A very well written book. The story wasn't as breezy as I had expected , but was poignant and well-sculpted out , nevertheless. I felt bad for Naina fA very well written book. The story wasn't as breezy as I had expected , but was poignant and well-sculpted out , nevertheless. I felt bad for Naina for most part of the book and nursed a secret desire to hurl something at the selfish Micheal. So yeah, a book that makes a reader feel such things for the characters is definitely a good one ! The writing is simple and crisp.What I also liked was that the book went back and forth between the past and present, and that made the narrative interesting.
I remember a few bloggers reviewing Manju Kapur's books positively and had wanted to pick something up by her for the longest time. My library had a cI remember a few bloggers reviewing Manju Kapur's books positively and had wanted to pick something up by her for the longest time. My library had a couple of books by her and for some strange reason I was attracted to this book.Guess it had something to do with the fact that I was intrigued by the storyline- about a relationship an older woman has with a younger one and wanted to see how the subject's been handled by an Indian writer.
Astha is a middle class woman ,who lives in Delhi with her husband, two children and in-laws.She has everything a woman would need, but still has niggles of dissatisfaction bubbling in her. The story is really about how Astha changes from a unsure,college girl who has dreams of a mills and boons- type hero swooping in and carrying her away to a mature ,middle-aged woman who feels a little alienated in her marriage as time passes. Manju's writing is not spectacular ,but she adroitly captures the essence of trials and tribulations of a middle class family in the 80's. She takes time to build characters,but does a good job of keeping the reader glued to the pages. I am sure a lot of people will relate to a lot of things Astha or her family goes through like how they struggle to buy their first house or what is perceived to be the role of a woman in a traditional Indian household.
The beginning of Astha's "rebellion" against conforming to the norm starts when she starts taking interest in conceiving a play about the Babri Masjid troubles. She meets like minded people and drifts off into the world of activism.Her family's attitude towards her activism enrages her all the more and she inadvertently falls in love with Pipee, an NGO worker. Their relationship has friendship as a base and deepens into something more as time passes.The rest of the story is about what happens to the relationship between Pipee and Astha and also how Astha manages a double life- the life of a lover of a woman and that of a married woman with kids and responsibilities.
The intimate scenes between Astha and Pipee have been handled very sensitively by Manju,so have the incidents surrounding the Babri Masjid demolition and riots. At times Pipee came across as an overly selfish, immature person.she would have to be my least favorite character in the book. Hemant(Astha's husband) is portrayed realistically with many idiosyncrasies. Some might feel that Hemant's demands on his wife were excessively unrealistic,but I guess he represents how a lot of Indian men were like in the eighties. The backdrop of political agitation imparts a bitter-sweet tinge to the main story.
Manju switches from a third person narrative to a first person narrative (where she captures Astha's take on the activism directly) somewhere in the middle of the book.The abrupt change seemed a little weird and makes the narrative choppy. Overall, an okay read. Not brilliant,but entertaining and a thought-provoking piece of fiction.
Rating: 3/5 .I recommend it people who like Indian writing. ...more
Very fast paced book. Many grammatical mistakes and errors.Language is not great but editing is taut. i am giving it such a high rating because i coulVery fast paced book. Many grammatical mistakes and errors.Language is not great but editing is taut. i am giving it such a high rating because i could relate so well to it... blast from the past ! ...more
A super cute YA series! Susannah (Suze) is a mediator who can communicate with ghosts. She is 16 and moves from NYC to California when her mother reloA super cute YA series! Susannah (Suze) is a mediator who can communicate with ghosts. She is 16 and moves from NYC to California when her mother relocates to be with her husband (Suze's step dad)Little does Suze know that her mediating powers will be required at the new school she joins.Add to this , a bunch of motley step brothers,couple of "nerd" friends ,a cantankerous vile ghost and a friendly "hottie" ghost , and you have the perfect recipe for a fun-filled book.
I enjoyed reading the book immensely- it was definitely a breath of fresh air after a few boring books I've been reading lately. Suze makes for an adorable heroine..Meg's writing is fun and spunky. Oh, and there is a bit of humor in the book too.. What more could a girl ask for?
I must be the last person on the face of this planet to have discovered the magic of Harry potter books.It all started a few months back when a pesky I must be the last person on the face of this planet to have discovered the magic of Harry potter books.It all started a few months back when a pesky teen asked me if i liked Potter books .Having half-halfheartedly read a few pages almost a decade ago and seen the odd movie,I told her that i didn't. The kid's jaw dropped and she stared at me incredulously. "Dude,how boring.What kind of a person doesn't like Harry Potter?" She demanded, her nose high up in the air. I remember indignantly telling her something about choices and how all the five fingers on a hand weren't the same.Lame,I know. The result of all this was that there was a new resolve in me to somehow read a HP book.I started almost half-halfheartedly again ,wanting to hate the book. But,I just couldn't. This time around, I guess I've managed to see what millions of people like the kid that rebuked me see in the book. The book has managed to make me want to go to a school like Hogwarts so badly that I've been dreaming up my own versions of Harry's adventure. Oh,no..I am not joking here.
What a wonderful,fertile imagination JK Rowling must have to even have conceived such an adventure. And she doesn't compromise on development of any character by giving importance just to Harry. LOVE IT and am neck deep into the second part.. Highly recommended for Muggles like me who don't normally include Fantasy in their reading diet. ...more
Chitra Banerjee's book ,Queen of the dreams is deeply unsettling..There are no other words to describe the eerie feeling that shrouds me after i finisChitra Banerjee's book ,Queen of the dreams is deeply unsettling..There are no other words to describe the eerie feeling that shrouds me after i finish the book.. I got hooked on to her writing after Palace of Illusions and picked this one up by chance. The themes might be different,but the writing style is just the same.The same flowery language and the poetic narration with rich visual imagery that i found in Palace of Illusions is there in Queen of Dreams.
Rakhi is a single mother,a struggling artist and a cafe-owner living in Northern California, trying to make sense of her life.She has ambivalent feelings about most people in her life ,especially her ex-husband and her mother. Her mother is a dream interpreter who interprets dreams for other people and helps them face their fears .To Rakhi, her mother is an enigma.She craves to know more about her and be an interpreter like her mother,but fate has other plans. Rakhi isn't given the gift of seeing people's dreams.Chitra brilliantly chronicles the angst -ridden thoughts that plague Rakhi and surprises us with observations on human emotions.The narrative switches between Rakhi's point of view,a third person's point of view and the dream journals written by Rakhi's mother.
Rakhi's life gets complicated with the arrival of a new cafe opposite their shop.The manager of the cafe is out to obliterate them..Her mother passes away in a freak accident and everything changes around her.How Rakhi,her father and her friends save the cafe and Rakhi comes to terms with her life and her dysfunctional relationships with her ex-husband and her father forms the rest of the plot.The backdrop of September 11 attacks and the persecution of Sikhs and Indians that followed after the attacks have been used to weave the story.Of course,the book has a happy ending .But somehow as i finished the book, a sense of incompleteness lingered on. There were so many questions that i didn't find answers to.Like the significance of dream time and why Rakhi's mother decided to die.
Queen of Dreams is immigrant fiction at it's best and i loved the way Chitra has woven stories within the main story line. Fables about dreams and Indian kings lend to the effectiveness of the book. In fact,i thought that was the best part of the book.It gave an almost other-worldly feel to the story.Nothing about the book is luke-warm.It elicits a strong reaction.Also,the narrative serenades and takes it's sweet little time to build up to a crescendo.The pace is languorous at the best times and let's you savor the lovely words Chitra conjures up for you.Every single paragraph is lush with beautiful poetic words and similes and metaphors.You wouldn't want to finish the book fast.You would want to read and re-read every line to derive more sensory pleasure from the exercise.
Plot-wise i didn't think it was path breaking ,but the execution is so masterful that only someone as talented as Chitra Banerjee could have pulled it off with such a panache and flourish.
A beautiful book that get a 3.5/5 from me.I am not giving it a 4 only because i found Palace of Illusions better and i had given a 4 for that book. A must-read for all Chitra ji's fans. ...more