If you are a Lahiri fan, this one will not disappoint! Amid the backdrop of Naxal movement in Kolkata, post independence - The Lowland traces the life...moreIf you are a Lahiri fan, this one will not disappoint! Amid the backdrop of Naxal movement in Kolkata, post independence - The Lowland traces the life of the Mitra family, particularly the brothers - Subhash and Udayan. I could not, at any stage of the book, put more than a neutral shade to these characters...couldn't love them or hate them! Lahiri's signature prose and eloquent language will keep you mesmerized till the end. (less)
Dear George Martin, I love you and then I hate you...it is like I hate you enough to throw you off a cliff in my fury, but then I would run and try to...moreDear George Martin, I love you and then I hate you...it is like I hate you enough to throw you off a cliff in my fury, but then I would run and try to catch you before you hit the bottom! And that exactly is what I feel at the end of this book! It is a bittersweet candy that leaves off with a bitter taste in your mouth. No...do not ask me right now if I would be reading this further! I might just stop ignoring the TV series and watch it! (less)
Some patience this books tests! However, at the end you sit back and believe that all is indeed well with the world. Some scary war time pictures are...moreSome patience this books tests! However, at the end you sit back and believe that all is indeed well with the world. Some scary war time pictures are detailed...and a good story is spun between all of that. No strong characters, but you will like what you read. (less)
Well paced and engrossing, Things Fall Apart, hooked me to this Nigerian sad story from the word go. This book is hailed as...moreLoss of culture and hope!
Well paced and engrossing, Things Fall Apart, hooked me to this Nigerian sad story from the word go. This book is hailed as a contribution to literature, and now after reading this I know why.
"Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold"
The book has "Okonkwo"as the main character whos life mission is to prove himself and his valor. He has this burning desire to overcome the failure of his father, who was a drunkard and loser. Although Okonkwo is said to be tall and strong, like he can scare or kill enemies with his strength be it wrestle or kill, his weakness lies in his pride and anger. When he is faced in life with the traditional tribal laws or family duties, he is not able to tackle them well. One may pity with Okonkwo because he was or wanted to live in a staunch patriarchal society, and yet men around him were changing. He did not change! In this story of success and failure one sees the winds of change. How adaptation may or may not help people. The fall of the central character is very similar and redundant to all great stories of history. With Things Fall Apart, one wonders whether his downfall was due to this character or his culture...
Although the book is talking a lot about African culture and the likes, there was not much mentioned about how "rich" or "unique" the culture might would have been. The author, Achebe, did not try to do it or may be he did not want to do it. He has been fair and shown the bane of culture and religious views been forced upon people.
Tribal practices although anarchic did hold value for people then. But the story written by Achebe does not explain why. Too much of hope and trust is lost.
This work is ages old, but holds relevance still today.(less)
And with this book, I know the answer to "Where did all the good people go?" Such a wonderful wonderful read. I had missed reading out on this in scho...moreAnd with this book, I know the answer to "Where did all the good people go?" Such a wonderful wonderful read. I had missed reading out on this in school and am so glad on a friend's recommendation picked it up again! A book I will re-read many times!(less)
I am almost a stooge when it comes to anthologies. The fact that a few words can entice and enthrall as much as many has...moreWorth the wait? Civil Lines 6
I am almost a stooge when it comes to anthologies. The fact that a few words can entice and enthrall as much as many has been the major reason for that. So, when TSBC (The Sunday Book Club) “dared” me to try a new book, which turned out to be a collection of short stories – I was pleased.
Civil Lines, as I now know, is an Indian literary magazine started in 1994. This book or the “literary miscellany” as the editors put it, is the 6th in the series. The editors have tried hard to justify the decade it took to get this book in print from the last one in series.
Civil Lines 6 has contributions from 14 authors. The 16 stories in the book are part fiction/non-fiction, and many of them are autobiographical sketches. Takes you to an India/world of a few decades ago. There is much of old Mumbai sketched in the book that made me feel nostalgic and wonder “how it must have been,” Also, the fact that am all pro-Mumbai helped me like the stories more. Some of the stories below are the ones I re-read in this book. These stories deserves to be read and enjoyed in a serene café with a good cup of coffee!
Great Eastern Hotel: The book starts with Ruchir Joshi’s “Great Eastern Hotel” – by far my favorite fiction in the book. It has Rabindranath Tagore’s death in the backdrop and creates a visual of how it must have been during his funeral. Some cinematic characters cross paths and take you to the old Calcutta.
Flight: “The thing is, you see, I really can fly.” “Flight” by Itu Chaudhuri is a lovely tale of a person’s secret -- of being able to take a flight. The way she fights keeping the secret from the people around her, and is enjoying the suspense of where her wonderful ability will take her, is what the story is about. “Is guilt the dark face of relief?” … some wonderful words to ponder about…
Skeletons: Naresh Fernandes’s “Skeletons” is set in old Bandra. It talks about a newspaper version of a pair of skeletons found in the neighbourhood of Bandra, those of a doctor and his faithful dog. At times engaging and exciting, the story left me asking for more. However, not much has changed about the bitter truth about living in a metro city – lonely in life and death.
The Muse of Failure: “Fashil”!!! This is an interesting story by Anand Balakrishnan set around the word Fashil, which means failure in Arabic. The word is almost the centre of the story – or the muse - keeps cropping up through the author’s life and has been narrated by the author superbly. “Has your arm failed you?”
Erazex: At the crux of it, the head of the boarding school rants that they got students from Rae Bareli unlike others from Delhi! “Erazex” is the account of a boarding school teacher by Achal Prabhala, and takes one through the ups and downs of boarding school life (which is not a posh one, or the ones with students from Delhi!), and how some incidents can have a deep impact in the lives around you. “My attitude towards the students, and my feelings about their general self-development, mirrored their favorite word : Whatever” Imagine putting this to use for your day-to-day life. It fits well for me for several circumstances.
The book ends with a black & white photologue from Gauri Gill. Late night pictures of the food, drugs, and Sufi. Gives glimpse of a life not seen often.
Rating this book overall in stars does not justify the 5 stars that I would rate for some stories and the 3 for others. Haven’t read the other books in the series, but now I plan to. This book would be enjoyed more by people who have pored over the previous books of the series. If this is indeed the new writing from India, we need not worry about where the Indian literary is heading… (less)
"Howard Roark" from Ayn Rand's novel is a character etched in my mind. So there was a keen interest in knowing how would this book turn out. Atlas Shr...more"Howard Roark" from Ayn Rand's novel is a character etched in my mind. So there was a keen interest in knowing how would this book turn out. Atlas Shrugged did not live up to the expectations; and if you are someone ingrained or drilled with a certain philosophy of life and the works, do not read this one. However, there were so many quotes/discussions/lines in the book that I would read over and over again. Like the money speech from Francisco, the intellect one (There is no such thing as intellect. A man's brain is a social product picked up from those around him. Nobody invents anything, he merely reflects what's floating in the atmosphere), the John Galt speech, and many others. But, the length and the prose got boring for me at times. In the shoes of Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden we learn a lot about the motive and startling facts that cause chaos in the otherwise-normal world. Rand sounds optimistic and shows that in the characters that she sketches. But it gets too boring to read about this super-super human beings, and really sit back and wonder if they can exist. Men of this intellect and business approach, would they be worth waiting for? (less)