Sketching the picture of a scanitly provided for hospital and the dilemmas of a doctor working there, the book is very much like Graham Greene's 'The...moreSketching the picture of a scanitly provided for hospital and the dilemmas of a doctor working there, the book is very much like Graham Greene's 'The Burnt out case'. It presents the story of a doctor who is apparently running away from the troubles of his life. Frank tries to find refuge in a rural hospital where he hopes to forget his own troubles while solving those of others. However, when he joins his postion, the conditions are in total contrast to what he'd expected - he has unknowingly chosen to work in a dilapidated hospital which doesn't see many patients and has insuffient medical supplies and technology to treat them.
He becomes complacent and is only slightly shaken when a new volunteer Laurence Waters joins the hospital and becomes his room mate.
The book presents predicaments of people living in war-struck areas: some of them having succumbed to circumstances, some clinging to hope and optimism, some choosing any means to meet their needs, while others utterly blind of the pains of their counterparts. (less)
A gripping novel. 'Unputdownable' yes. Has an ending that takes you back to the beginning and literally so. Mohammed Hanif's craft at story telling is...moreA gripping novel. 'Unputdownable' yes. Has an ending that takes you back to the beginning and literally so. Mohammed Hanif's craft at story telling is spellbinding. Specially towards the end - chapter 26 onwards - my curiosity was at the edge. From the beginning to the end the book is elaborate in its surprises. And the petition by Joseph Bhatti in the end is quite tactfully placed. Gives a whole new outlook to the novel.
Hanif draws a vivid and sadly, a true picture of the state of affairs in our country from a welfare hospital to a police agency, the attitude of common people towards the so called low-caste and even more so with people of minority religion doing lowly jobs. Also, allusions to people of different and often contradictory religious mind-sets highlighted in the novel voice a serious issue prevalent these days - issues that arise due to non-acceptance of multiple interpretations of faith, making immature and groundless judgements about the right and the wrong path and then the confusion which springs because of fake'aalims' caliming to have done miracles fogging the truth of 'real miracles'... In short, the book is all encompassing.
It takes us and lets us meet those Karachiites who are living such a dreadful life we can not even dare to think of. A very exciting read it is. A mix of bitter-sweet emotions. (less)
Initially, I had found the book easily-put-downable. However, there were two things that kept me thumbing through the pages. Firstly, this verse:
And e...moreInitially, I had found the book easily-put-downable. However, there were two things that kept me thumbing through the pages. Firstly, this verse:
And each man kills the thing he loves, By all let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword.
My first impression to it was, "That's a total lie! It can't be true for everyone." But as I'd turned over the page, I found out that the master (J.) of the protagonist (Paulo) wanted this curse to be broken. And I, in turn, wanted to see how this would be done.
Secondly, it was the character Chris (the wife of Paulo)who kept me riveted to the book. Somehow, in some aspects, I could see a reflection of myself in Chris and so I wanted to know how does she overcome her flaws.
As in all his other books, Paulo invites the readers to love, be courageous, and dream!(less)
Set in 16th c. Mughal Hindustan, it is the story about the love between the artist and his master. Bihzad is as perfect in his art as his namesake. He...moreSet in 16th c. Mughal Hindustan, it is the story about the love between the artist and his master. Bihzad is as perfect in his art as his namesake. He is expected to be the next Khwaja in Akber's court(his father being the predecessor)but there's a rival, an Afghan who through his subterfuge manages to get Bihzad exiled. The punishment sends Bihzad from the secure walls of Agra to the fickle sands of a desert. Torn away from his master, Akber, Bihzad tries to adjust to the new contours of his journey and goes through a mix of happiness and pain but more of the latter. During his journey he experiences various phases of his artist self. He abandons art initially but lifts his pen and draws portraits of his patrons, becomes the Khawaja of a Hazari Prince and draws animals of menagerie to please him, but events bring him to a point where he attempts suicide but is saved. Later he dicides to go blind and stop drawing again. However, after surviving yet another storm of his life he goes back to Agra. Akber is in his deathbed and Bihzad will draw again for the master. Through this story, Kunal Basu opens some windows to the culture of Mughal empire during Akber's reign; life in the court, practice of religion, the culture of slave girls and eunuchs, trade and art of the time etc. Perhaps it would be wise to read the novel without getting judgemental unless one has substantial knoweledge of the history and culture of the Mughal empire. I personally found the book interesting because of its references to some cultural and folk symbols. Brief references to Simurgh, the Persian mythical bird; Safawi personalities, Shireen and Farhad, folktale characeters; and the use of Persian words made me interested in the history of the Mughals and the Persians. My favourite lines from the book: "The world can live without a great artist, but it can't live without hate." -Salim Amiri(less)
Zafar, Maheen, Ali and Yasmin. Karim, Raheen, Zia and Sonia. Two quartets about to face the same fate but thank God history doesn’t repeat itself in i...moreZafar, Maheen, Ali and Yasmin. Karim, Raheen, Zia and Sonia. Two quartets about to face the same fate but thank God history doesn’t repeat itself in its totality. I had half believed that it would. That there would be partner swapping again but thankfully things take a nice turn.
Kartography is a gripping novel. It brings forward a new meaning of maps. Maps as real storytellers which remind an individual of his situatedness in the bigger circle where he finds himself connected to a beggar girl of Kharadar, a car thief in Mehmoodabad, a dying patient in a government hospital and a flower-boy somewhere. Despite their role as connectors, the two main characters of the book are pulled apart by Cartography. Karim wants to make a map of Karachi to note down the name of every small street that exists in it. However, Raheen wants the stories – the heartbeat– of the city, Krokola, Kolachi, Karachi...
The book was an extremely amazing read. The events of 1971 that it recalls sound similar to what is happening these days. The conditions have worsened but despite this, the nature of the city to make intimate the stranger has not changed but then the intimate has also started feeling stranger here. (less)
Kate is an ambitious, passionate, creative and energetic woman who is determined to do something big. She falls in love with Peter, a book agent, and...moreKate is an ambitious, passionate, creative and energetic woman who is determined to do something big. She falls in love with Peter, a book agent, and marries him. Recognizing her own natural talent of designing and beautifying things, she opts for a course in design and becomes amazingly popular and succesful in no time. But soon her happiness is subdued by suffereing.
My favourite lines from the book: "If you followed your dream and ignored the prosaic dreams of others, you came to be alone. And loneliness was not for the weak. You had to be strong to choose passion. It was the timid who sought refuge in reason."(less)