It is necessary to read the books of one’s fellow authors and to make some comments; or give a fair and balanced review. Reading My Learned Friends was a pleasure and below is as balanced a review as I can make. James Apps (Editor)
(Biography) ISBN 13978-0-9544612-3-2
My Learned Friends is the biography of a Barrister practicing in England. Writing under the nom de plume of Karm Arger the author describes through anecdotes and insights into the life of an Asian Lawyer called to the English Bar. The main character, Prem Iyer, tells of the progress of a lawyer from the expensive but necessary pupillage with an Inn of Court to a successful acceptance of his excellence.
The author tells the story from within the precincts of the court, visits prisons to speak with his clients, and shows how a Barrister needs to be able to think on his or her feet when the best laid plans go wrong. That Prem Iyer was a successful and hard working lawyer who held his own in an institution that he shows to be subject to all the prejudice of lay society, is a tribute not only to his hard work but to that institution itself.
His arguments for change and the steady realization that change will be slow help the reader enjoy this book leaving them with an understanding of the law and how it works. We must bear in mind that this is a brief insight into the workings of the Bar and the courts but in the tradition of such insights reflect the writer’s love of his profession and pride in his Learned Friends.
Reservations on the style and tenor of the book were that until the reader becomes used to the legal style, necessary to convey the tone, he has to be a little patient. Once the style becomes clear the reader is gripped by the tales although the tenor of the story changes during the highly personal and sensitive passages of Prem’s private life. It is in these it would be good to have a little more relaxation of the Lawyer’s fascinating prose. However, these small lapses do not detract from the tale. It is of course the narrator’s voice throughout and that balances out any complaints. A damned good read.
Karm Arger is a retired Barrister.