Book Review: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (1978)

41jpcevUGeLThe Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

On an unusually upbeat evening, I was winding up from work. The recently bought, crisp, intense 300-pages long fictional drama, that I had left, tantalizingly, at the 273rd page the previous night, was softly tip-toeing in front of my eyes. The unread pages were already floating invitingly in the evening breeze and I could not wait to reach home for resuming the date. When I was just stepping into the lift, I received a call from a friend, a bibliophile in fact. ‘Hey! Do you know they are closing down L_____ ?! Can’t believe it man! I am .…….’

I was not listening. No more. The words that reverberated, at first, in concentric circles and then, suspended frozen, were‘closing down’. That place; so many books, so many friends, so many chuckles, so many revelations, so many years, so many memories….. so much, no more. The floating pages dropped dead, the tantalization turned grievous and the upbeat became deadbeat in an instant.

For many of us, a bookshop is the second home; for some, the first. Continue reading

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Book Review: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (1929)

41Ba82VmcdL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear Mr. Rilke,

Assuming it to be a frequent phenomenon with you, I partake in pleasure and liberty of appointing you the receiver of yet another letter, from a besotted admirer of your wisdom and expression.

You see I have always felt that the best stories are those that we wish turned true; stories that uplift us with their depths and spring us back to the surface to stay afloat; stories that carry our thoughts in their seams and weave the most warm blankets to protect us in the winters of life; stories that complete the half-drawn picture, packing us to a destination of solace.

But above all, a story works best when the mind inking it knows its reader like a best friend; knowing when to let her be and when to rejig her. Continue reading

Heroic Conflicts in Chennai Floods

Fear and Pride.

How often do these two words go together? Like two best friends? I haven’t seen many such pairs. When fear enters a mind, it drives everything out. And when pride makes it in, it usurps everything inside. A fearing mind is never proud and a proud mind is never fearsome.

But during the last one week, I saw both the emotions acting like twins; they were together, residing in me, in full vigour, one never without the other.

I am currently in Chennai. And my city is battling her worst flood in 100 years. The rains, which are rare and fleeting guests to this land, came early last week, and stayed. And unleashed their fury, almost with a venomous vengeance. Continue reading

Book Review: Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985)

love_in_the_time_of_choleraLove In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

When glistening drops of dew swivelled across the leaves,
When hazy films of sun lifted their candid veils;
When morning spring walked the aisle of the autumn road,
I saw a face whose reflection, since years, I have behold.

In envious vanity, she swayed her hair,
In rapturous youth, she erred everywhere;
But stoic her nod was to my pure passion
Which sent me blazing waves of heartburn.

Running behind her, became my moral;
Worshipping her being, was a religion;
In those auburn eyes, my heart would lie still
And yet it would flutter, like about to begin. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN BANVILLE!

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Lá breithe shona duit, Mr. Banville! Err… Mr. Black, too!

You are a gorgeously enigmatic man, my dear Sir. You write some of the most beautiful lines and then disown them with condescension of a stereotyped stepfather. You sprinkle scents of honour and merit on your mentors and then spray an obnoxious liquid into their laminated alleys. You switch identities with Benjamin Black and live a swift life of a brooder and criminal with surprising ease. Ah! You have kept me captivated with not just your fictional exploits but also your factual stunts. And somewhere, I know, this string of unpredictable behavior is a culmination of your restlessness. You have been forever on-the-go; pausing in life was never your thing.  Continue reading