A tale of the city of mirage, a portrayal of human behavior, their spirit, a history of politics and love, all told when under the eternal influence of solitude. This enchanting epic is multicolored, kaleidoscopic and so magical.
What is Magical Realism? In magical realism nature doesn’t neutrally observe the survival of the fittest. Here nature is emotional too and it rains for almost five continue years to clean the blood of more than three thousand people. People aren’t surprised by flying machines because they have seen flying carpets before. Message of love is carried over by yellow butterflies and all the Buendias born around the world can be recognized by the solitary look in their eyes. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is magical realism at its best.
In this novel of the century, past intertwines with the present; time doesn’t pass by but moves in a circle. The progress only confirms the destiny of destruction. The first gypsies who arrived at the little town knew it all. Sir Francis Drake attacked Riohacha only to start the tale.
Wow, what a wife, I mean many a man would want such a wife. Those men who find the average women dumb. All men to some extent want to be baby sited. They do want to get spanked some time. And which wife will do so much to be with her husband and shape him according to her? So so much?
Many a woman dreams of having a husband prefect to them. At some point all of them want to dominate a little, have the final say at least at some particular area, and their effort to achieve that over their men is mostly emotional. But Nick Dunnes doesn’t care about emotion that much. They need thrilling Amy Dunne, the Ultimate Desperate Housewife. And why the name Gone Girl? I mean gone may be anyone else, not this girl.
But there again, in the process of changing someone else you get changed too. Love isn’t unconditional, definitely not. It forces both to compromise. So at the end it doesn’t look like it’s all sad for Nick Dunne. He has got a loving wife, above the average and really Amazing.
“What’s the next thing that’s going to kill you?” “If it doesn’t matter in next few minutes, it doesn’t matter at all.”
The process of becoming an astronaut is highly competitive and their job is highly dangerous and very testing. Space exploration is one of the most advanced frontiers of science. Astronauts need to go through years of rigorous practice for a single mission to make it successful and come back to earth alive. So much practice that responding to emergency situations properly within seconds becomes an intuition of the person. Many a thing that goes amiss during a mission doesn’t turn into a disaster due to the skillset of the astronauts. Though recruited at an early age, the average age at which an astronaut gets his first mission to space is thirty four.
This book isn’t entirely about the experiences or events during the space flights of the writer, except he equally describes the life skills he has learned through his training and space missions. Chris Hadfield is one of the first Canadian astronauts and first Canadian to walk at the space. One of the most experienced astronauts in the world; he talks about “sweating the small stuffs” or going through every little detail. During a spacewalk he got temporarily blinded caused by the detergent he used to clean the astronaut helmet. Also from ISS, the view of earth and the void space other side made him aware of the big picture. Though he got selected for space mission out of five thousand other applicants, he learned to help others to extend their skill cause it increased the probability of the success of the mission and his returning alive.
Decided to become an astronaut at the very childhood Hadfield became most competitive and collaborating with astronauts from different countries at the ISS, he became most cooperative. His stay in space taught him to care about earth and through this inspiring book in a lighthearted manner he talks about the proper attitude we should take to life on earth.
‘So there is nothing miraculous about these lamps?’ ‘Nothing at all.’ ‘What about the oil itself? Is it chrism? Olive oil from the Mount of Olives?’ ‘No it’s ordinary sunflower oil. Comes from a box in the sacristy. And who’s the Italian you were looking for?’ ‘Polo?’ ‘That’s the one.’ ‘He’s ... different.’ ‘And he told you this oil was miraculous?’ ‘I suppose he did, indirectly.’ ‘Well you can tell him from me it’s quite ordinary.’ ‘That would be a little difficult.’ ‘You say he took this oil east with him?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘What did he carry it in?’ ‘I don’t know. A goatskin flask, perhaps.’ ‘You still want some of this oil?’ ‘Please.’ I handed him a small plastic phial. ‘Not goatskin.’ ‘No. It comes from the Body Shop in Convent Garden.’
In the autumn of 1271 at the age of seventeen young Marco Polo, accompanied by his father and uncle started his journey from Jerusalem to Xanadu, capital of the great Mongol emperor Kubla Khan. In the request of the Great Khan, Polo took a sample of the oil of the lamp from Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and presented it to the Khan. Polo chronicled his journey in The Travels of Marco Polo, the first proper description of East for the Europeans.
One day while in primary school William Dalrymple did put some biscuits in a handkerchief, tied it to a stick and accompanied by a friend set off for China on foot. After dark fell, they returned home for supper and decided that China can wait. Finally in the recess before his final term at Cambridge, twenty one year old William Dalrymple collected oil from the lamp in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and set for Xanadu along Polo’s trail through Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and finally into China. After an exhausting journey through China he reached the ruined city of Xanadu in Inner Mongolia, beyond the Great Wall. There Dalrymple stood before the devastated throne of Kubla Khan, where probably Polo stood seven hundred and eleven years before and emptied his phial of oil from Jerusalem. Upon completion of the journey Dalrymple wrote his first book, In Xanadu: A Quest, an intelligent and gripping travelogue full of witty humours.
Marco Polo’s book made Europeans familiar with the little known East. Polo travelled along the Silk Road through the enormous Mongol Empire expanding from China to Turkey. In the world of 1986, the different races of Middle East have assumed their own countries and some of these are notoriously secretive to the outer world. Dalrymple’s journey through these countries after laboriously obtaining visas reveals more about the social tensions and daily life of its citizens.
Dalrymple entered Syria through the port city of Latakia, and travelled to Aleppo to describe the Islamic architectures in the city. For last three years the world has known these cities as killing fields in the Syrian civil war. At Sivas in Turkey Dalrymple traced the last Anatolian carpet manufacturers described by Polo and in Iran he saw a rich and very sophisticated society is being ruled by one of the most orthodox rulers. Entering China through the remote most Karakoram Highway he reached Kashgar, one of the cities farthest from sea. Contrary to Indian’s fondness for European beauties, the Uigurs of Kashgar found his travel mate Louisa very unattractive, ‘How could such inflated watermelons exist?’ While being chased by Chinese security police and crossing the mighty Taklimakan desert atop coal trucks Dalrymple unknowingly came across the secret of the secrets, the Chinese nuclear test site of Lop Nur and there quite accidentally found the radiation affected crippled population of Charchalik, a city of mutants.
An undergraduate student of history at the Cambridge University Dalrymple was not a hardcore traveller and in many occasions he admitted that the journey was becoming too hard for him. While Marco Polo’s book was purely an informative journal written by a merchant for other merchants where he describes what goods should be bought from an area and where it should be sold for maximum profit, Dalrymple’s travelogue is solely about the people and culture of those areas. Also every area William Dalrymple has passed; he has compared it with the description by Polo more than seven hundred years before and tried to find the remaining traces of histories in those areas.
City of Djinns is a beautiful travelogue on the city of Delhi. Dalrymple loves Delhi and with a sheer curiosity he discovers the culture and history of this ancient city. Anyone who reads the book is bound to feel sympathy and love for the city. Also there are beautiful and nostalgic illustrations made by Mrs. Dalrymple, Olivia Fraser.
It is said that there were nine cities throughout the history of Delhi which have left their impression of culture and tradition in the heritage of the city. With the energy of a discoverer Dalrymple tries to trace all the nine cities of history within the Delhi of today. The great Hindu ruler Prithviraj Chauhan and his Lal Kot, the sultans and their Tughalakbad, the Great Mughals and their Red Fort, Delhi of East India Company, the Delhi made by Edwin Lutyens under British Raj and post-independence the bureaucratic Delhi is described. Even Dalrymple tried to trace the great capital of the Pandavas, the Indraprastha under the modern city. Some events particularly impressed the course of history of the city like the transfer of capital to Daulatabad by Muhammad bin Tughluq, the massacre by Nadir Shah, the massacre during the 1857 mutiny, the partition of 1947 and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Dalrymple narrates the story within a timeframe of one year and with the progress of the book he describes the notorious weather of Delhi too. He gives an account of its maddening heat, the much awaited and always belated rain, the bone chilling cold and the very short lived autumn.
While looking for bits of historically retained cultures in the old city havelies, Dalrymple finds the Mughal tradition of pigeon fighting, the pigeon fanciers or the kabooter baz, the last direct descendant of the Great Mughals, the Sufis and their legends about Djinns and the mystic sadhus of Nigambodh Ghat. It’s a story of rediscovering Delhi through the eyes of a person amazed by its myths and the impression it gives is that of an ancient and culturally one of the richest capital city which is also some time very mystic.
So the curtain comes down, the trilogy comes to a thrilling end. Salander gets back all her right as a citizen and methodically gets even with all the conspirators in her life with “no compromise”. In this process she and her friends have been successful in shaking the government or the institution to its core. They have wiped out the whole Section.
Larsson’s theme along the trilogy is liberation of women from the dominance of men. He acknowledged that there is war going on against women and the female characters he created has almost waged war against men who are hostile to women. In this last book he talked about female warriors or Amazons. He had created more strong female characters who help each other every way and some time they are even physically stronger than their male partner.
Larsson decided to express his opinion through a thrilling trilogy and he didn’t live to see the whole world applauding to his story along with the message inlaid in it. So like million other brooding readers my Larsson experience ends here.
P.S. – With the end of the trilogy Larsson also decided to pull the plug on Blomkvist. No more fooling around. Probably it became really necessary.
Reading history probably could not be more interesting. An intriguing narration of the 1957 Sepoy Mutiny. Documenting the events in the way a modern journalist reports about war or a terror strike, William Dalrymple has narrated the events and the circumstances leading to the mutiny, the mutiny itself, the causes of its failure and the aftermath, even assuming its effect in the shaping of India.
What makes the reading a pleasure is the simple and sometime humorous tone Dalrymple has taken to describe the events and the curiosity with which he himself wanted to look into the events. In the book Dalrymple mentions that during the making of the book he has gone through a huge amount of Mutiny Papers which hasn’t been previously looked into.
Dalrymple says that his book is going to be one of the very few which describes the 1957 Mutiny from the Indian perspective but throughout the narration if anyone’s side he has taken, it’s of the Last Mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar ll. He describes Zafar’s personality extensively. A much praised poet himself Zafar’s patronage to the finer arts and his effort as a ruler to not let loose the binding between Hindu and Muslims in his kingdom is depicted. Dalrymple shows the vast enduring impression of the Emperor of India in the common men of 1857 even afar the intrusion of the British through Plassey hundred years before. He shows the huge expansion of the mutiny after Emperor’s decision to align with the sepoys and his senility and indecisiveness of old age which led the mutiny to failure.
After the oppression of the mutiny the English went on a rampage to destroy the ancient city of Delhi to dust and shoot every soul living in it. Thousands of civilians were massacred. It’s due to the effort of some sympathetic English officers that some part of Delhi, what we see today was left to stand. After a bogus trial the British exiled Zafar to Rangoon with his family and on 7 November 1862 at 5'o clock in morning in the age of 87 years Mirza Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar ll passed away ending the Mughal dynasty of more than three hundred years.
Completed the second book of the Millennium trilogy. This is much more thrilling and eventful than the first one.
This book is all about Lisabeth Salander. She doesn’t solve other’s mystery here. No Harriet Venger pops up here to steal the show. Here mystery and confusion arise surrounding Salander only and she along with others solves it. In the first book the focus almost equally got divided with Blomkvist but in this book the author has clearly shown that Lisabeth Salander is the central character of the trilogy. Here the childhood and upbringing of Salander is discussed extensively along with the role of different players in it. Her strong morality, her reasoning and her strong desire to settle the score with her abusers are the main driving forces of the story. She completes what she left incomplete on her 13th birthday.
Through his thrilling series author Stieg Larsson wanted to highlight the torture, inequality and injustice to women in the male dominated society. By creating some woman-hating character he showed how the medieval era mindset of some men is being the cause of harassment to women in their everyday life. How some men are still not ready for the idea of equality or their reluctance to control women’s private life. And at that point it seems he has created the character of Lisabeth Salander as a superwoman. She is stubborn, furious and will straighten things up.
“Lisabeth Salander hates men who hate women.”
This second book isn’t a complete story in itself. There are so many mention of the first book in it that sometime it becomes very important to know the previous story first. Also it doesn’t complete every event in itself. In the prologue of the book author shows that Salander is helplessly strapped with a steel bed in a dark room by a man for forty-three days. That is an event from the third book and in this book Larsson doesn’t tell us who the man is. But after going through the second book I can assume who this guy is. So I am definitely going to read the third and last book of the series to see how Salander straightens up her old enemy Teleborian.
An unputdownable gripping thriller, proceeds in a neck breaking speed. The whole series of events completes within a time period of almost only two days.
This is a very well researched book. This is a fiction but there are so many real facts that sometime it seems everything stated in the book is true. Actually Dan Brown has taken the popular mystifying myths and legends and assembled them with proven real facts with a masterly expertise. Through the adventure of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu the ancient and culturally rich cities of Paris and London becomes more mysterious as its ancient structures revel their long bewildering history.
There were enough elements in the book for it to become anti religion or anti Christianity or at least anti Church. But Brown made Robert Langdon take a neutral stance and recognized the role of religious faith and Church in the life of Christians to their journey to novelty.
This book heavily discusses and also depends on religious symbology which it seems was solely the interest of researchers and scholars, but with his gripping story Dan Brown has made everyone curious about this subject. In this book there are some references to Robert Langdon’s encounter with almost death at Rome the previous year. That can be assumed as a reference to the book Angels And Demons. So I think I am going to read more about Robert Langdon’s adventures exploring hidden truths in the symbols.
What’s your earliest memory? Do you sometime sit down and patiently try to recall your blur childhood memories? Does sometime a picture or a movement gets revoked in your memory like a tiny flash and startles you? Do you have an imaginary friend? If yes, how vivid is the person in your thinking? After completing the book, all these things came rushing in my mind. They played such important roles in this book.
Losing and then finding it is Khaled Hosseini’s favorite theme. At the starting at the little deserted village far from Kabul father tells Abdullah the story about the div and soon after my eyes begin to burn. I should know it’s coming.
Khaled Hosseini has not any more created the clearly bad character, the evil in this book. Before the starting he mentions those famous lines of Rumi on friendship and forgiving,
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
The characters tell their stories in the middle and all of them want to forgive and be forgiven.
At last Hosseini again completes the circle, finds the lost in his masterly, very appropriate and most logical way. But I have to say this time, the joy and comfort of new hope could not completely console the profound sorrow from what’s lost. Wish they could remember, both of them.
I have completed all three Khaled Hosseini books within merely twenty days. I learned a lot, my family has become more valuable to me. After his first book, the volumes of the books and the time frames have increased gradually. Probably his next book will come out at 2017 or 2018. Probably there will be a mention of Obama or the Arab Uprising. Up to then, I shall remember him and will wait for his book, eagerly.
In a contest of kites one kite cut another and the beaten kite with string cut flies out of control. Now someone have to run after the kite to collect it as a trophy. He is the Kite Runner.
Author Khaled Hosseini believes in humanity, to the purest form of it. In his novels he creates a character that represents the pillar of truth or flawless simplicity and sensibility. They are illiterate but understand more than the literates, read the mind of others so easily. Their simplicity makes them vulnerable to attacks from the evil, they get destroyed; but the idea of humanity is passed through generations. This novel is named after this character only, The Kite Runner.
Others get baffled by the simplicity of this character. They make mistakes but this pillar of truth, his unconditional love makes their senses burn them. As an act of self consolation they wants to deny everything, wants to get away from this character and that gives way to the rise of the monster.
But the strength of the simplicity is too powerful to be denied. It’s realized that the burning can be forgotten for sometime but it can’t be healed permanently. Redemption becomes so necessary and there’s always ways to be good again. Ideas from that pillar of truth only show the path to redemption. The healing is started with utmost patience. And thus humanity and sensibility takes over again, riding the line
It couldn’t be more painful, more logical or more sensible. It’s an epic. Lives of people, whole lives of them are tucked in-between those two covers.
Sometime in the middle I became so impatient, when the pain and panic loomed so large.There was moments of smile, relaxation, but at the next moment all the hopes were destroyed to the last. I began to think, this is impossible, life cannot be so merciless over someone, this is nothing but a story. Then I thought of course this is a story, when Khaled Hosseini wrote it, he knew that this is a story. But then I wondered what have he seen that made him so sad, so angry, so searching for relief? That he wrote such a story? He moved to US at 1980, what shook him so much?
We know of a person named Jesus who contained all the pain to teach other human beings what is right, what is sensible. Here Khaled Hosseini created a woman of same quality and named her Mariam.
Before reading this book what I knew about Afghanistan is those mountains of Hindu Kush and pakol wearing mujahidins fighting on those mountains, in a word Hindu Kush and Warlords. Never thought there may be people in there who despises war or who gave education to their daughter the highest priority.
When at last Laila holds the hands of her children and takes them to school in the morning, I could sense the sun is rising. I knew it will also rise over that willow circulated kolba over the hill near Gul Daman village. The drought has ended and it has rained. So the stream will not be dry any more. Someone will be happy.
For future readers of this book, I would like to say, you will become frustrated in the middle, will search for moments to smile, but hold on to the last. You will smile. This book is written to show what it is called Endurance.