I read this book almost two years ago. Over the two years, there have been certain images, and certain words that have stuck in my mind, and yet, I'mI read this book almost two years ago. Over the two years, there have been certain images, and certain words that have stuck in my mind, and yet, I'm having so much trouble articulating exactly how I feel about this work.
So how do I feel about it? In short, I loved it. I absolutely, without a doubt loved this book. But as a disclaimer, if you're looking for a book that you can flip through on your train home from work, then Midnight's Children isn't for you. Rushdie has written something so beautiful, that I think the only way to truly appreciate it is if you fully immerse yourself into this world of magic, and history, and uncoventional prose.
The concept of the story is simple enough: At the stroke of midnight, when India becomes an independent state, our protagonist, Saleem Sinai is born. We learn that the children born between midnight and 1 AM are all endowed with special powers. Saleem uses his own telepathy to connect himself with the rest of midnight's children to find out the significance of his powers. Saleem's life serves as an allegory to the history of the country.
I feel that Rushdie really knows how to entice the senses. Excuse the metaphor, but he makes love to the English language. He breaks all of the rules we've ever learned about sentence structure, and grammar, and blah blah blah, and in turn creates this world of lush imagery and colourful characters. A man having a nose bleed on a prayer mat. A doctor performing a phsyical on a beautiful woman through a punctured bedsheet. A man who owns a pickle factory. These are all seemingly mundane details that Rushdie breathes life and magic into. ...more
I really loved this book. I love Wilde's style of writing...very witty, yet poetic. The plot is very simple-- a portrait takes on the sins of its subjI really loved this book. I love Wilde's style of writing...very witty, yet poetic. The plot is very simple-- a portrait takes on the sins of its subject, while the subject doesn't age at all-- but Wilde brings it to life with his colourful characters and great imagery. I read this book without knowing anything about Oscar Wilde, and was actually very surprised by the homosexual undertones of this book. ...more
Imagine living in a hierarchal society. Now imagine that in this society, you are completely immobile; no matter what you do, no matter what your persImagine living in a hierarchal society. Now imagine that in this society, you are completely immobile; no matter what you do, no matter what your personal or profession merits are, you are stuck in your place. In this society, the top dogs, the head honchos are free to do whatever the hell they want, while the little guys on the bottom have to sweep away their own footsteps so as not to pollute the presence of the higher-ups. This is the caste-based society that Rohinton Mistry so successfully portrays in "A Fine Balance".
Mistry brings us into the lives of four dazzling characters. There's Dina Dalal who struggles to make ends meet. Renting a room in her flat is the young, sheltered, Manek Kohla who is forced out into the city by his parents. Lastly, there are the two tragic tailors; Ishvar, and his nephew Omprakash. Although each character comes from a different walk of life, their paths unexpectedly intwertwine. Mistry writes about the sense of friendship and family that they find in each other.
If the words "friendship" and "family" have induced some kind of gag reflex in you, I assure you this is not one of those books. A Fine Balance may very well be one of the most depressing books you'll ever read in your life. Mistry writes about disturbing themes like caste violence, political corruption, and death. If there's ever a time you feel down because something going on in your life, read a little bit about Om and Ishvar. I promise you, your life in comparison will seem like an episode of Carebears, or Strawberry Shortcake.
However, with all the tragedy and sadness that occurs throughout this novel, there is always a little glimmer of hope. Each character shows resilience in the face of adversity. Although Mistry gives us a bleak portrayal of the human condition, I can't help but feel awe towards the strength of his characters.
Okay, so I've read about a billion other reviews about Jane Eyre. I think of these billion, about half of them turn into comparive essays about CharloOkay, so I've read about a billion other reviews about Jane Eyre. I think of these billion, about half of them turn into comparive essays about Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen: who the better author is,what type of tea they drink, and why Lizzie Bennet can totally kick Jane Eyre's ass (or vise versa). Why can't Team Austen and Team Bronte get along? In my mind, both of these ladies are great authors. Both of them write great characters, great plots, and really mean social commentaries. Of course, both of them offer something a little different. Reading Jane Austen is like sipping a fruity martini cocktail--sweet, refreshing, and no matter how bitter things get, you always hit a nice juicy cherry at the bottom. Bronte, on the contrary, takes a darker, heavier approach-- like a shot of espresso on a rainy day. I also have to add that Mr. Rochester and Mr. Darcy are literary hunks. I'd let the two of them tag-team me any day. Jus' sayin.
For the people who haven't read Jane Eyre, without giving away too much of the plot, here is the low down. The heroine is Jane, a woman who survives a very rough childhood. She spent her childhood living with her miserable Aunt Reed and three very spoiled cousins. She is eventually sent away to boarding school where she is forced to overcome more obstacles. She eventually accepts a post as governess and captures the heart of Mr. Rochester-- an eccentric rich guy with a dark secret locked up in his attic.
I remember taking women's studies classes in college. When we did the unit on feminist writing, I remember reading that Jane Eyre was one of the earliest examples of a feminist hero (Lizzie Bennet was also one of them by the way.) When I had taken this course, I had memorized Pride and Prejudice front to cover, but I had never read Jane Eyre. I completely know what the buzz is all about.
Jane Eyre is plain. She is poor. But she is also intelligent. She has a strong sense of self. People that have criticized Jane's character have called her a "doormat" or a "prude". I don't think she's a doormat at all. I think that she is so tied down by her sense of duty as teacher, and then later as a governess, that she restrains a lot of what she has to say. And yet, since the book is written through her perspective, we know how intricate and deep Jane's thoughts are. There's always an inward battle between what she wants, and what she has to do. This plays such a significant role later on in the novel when she has to choose between the man she loves and her own personal convictions. If sticking to her guns is what defines Jane as a prude, then I applaud her for being one.
Mr. Rochester is also very plain. He's even been described as ugly. Bronte does such a great job with establishing Mr. Rochester's character-- through his speech, through his little mannerisms-- that soon after he's introduced, there's already a sense of intimacy with his character. If passionate declarations of love and wild kisses are your thing, then Mr. Rochester is the bachelor for you. There are several parts in the book that just gave me chills because of the chemistry between Edward Rochester and Jane. The intense passion between Edward and Jane puts shame to any of our modern romance novels-- and not a corset was ripped, or a skirt hem raised.
5 stars. This is one I wil reread over and over again. Just like Pride and Prejudice.