Try not to mentally draw comparisons between fire and graceling and you wouldn’t be disappointed with the novel. Ps: What is it with YA and its heroesTry not to mentally draw comparisons between fire and graceling and you wouldn’t be disappointed with the novel. Ps: What is it with YA and its heroes (no matter how drool worthy they are) just getting away with manhandling girls, pushing them against wall and all that? ...more
I feel like I got hit by a car, got rolled over by a truck and then got dumped from an airplane.
And, then I feel sad that it’s over.
That is what MargaI feel like I got hit by a car, got rolled over by a truck and then got dumped from an airplane.
And, then I feel sad that it’s over.
That is what Margaret Atwood does.
Every line you read feels like a whiplash and still you want to continue reading. You want to finish the book in one day, but the themes make you stop and think about it. She conveys such hard hitting messages through such simple words that it never fails to astonish you. She will have you mentally flinching all through the book, but that won’t stop the sadness from flooding in when the last page is turned.
Then there is the world she creates!
Remember the time when I said I don’t scare easy? Well, scratch that. Her writing, her predictions of the future fills me with such a dread every time I read it. It’s cold, ruthless and so believable. Be it the human element or the environmental/ecological part or even the religious elements, she has everything covered. I had to constantly keep reminding myself that it is not real.
Considering how I freaked I am, I don’t think I did a good job.
Basic storyline : The story starts where Oryx and Crake left off.
It’s the story of two completely different women, Toby and Ren. They have survived the epidemic (the water less flood) Crake created in the previous book. Like I said, they are as different as they can be. Ren’s story is narrated in first person and Toby’s in third. There is continuous juggling of their lives and experience as they explain how they survived. And defying all logic, everything seems effortless. The way their lives merge, and the way characters from Oryx and Crake come in the picture. It is so natural!
The familiarity of the world, with the gene splicing and paintball doesn’t make it any less scary. Jimmy is shown in a new light and it isn’t very flattering. Neither is the portrayal of human race.
There is one irritating factor about the book though. That would be Adam one. The preaching thing and the ‘dear mammals’ part was pretty annoying. Also the plot got somewhat chaotic towards the end. The climax was, well, it was very Atwoodish..
Still, nothings making me give this book anything but 5 stars.
PS: please read Oryx and Crake first because 1) Its an amazing book. 2) You would be missing a lot if you don’t.
Zadie Smith is clever with her parallels and is remarkable in the depth of her examination of race, nationality, religion, ideology, and various othe Zadie Smith is clever with her parallels and is remarkable in the depth of her examination of race, nationality, religion, ideology, and various other social constructs which dictate a characters life much like Marcus’s Super Mouse. The novel at its core deals with the immigrant experience and Diaspora, but also asks a lot of interesting questions. What I further appreciate is the way a neat solution isn’t handed to us on a plate, and even the very last line of the text upholds the ambivalence and complexity that characterise the clash of cultures.
Her style is witty, perceptive and sometimes extremely funny. Some characters remain better developed than others, but I don’t know if some of the two dimensional characterisations aren’t a consequence of satire. The narrative voice which shifts from sympathising with her character to mocking their idiosyncrasies within the breadth of a paragraph. It also provides some of the most interesting insights. For example “If religion is the opiate of the people, tradition is an even more sinister analgesic, simply because it rarely appears sinister. If religion is a tight band, a throbbing vein, and a needle, tradition is a far homelier concoction: poppy seeds ground into tea; a sweet cocoa drink laced with cocaine; the kind of thing your grandmother might have made.”
As the first book of 2016, White Teeth was perfect. I definitely want to read more books by this author. But that will have to wait till the tide of syllabus prescribed books has receded, and term papers have been tacked with. ...more
NEW YEAR RESOLUTION NUMBER 62: READ EVERYTHING WRITTEN BY CHAIM POTOK.
I think I might actually end up fulfilling this resolution (unlike most of the NEW YEAR RESOLUTION NUMBER 62: READ EVERYTHING WRITTEN BY CHAIM POTOK.
I think I might actually end up fulfilling this resolution (unlike most of the others), because “the chosen” was a masterpiece.
It's a poignant story about friendship, father-son relationship, about 2 Jew families on the other side of the Zionist movement and the reaction of American Jews to the horrors of holocaust. It’s about two deeply religious boys, trying to strike a balance between modernity and their deep rooted traditions, it’s about the influence parents have in shaping their children’s belief system. In fact, Chaim Potok encompasses so many varied topics with in this novel, and he does so with great expertise.
The tensions between tradition and modern American life are a frequent theme in any immigrant literature. Yet Chaim Potok explores this theme in an unusual and distinctive manner, focusing on the ways in which different Jewish communities react to modernization. He uses complementary and contrasting pairs of characters like Danny Saunder and Reuven Malter (and their fathers) to study the different ways of balancing Jewish observance with life in twentieth-century America.
Danny Saunder belongs to the Hasidic sect whereas Reuven is an orthodox Jew. At first glance, they seem as different to the reader as they seem to each other. But despite Danny and Reuven’s religious differences, each must deal with the fact that, by virtue of his birth, he belongs to the Jewish tradition. As Jews, both Reuven and Danny must deal with religious commitments and responsibilities that most children their age do not have to encounter. Both share an intense competitive drive and a fervent intellectual passion. This forges a friendship between them, which develops through out the novel.
Reuven and Danny’s friendship is like a breath of fresh air. They play a mutually beneficial role in each other’s life. Danny is interested in science and the humanities, while Reuven’s strength is in mathematics. Hence, they complement each other: Each teaches and is taught by the other and their relationship is delightful to the eyes! It is so refreshing to read about a set of friends, not bickering or gossiping and actually doing something constructive. If only more people were like them!
Both the characters have vastly different relationship with their father. While Reuven and David Malter have an open and free relationship built on mutual love and respect, Reb Saunders comes across as a tyrant. The only time when he speaks to his son is while teaching him. Like Reuven, I think it’s a very crappy method of teaching one to look into their soul. But, since even me and my dad can spend weeks not talking to each other when we are mad, I think I understand.
Again, David and Reb Saunders come across as poles apart. They share different views about the Zionist movement, about science and religion, and they frequently come into conflict. Still, as the novel progresses, one again sees beyond the superficial appearances to realize how similar they are. The message that, people are not always how they initially appear and we cannot dismiss that which we do not understand, resonate through out the novel.
In The Chosen, personal developments are intricately related to historic events. The first third of the novel unfolds during the Allied offensive in World War II, the middle third deals with the American Jewish community’s response to the Holocaust, and the final third is concerned with the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state in Palestine. These events are not merely backdrop for the novel, but contribute significantly to its plot and thematic content.
Okay, confession time!
My reason for immensely liking the novel might be briefly personal. The story of two adolescents trying to reconcile the idea of an all-powerful, all-knowing God within events of random, senseless suffering, struck a chord with me. I could greatly empathize with the struggle that the world’s Jews—and the characters in the novel—faced in the wake of the Holocaust. Chaim Potok raised several questions, which I myself have pondered countless times.
When does thinking for oneself become disrespecting traditions and deep rooted beliefs?
What is the worth of religious ceremonies and rules?
And, most importantly
If God existed, how could he let this happen?
If you have ever asked yourself those questions, you would love this novel!
If you haven’t (lucky you!) you would still love it.
Highest possible recommendation and 5 twinkling stars. ...more