Book Review: The World Doesn’t End by Charles Simic (1989)

book_worldThe World Doesn’t End by Charles Simic
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Throw a pebble into the pool and
see it dissolve into shimmering currents,
carrying burdens of ashen leaves that autumn
has swept beneath the silent tremors, teaming to cry
their laments; Or hide behind a ripe tree and cast a glance,
all the way to that faint window where a boy, on one palm,
is counting stars and fanning the other to soothe
his bruises and in his eyes, dances the night,
like a celebrating comet, about to go ablaze
in just a matter of Time; Time—
the lizard in the sunlight. 

Continue reading

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Karl Ove Knausgaard – A Chequered Enigma

No, it hasn’t anything to do with courage. It’s more that I was so desperate and so frustrated. The only way I could trick myself into writing was by ­doing it like this. By setting myself the premise that I would write very quickly and not edit, that everything should be in it. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

While I still look at this guy with apprehension, fighting an image of excessive palavering and reducible blasphemy, I can’t help but marvel at the above quote from this interview, which speaks exactly what I believe as a writer. I am reading you soon, Mr. Knausgaard; if only to assess the veracity of the above statement.

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

 

Book Review: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

4981Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kurt Vonnegut. Four syllables, once pronounced, suspends in the air like a rock star swishing his name into the air for chanters to latch on and treble the echo. Slaughter-House Five, god knows how many syllables (depending on stress-points of your tongue), once sprinkled from the nozzle of mouth, hangs again in the air like a vagabond wrapper not finding a parapet to land. Perhaps both could have gone their way and not bothered to float into my fairly tranquil world. But they chose to break the silence. So it goes.  Continue reading

Book Review: Stoner by John Williams (1965)

51nu26thj-l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Stoner by John Williams
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a child, I had a thing for inanimate things. A sling, a pond, a pebble, a mica chip; they would catch my attention and hold it hostage. I would play for hours together with these silent, placid beings, drawing great solace from their harmless, non-fluctuating colour, and intention. Occasionally, a friend or two would drop in and ask in mock incredulity, ‘Don’t you ever get tired playing with them? They neither move nor speak.’ I wouldn’t answer. Only under my breath, after their departure, would pass a smile of assurance and utter, ‘They do.’ Continue reading

Book Review: Life and Times of Michael K by J M Coetzee (1983)

Life and Times of Michael K by J M Coetzee
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

“War is the father of all and king of all. Some he shows as gods, others as men. Some he makes slaves and others, free.”

But how does one differentiate between The Slave and The Free? Is that Man a slave, whose captivity by the victor frees him of his worldly expectations? Or should we call that Man, free who has no kin to bother about since they have all been enslaved in the war fire? Is it possible to live a life without succumbing to either side? Or is it inevitable to be one without being the other?  Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, J M COETZEE!

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Coetzee!

It’s a day late but not more can pass without I sending you a birthday wish. I met your pen only last year; a delightful meeting by all means. I found your pen, by which I measure all the writers, with a visibly lackluster body but an impeccably sharp nib. That something so plain and vanilla can burst into something so searing and aching was one of the high points of my last year’s reading. I am reminded of Life and Times of Michael K with a muffled groan; a groan that Michael never released but a groan that filled my innards with abhorrent vulnerability. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAMES JOYCE!

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Happy Birthday, Sir Joyce!

Its a bit of an injustice that you never lived long enough to see me, since if you had, you would have felt pleasantly proud and inflated in nurturing vanity at the sight of a fan so bewitched that she continued holding onto your works for almost an entire year, fearing if she let go, she might lose a part of her insanity.

Yes, I share your insanity; that dogged, rigid, stain-like thing which revels in its unfathomable DNA and sticky demeanour. Many a scholars and historians, academicians and mere admirers, have written pages and pages about you – about your life, your death and everything in between. But for me, you lived beyond all of them. Continue reading

Book Review: Ulysses by James Joyce (1920)

516vwb46y3lUlysses by James Joyce
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some works are not written; they are lived. The authors write not with ink, but with breaths. Every breath that finds its way in, sucks in a piece of the world and releases it into the author’s being, letting it permeate, gauge, prod, absorb and contemplate, and packages it like a farewell gift onto the back of the breath being puffed out. And since the saga of this breath-taking game continues for a few years till the red starts blinking, we get a work that resembles distilled crystals, found at the end of a purification process of worldly chemicals.

Fuelled by my love for Stephen , when I instinctively picked up Ulysses to read last year, I knew I was entering a labyrinth of diverse and encrypted observations, thanks to its inescapably cult reputation. I was aware I won’t understand half of it. And I felt okay to be in that space. Continue reading