It takes me many a re-reads to comprehend Gabo's unusually long sentences, but the fabric of thoughts that he weaves is so exquisite that it is so worIt takes me many a re-reads to comprehend Gabo's unusually long sentences, but the fabric of thoughts that he weaves is so exquisite that it is so worth it. I have always pictured him writing these sentences in a jiffy, from start to end, capturing an unique and utterly amazing stream of thought accessible only to him, and concludes by putting his pen down, with a smirk that he shares with his rose flowers, suggesting that he is done with it; whereas now it is left to the readers to take their own time, and let them labour sweetly to ingest them.
For example the brilliant closing lines from the brilliant Autumn of the Patriarch ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aut... ) ".... an old man with no destiny with our never knowing who he was, or what he was like, or even if he was only a figment of the imagination, a comic tyrant who never knew where the reverse side was and where the right of this life which we loved with an insatiable passion that you never dared even to imagine out of the fear of knowing what we knew only too well that it was arduous and ephemeral but there wasn't any other, general, because we knew who we were while he was left never knowing it forever with the soft whistle of his rupture of a dead old man cut off at the roots by the slash of death, flying through the dark sound of the last frozen leaves of his autumn toward the homeland of shadows of the truth of oblivion, clinging to his fear of the rotting cloth of death's hooded cassock and alien to the clamor of the frantic crowds who took to the streets singing hymns of joy at the jubilant news of his death and alien forevermore to the music of liberation and the rockets of jubilation and the bells of glory that announced to the world the good news that the uncountable time of eternity had come to an end."...more
I got the first edition of this book more than 10 years back. I have read (and re-read) the series in book in parts over the years, and every time I wI got the first edition of this book more than 10 years back. I have read (and re-read) the series in book in parts over the years, and every time I was impressed by the scholarly mastery and precision of the author. This arguably, is `the' most important text in computer science.
AOCP, along with Computer Algorithms by Corman, Leiserson and Rivest are the first books I turn to whenever I have an upcoming challenge or interview. Pinnacle of Precision! ...more
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to always tell the difference."
Vonnegu"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to always tell the difference."
Vonnegut, knows that he is probably helpless to prevent future massacres. But he can tell his kids, the people around, and us his readers, that massacres (and wars) are futile. Specifically that:
"There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre, Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to very quite after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds.
And what do the birds say ? All there is to say about a massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet?"
"So it goes!", recurring phrase Vonnegut uses, every time a death across in this book, is probably a reminder (re-reminder, (re-re-reminder ... )) to us how trivial we treat the death (or the news about it) of another person, succinctly valid for a generation like mine, who grew up playing first person shooter computer games, and numbed by the stories in media about mass deaths of people in terror attacks by groups and governments 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' etc.
The structural mastery of this book is how Vonnegut lets two antipodal outlooks clash; the first view addresses our impulsive, short visioned and adrenalin-driven primordial instincts to pick up fights, whereas the other one addresses the escapist, deterministic and rather boaring four dimensional world of Tralfamadorians. In the process, he creates some genuinely hilarious moments, but at the same time always subtle reinforcing the central thesis that there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.
Albeit all the seeming craziness, I felt `Slaughterhouse five' is a very honest book. The author really cared about the narrative he was telling, he wanted as much people to see his point and there lies its genuity. So it goes! ...more
Wow! Pedro Paramo is deep, intriguing and poetic. This book is a real bombshell! It finds its place right in the very top of my mental stack of best rWow! Pedro Paramo is deep, intriguing and poetic. This book is a real bombshell! It finds its place right in the very top of my mental stack of best reads.
One of the motives of art/literature is to challenge the viewer/reader. Make us ask questions, shift us to a new perspective, shatter some of our platitude and take us out of our comfort zone. Pedro Parmo does all of these in ample amounts!
The book starts as a first person narrative of Juan Preciado, who is visiting Comala to meet his father Pedro Paramo, to uphold the promise that he gave to his mother on her death bed. On arrival, he realises the village to be desolate and haunted, often meeting people from the past. At some point in the novel, the narrator dies and novel shifts its narration to a third person perspective, and progress interlacing details about purgatory and the distraught tail of Pedro Paramo.
The impact of this novel in me (especially during the course of my reading) was deeply perceptual & aesthetic than cerebral. I was caught in the emotional whirl-wind of the inherent violence, anguish and passion that oozed out through the title character (maybe superficially similar to Healthcliff in Wuthering Heights). Only once I put down the book and started to think further, did the magnitude of achievement by this book started to dawn on me.
The ease at which story crosses boundaries and breaks conventional (or common) rules of narration is remarkable. Almost all of the conventional anchoring mechanism in a story (place, time, narrator etc.) kept hopping around, but never was it out of harmony or loud. A remarkable achievement indeed! ...more
Ah.. There is very little prose, which may be as lyrically structured as that of Marquez's. There is very little prose, which describes the state of lAh.. There is very little prose, which may be as lyrically structured as that of Marquez's. There is very little prose, which describes the state of love sickness more beautiful than that of Marquez's. Especially while I was reading the initial passages of this book I "sighed and sighed and sighed ...".
One of the amazing skills of good story telling is to make and break biases. This skill is exemplified by the author's ability to weave out intricate patterns, but only to unwind them later as you move along the story. I have the habit of categorising people according to 'my' mental gauge meter. And alas! I found my state akin to that of a delirious, intoxicated and inept sea captain navigating using his poorly calibrated sextant. Watch out for a whole lot of inconspicuous psychological traps / paradoxes introduced intentionally by the author.
Novel captures the full continuum of manifestation of love. Traversing this continuum, I think is the heart and purpose of the novel. The told story, its characters and incidents are vehicles which takes us through a fascinating and highly rewarding tour of this landscape. ...more
The story of a butler as he recollects his past life. Told from a first person stream of conscience narrative. Brilliantly cross-sectioned the thoughThe story of a butler as he recollects his past life. Told from a first person stream of conscience narrative. Brilliantly cross-sectioned the though process, motives, apprehension and sorrows of the protagonist. Fine writing!
I followed the reading session by the wonderful movie adaptation by Tarkovsky! Real privilege to see the twoIt was brilliant, intense and provocative!
I followed the reading session by the wonderful movie adaptation by Tarkovsky! Real privilege to see the two masters at work at the frontiers of human creativity and knowledge, expressing their craft and pushing boundaries, one sculpting through words, and the other with time!
"The fate of a single man can be rich with significance, that of a few hundred less so, but the history of thousands and millions of men does not mean anything at all, in any adequate sense of the word. " - snippet from the book ...more
It is not a story that have stayed in my mind ( I am writing this 6 months after I read it). Also, I felt the book was a bit emotionally manipulative,It is not a story that have stayed in my mind ( I am writing this 6 months after I read it). Also, I felt the book was a bit emotionally manipulative, though there were a few good moments to cherish. My initial reaction was to give it two stars, but giving it my benefit of doubt and moding it up to three. ...more
I have special corner for Latin American fiction. This is partially due to similarity poltical history and (non?)-surprisingly similar literary treameI have special corner for Latin American fiction. This is partially due to similarity poltical history and (non?)-surprisingly similar literary treament used by the story tellers of Kerala (who are non-parsimonious in their usage of fantastical elements in otherwise plot-driven stories).
Thus, reading 'The House of Spirits' was indeed a rivetting experience for me, and I was quite swept over by the earnestness, passion and urgency that oozes out from Allende's prose whilst telling the story, and was mesmired with the flamboyance of her sudden and short-lived overtures to the magical spaces.
At its heart the book is a family anthology that streches over three generation, but often poltical fabric and events snatching the center stage (analgous to the what transpires in reality). Some of the events, I could build direct isomorphism to events that transpired in India during emergency period.
In short, it is a style I like, and a type of story I readily identify with, and ticked all the relevant boxes. ...more
The Secret Scripture refers to a diary kept by a 100 year old woman, Roseanna. She is a resident of a mental asylum for the past 50 years or so. InterThe Secret Scripture refers to a diary kept by a 100 year old woman, Roseanna. She is a resident of a mental asylum for the past 50 years or so. Intermingled with it is the notes by chief doctor at the hospital, Dr. Greene.
Roseanna's memories of her early life, despite weathered by passing time, remains vivid and poignant. Hers was an ordinary life that got lost in the whirlwind of political turmoils and petty prejudices. The sheer raw beauty of prose through which her memories are made up of is nothing short of astonishing!
Whereas Dr. Greene's narrative is juxtaposed with journalistic and pragmatic reportage about various logistic details he has to resolve, and an inward and self-centric track, generous in self-pity as he is grieving the recent loss of his wife. The author braids these three narratives and pulls off a real heart wrenching tale.
I was a bit ambivalent about the end for the first couple of days after I finished the book. But then I have come to accept it and in fact like it. And that is the real magic of fiction, isn't it ? ...more