Of all the Stephen King's I've read, this one is slightly different. This one was a go-to novel as I wrote my own. You know what I mean? You are writi...moreOf all the Stephen King's I've read, this one is slightly different. This one was a go-to novel as I wrote my own. You know what I mean? You are writing a novel and you feel that satiation, you see all the ifs, saids and buts, and you think the whole thing stinks (to high heavens..) yeah, to high heavens, but then you start reading a novel, something that has been publishes, something that must definitely be good or why would some bespectacled and experienced publisher put it out there.
So you read and you see that you can see that the words, the sentences and the paragraphs dissolve away and you do see the sunny morning, the kids playing, the mother panicking, the blood stains on the carpet, the fucking undead and all that. You reassure yourself that the reader is part of the equation and that they would lose themselves in it. You believe.
There is raw violence in this book that may not have been so in his other horrific works (when I say horrific, I mean that in an adulating manner, of course). I have always wanted to write about a family, a happy family, so happy you see them kissing each other goodnights, they have their family dinner, they talk about school and the garden and what little baby wanted to plant in it. Then every piece of this happy family, every last piece of it goes to hell. Then there is more; they thrive, they tumble and try to make it work. Then you kick them in the shins again and see them go down. You see the tears of desperation in their eyes ('I just wanted a nice family in a nice little house'), but no, you keep kicking until there is nothing but the smell of tears and blood and desperation.
Well, I always wanted to write something like that but Stephen beat me to it. I'm not complaining because he did a great job.
I have this friend. Not sure if I can call her friend because we never really agreed on any other term other than penpals. We also agreed not to hit o...moreI have this friend. Not sure if I can call her friend because we never really agreed on any other term other than penpals. We also agreed not to hit on each other which turned out to be one of the most rational things that I've seen through. That doesn't happen often. I have had enough bad decisions to last a lifetime in the department of relationships.
So, she writes to me, "How come you haven't read The Catcher in the Rye". So I read it. Life changed after that. I started churning post after post filled with cynicism, hatred and a general distrust towards people. She yelled at me to snap out it. Sure it was a great book, but it's just not okay to get hung up over it for this long. So I did. Not before churning out half a dozen more of Salinger-esque posts.
A few days back, she said, "You should read Bukowski." I dropped every other book I was reading and got my hands on _Post Office_. Hey, when she says "read it", I read it.
I sat up all night to read it. I couldn't put it down, really. Son of a bitch trapped me and made me read every last word. I will have to read his other books too. And poems. Well, I can't stop now, can I?
If Hank Chinaski were my grandfather, I would be poor, working a day job and have probably a dozen different relatives tell me that he was a bad man with a lot of psychological issues. I would probably have genetic alcoholism too. I would still take up that deal if I could meet this character once.
He calls out things as they are. There is so much realism here that might wrongly be perceived as tragic. Chinaski is a self-loathing, alcoholic pervert and has a great chance of winning the "Maximum Number of Jokes at Inappropriate times" award.
Chinaski works as a substitute post carrier and has this conversation with one of the residents.
Where's the regular man today?
He's dying of cancer.
Possibly the funniest comeback ever. He doesn't know who the regular man is, of course.
I'm gonna read every last word this guy wrote. I wish I could meet him once. For a scotch and water. Bet he would probably leave me mid-conversation for a woman with "good legs, good hips and fair breasts".(less)
This book is rich in culture. Pakistani culture, sure, but let's face it, Indians and Pakistanis aren't all that different when it comes to the basic...more
This book is rich in culture. Pakistani culture, sure, but let's face it, Indians and Pakistanis aren't all that different when it comes to the basic lifestyle and the atmosphere of a regular day. We have the same cacophony of traffic, overcrowded streets, a busy and vibrant people unmatched by our western counterparts, an inclination towards recreational drugs that we have all done at some point or the other. See. We have our overlaps. Of course we have our differences, first of them being the overzealous patriotism in cricket which, frankly, is over my head.
Hamid tells more than showing. In fact, he simply puts up a chapter for every character, in first person and pretty much lets them go on a soliloquy, filled with their opinions on the plot thus far. That's... against everything Creative Writing 101?
Character arc? Hats off, buddy. Though you cheated with that first POV every few chapters. Well, Chetan Bhagat did it in Five Point Someone. And his other books, I think. It's a style, you'll say now, but it's not. It's in stead for poor writing skills. I am not going to be too hard on him for that, though.
But I'll say this, there is a Shantaram-ish vibe, less descriptive but just as culturally centered. Roberts did the same job without internal monologues from every central character so don't tell me it can't be done.
I'll be honest. I write reviews as I read the book, instead of making small notes. I wrote until this point before the ending. I'm not going to say a lot but I was surprised by the ending. I wouldn't say it is a twist but whatever it was, it fits very well. It feels like... the plot couldn't be any better.
I'll tell you why this book works. I've seen this before and I'll probably see this again. Well, maybe I'll write something along these lines. This book works because some of us crave for blood. Gautam (a friend, great guy, good conversations, open-minded, stumbling spiritualist) said he was disappointed with Keep Off the Grass. He said they wasn't enough blood. Not as much as the blurb promised.
Some of us want to read a book and see lives ruined. We want to see everything ripped apart and hope shattered. We want to see betrayals, murders and a whole lot of raw emotion.
**spoiler alert** Profanity and vulgar language with imagery. I couldn't fucking help it, really.
There are a lot of parallels with Ayn Rand's We the...more**spoiler alert** Profanity and vulgar language with imagery. I couldn't fucking help it, really.
There are a lot of parallels with Ayn Rand's We the Living but this one is more brutal. There was a bit of Russian culture in We the Living which made the whole thing bearable or less grief-y. Orwell spares nothing though. This entire theme, the whole set-up is fucked up.
You never fuck with someone's head, man. That's rule one. You don't make someone believe in something. The Party can do that too apparently. And talk about the ending. Fucking, depressing ending. I don't believe in that ending. I don't think I would let that happen if I were Winston. I wouldn't. No. Nope, never.
I don't know what to say. This book is just inhuman. The entire thing - it's wrong. You can't do this to people. You can't show them a fucked-up, oppressive government and then "Fear not. Help is on the way." And then go on to a depressing ending which just makes me throw up.
Don't give me the bullshit about 'realistic' ending. I'll tell you what is realistic. If someone (O'Brien) led me to believe in a revolution and then if that someone (O'Brien) goes on to capture me and torture me and finally try to pull out the rebellion from me, shit would go down so hard that someone (O'Brien) would be a splatter on the wall. My boot would be so up his ass, he would have to surgically remove his sphincter to avoid any further trouble. I would put the entire Party in the morgue and then their fathers' and their mothers' and their children and any fucking person who fucking thinks that they can fucking make me think what they want me to. Fucking O'Brien, man. Fucking sonovabitch. Fucking book sucks.(less)
**spoiler alert** Review contains expletives. Yes, a lot of them.
It's sad. It's very sad. It's very realistic too. It's got all these fancy, Russian n...more**spoiler alert** Review contains expletives. Yes, a lot of them.
It's sad. It's very sad. It's very realistic too. It's got all these fancy, Russian names and then it shows that only names are fancy. Wow. This book - it's fucked up, man. I hope that it's exaggerated cos if it's not I'm hanging myself. Or maybe I'll shoot myself. Or some insecticide would do too. Jumping off a building is an option, yes. I mean, I have always heard about communism and how people don't like it and all that. Hell, there is even a legitimate party here in my country that has communistic ideals. Nobody votes for them, of course. I thought it was all bull crap and over-reactions when it came to communism. I used to think, how bad can it be? Well, let me tell you. Very, fucking bad.
I never liked Ayn Rand much. Serious. She wrote like she had a...something up her ass. Kind of pompous. And spoke like that too. Now, before you start typing hate comments on this review telling me Ayn was a sweet person and that she deserved the Nobel Prize, let me say that my opinion has changed. I read her other book - Dickhead. Oh, I mean 'Fountainhead'. Dickhead was the lead character in it. Welcome to Jackass, this is Mr. Howard Roark. He likes buildings. He likes sex. He likes blowing up buildings. Meet Dominique. She gets raped - kind of - by this dickhead and decides she loves him. And then there is the newspaper guy. Wayne. No. Waynard. Something like that. He admires Roark. He fucks Dominique. Roark is okay with it, so is Dominique.
Yeah, I never understood that book.
Something else I have observed about Ayn is that there is always infidelity in the lead character and the lead character is usually based on herself. I didn't say it. I did not say it. Don't jump to conclusions. Or do, if you want to. Don't tell me I made you. I'm not saying anything about Ayn's character or her sexual preferences. All I'm saying is this: Dominique - does both Roark and newspaper-guy, and they are both kind of okay with it. Kira Argounova - does both Leo and Andrei. Leo is angry about it, though and she doesn't even flinch or apologise. In fact, she acts surprised that Leo is even bothered about it. Kind of supercilious, this Kira.
Halfway through, I forgot my reality. I was in a place where nothing is mine and nothing matters other the common good. The food was meagre and you got it only if you worked. I couldn't buy things or sell for a profit. After all, profit is only for me not for the 'collective'. All this might sound pretty lame. I mean, how many times have you heard about 'greater good'? That term will have a whole new meaning and an entire back story after you read this. Property, food, drinks, clothes, land - every fucking thing could be taken any time and redistributed to someone who came from a less fortunate family, someone who had it rough before the revolution, someone who did not have all the luxuries you had. (less)
A rough roller-coaster ride is what this book is, yeah.
Tune in to Jeffery Deaver and dance to his music! Oh, he likes a slow tune at first, sure. A...more A rough roller-coaster ride is what this book is, yeah.
Tune in to Jeffery Deaver and dance to his music! Oh, he likes a slow tune at first, sure. A bit of tap dancing to keep your feet warmed up. Maybe salsa for the emotional and romantic. Break-dancing? Well, we sure got a lot of that. Sometimes he cuts all the lights suddenly and lets you wander in the dark but don't you worry, he'll be back. And BAM! act-two twist, you book-reading smartass! Didn't see that coming, didcha? And BAM! again, baby, one more to keep you on your feet. And two more to keep you going. Drowsy, lad? Oh, we haven't even started the real dance, child. Wait till you get to the last coupla chapters. Better sit down too, drink some water. (less)
This could easily be the best Indian young adult book in the recent years. Not that this genre is terribly competitive, except for Chetan Bhagat who...more This could easily be the best Indian young adult book in the recent years. Not that this genre is terribly competitive, except for Chetan Bhagat who regularly churns out some variation of "geeky kid-beautiful girl- unprotected sex" crap. And then there is a group wannabe writers mostly from the IITs and the IIMs, who think their life story is so interesting that grammatical errors and terrible language skills ( shitloads of spelling mistakes in a published book; kill me now, please). Times like these, hope is bleak. Hope for original and honest works. Hope for real writers. ( Shame on you, Saumil Shrivasava. Shame on you for publishing something like this and openly bragging about it.
Enough about that crappy guy. Keep off the grass is original in every sense. The plot, the characters and the backdrop of things. The writing style is particularly good. It's creative too. An Indian author writing from the POV of an American born Indian and capturing the inter-culture issues that he faces, now that's quite a feat. Like Stephen King says, If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write. Karan Bajaj reads. And he must have read a lot. He brings in references of various characters he must have liked himself. And the title is really clever. And natural as you will see as the plot unravels.
I just hope that his creativity never flounders. I hope he writes in some other genres; with that writing skill, he should definitely experiment a lot before jumping into a platform of his own. This is a great read. He's an IIM guy but don't hold that against him. He isn't one of those guys. This is a real and talented writer. (less)
This book is a treat for Stephen King fans who, I would presume, must have read most of his famous books. He takes examples from them and explains how...moreThis book is a treat for Stephen King fans who, I would presume, must have read most of his famous books. He takes examples from them and explains how he came upon a certain plot twist or the reason for a certain character trait. It's a pretty straight forward book that tells you the reality of writing. It is not an inspiring read or even close to an encouraging one. But it is more - it is an honest take on writers and their trade. Anyone who is confused about their stand on writing, this is definitely for you. There are some harsh truths that will shake your confidence but fear not, King demystifies the whole process of writing and helps you see yourself as a writer in an entirely new light. (less)
One of my friends said she read this when she was about fifteen. I wish I had. I read this at the age of nineteen and I could still relate to it. And...more One of my friends said she read this when she was about fifteen. I wish I had. I read this at the age of nineteen and I could still relate to it. And I guess I'll keep reading this again and again, and no doubt I'll always be able to relate to it. This is one of those books that you either like or you don't. There is no middle ground. There won't be any "Meh. It was okay". You either love the sarcastic, terribly funny and cute bastard, or you hate that whiny, depressing sonuvabitch. Either way I think it's okay.
This book was supposedly banned in schools and colleges right after it came out. Big controversy. I can understand that. I mean, you don't have to ban fifty shades of grey. It's about sex, after all. But when a book comes out with a character so rebellious and realistic, you know your children are gonna want to be like him when they read it. But it's okay to be him. I think everyone should read this once and decide for themselves. The character is very powerful and life-like. After reading this I caught myself thinking at times, "What would Holden do?" and then I would chuckle. Holden will help you know yourself more than your psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are a bunch of phonies anyway. All they do is make you sit on a comfortable coach and then ask very uncomfortable questions, while they sit back and pretend to listen and care about you. (less)