to everyone!

Title: The Autograph Seeker
Author: Tony V Francis
Publisher: Amaryllis Publishing
Rating: 10/10 ❤

*Thank you Manjul Publishing House, Bhopal, for sending me this book.*

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