Book Review: A Schoolboy’s Diary and Other Stories by Robert Walser (2013)

519joov12el-_sy344_bo1204203200_A Schoolboy’s Diary and Other Stories by Robert Walser
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

That is the most useful thing about school: It tires you out, upsets you, gets you going, it nourishes the imagination, it is the anteroom, the waiting room as it were, of life.

Neat Poster. And a far neater mind who put this right at the entrance of this school. Alright then, let’s get in.

Morning Session:

A gentleman walked into the class and took the teacher’s chair. He introduced himself as Robert Walser. Not bad for a name. He was impeccably suited, with sober, black buttons wrapping his moderate build but the creases at the wrist were conspicuous. Perhaps he writes a little more than everything else he does; he writes without care. Continue reading

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Book Review: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1914)

7588A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

APRIL 19 (Evening): Alright. This is insane. It has been almost eighteen, 18 (has more impact) hours since I sat down to scribble something about what is going on in my mind but the right words are still elusive. And this eluding is colluding my mind no bounds. No, I did not mean to create any sense of rhythmic rhyme here. Because life is no rhyme. And far from rhythmic. It is a battle – fierce, dark, compounded with many elements and munitions and machineries and what not. It is a forever raging battle where I always find myself fighting, well, ME. Yes, I am always up against myself. A Present ME vs A Future ME, A Strong ME vs A Weak ME, A Hopeful ME vs A Dejected ME, A Sure ME vs A Doubtful ME. The last one, seems, perennially raging, blazing like the eternal flame of a glorious soul. Ah, Soul . Why did I even write that word? While the whole world tells me it is the purest part of a body, the guardian of noble deeds and the first thing to leave a body that has rotten beyond repair, I have seen it the most corrupt. Continue reading

Book Review: The Loser by Thomas Bernhard (1983)

theloserThe Loser by Thomas Bernhard
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Grey – The color that most of the characters created during large part of twentieth century and whole of twenty-first century till date, are painted in. Cruelly banishing the evergreen Black and all-star White to secondary positions,Grey has risen in ranks to be the heroic hue of all ‘famous’ characters. The modern reader in me haughtily merges this contemporary thought into her conversations and discusses the ‘grey’ shades of the latest literary protagonist she has encountered. But the conventional reader in me? Oh, she curses! Throws slang, moans hoarse. To all those authors who wiped the clear, unambiguous White (read good) and Black (read bad) from her book world, she casts a teary eye and howls a simple question: Why?   Continue reading

Book Review: The Waste Land and Other Poems by T S Eliot (1922)

400412The Waste Land and Other Poems by T S Eliot
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thomas Stearns Eliot. A lot is hidden between those three words. A whole world perhaps. A depth measured by many oceans, a mystery viewed from bewitching lenses, a song marrying numerous notes, a candle thriving on inexhaustible wax.

During his writing season, that spanned over three decades, T S Eliot penned many evocative and luscious poems, with his pen always leaving a signature cryptic mark over his dotted sheets. Often a source of delusion to an enthusiastic poetic heart, his labyrinthine lyricism was like a lashing downpour on a parched heartland: one surrendered to the torrent at the risk of bearing undecipherable strokes on one’s soul. I belong to this clan. Continue reading

Book Review: Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (1912)

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My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

As long as we breathe, we live. We do not possess the power to embrace death at will. So, we live. And for living, we cling to a purpose. The purpose may be clear or clouded, animate or inanimate, expressed or hidden, stable or fickle but we have it nonetheless. Even the person accused of leading a purposeless life is surviving on the shredded purpose of vagrancy.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that even Gustav Aschenbach, notwithstanding the fame and dignity safely held in his bag of accolades, gropes for purpose in his new found state of ripe mind. Nothing is a bigger curse for a writer than to have hit a plateau from where all the previous works appear a distant dream and the present air leaves nothing for the fertile imagination to latch on. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARUKI MURAKAMI!

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幸せな誕生日、ミスター。ムラカミ!

Today, you turned 67 in your world and 5 in mine! And for the idiosyncrasies you have gifted me during this course, thanks a ton! I am going to post a longer message tomorrow since I am the cat in the alley is waiting for his food and the jazz vinyl keeping him occupied is going to be over in the next few minutes! So, yeah, tomorrow. But well, I made it a point to wish you today; isn’t that enough? 🙂

Oh, while I am away, do reiterate this article, authored by you a few years back; it never fails to inspire the reader.

 

[Image courtesy http://www.konbini.com]

Book Review: Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli (2011)

faces-in-the-crowd1Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Like Valeria, I stare at the faces in the crowd; the crowd of short paragraphs hurrying across the surface of this book, intermingling with the innate desire to escape the mound without any considerable collision.

Like each paragraph, I anoint a barren, precise tone; a tone synthesizing topical fervor and ornate truants, rendering authenticity to a near magical premise.

Like the topical fervor, I vacillate between two worlds; the fact that I am fictionalizing and the fiction that I am factualizing. Continue reading

Book Review: Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov (1953)

13558837._UY200_Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

The evening lessons were always the most difficult. Drained of ambulating the willing grey cells throughout the carnage of day classes, the young readers, almost resignedly, filled the quiet room at the end of the corridor. A subdued tête-à-tête, almost at once, broke into a charlatan laughter and the very next moment, died in their bosoms as Professor Pnin entered the classroom.

Straightening the meagre crop on his head and adjusting (and re-adjusting) his tortoise-shell glasses, he cleared his throat.

Pnin: Good Evening.

Class: Good Evening, Professor.

Pnin (cheerily): I am glad to see the attendance has brimmed to full today. [Pause] Alright then. Would all of you open your notes now? We shall take each one of your observations on Turgenev’s prose and discuss threadbare their meaning and implications on the Russian Literature fabric.

[Silence] Continue reading

Book Review: Satantango by László Krasznahorkai (1985)

17789849Satantango by László Krasznahorkai

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

For a rainbow-chaser and flower-collector, satan-tango is not exactly the kind of event to spend an many evenings on. The brightness is pleasing odour and the not-so-brightness is forever under verdict. But there I stayed; lurking under the disturbing, frequently tingling, always jagging edges of this strange melody oozing from the tango being played in a far land in Hungary.

In an unknown, abandoned terrain, the devil strikes my world with a soft morning hoot, a touch so ethereal, so cajoling that I should have upped my antennae at that very instant. But instead, I treaded idly on his tune; I had nothing to worry, my strong mind for support. Extending my hand and touching a dilapidated dream, trudging on the solidified ground of incurable despair and casting a long glance on overstretched alliances, I jingled along the bewitching tune wherever it took me. Continue reading

Book Review: Us by David Nicholls (2014)

21423525Us by David Nicholls

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Falling in love is a beautiful thing, more so when the love comes surreptitiously at your door which had opened many a times in past to find only empty autumns of loneliness and futile rains of solitude. Into such a heart, when love steps in, the heart does not remain the same, ever. Finding your reflection in another being becomes a hypnotic revelation,empowering you at once, to ironically, surrender your many identities to live in the nurturing shadow of your beloved. You accept sans hesitation, you relinquish without regret, you pursue without fatigue and you transform without ado. And when this spring continues to brighten your heart for seasons together, you lose track of the weather outside. You care no longer to check the forecast of the world beyond yourself, which still bears the unpredictability of floating emotional clouds. Being in love feels almost like a trance that you hope would never run out of steam.

But what if it does?  Continue reading