Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
When the weapon inflicting a wound is done with its work, it hops onto to its next victim with a repugnant nonchalance. It doesn’t look back, it has barely any emotion. But it does not do the disappearing act before leaving behind the story of the ‘scar’ – the scar hidden inside the wound. And the thing about scars is that they are permanent, or nearly so.
Nathaniel was unfortunate to receive one such scar early on in his life, in 1945, when he was 14-years old to be precise. Continue reading
A very happy birthday, Mr. Marquez! The first ever love story that cemented the emotion in my heart came from your pen. And it still is the best.
Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Wanting to play chess against yourself is a paradox, like jumping over your own shadow.”
But what fun is life if words like manic, insanity, paradox and contradiction are not put to test once in a while? Even at the cost of years of discipline and rationality?
Stefan Zweig surely put his own constructs up the wall when he created this ingenious piece of art. Yes, it was pure art; outright splendid form of art that overwhelms the realms of conventional thinking and forces the mind to stretch itself.
A World Chess Champion, heralded as one of the best ever to play the game, in his casual quest of pocketing a few dollars, enroute to a tournament, encounters a sudden change of fortune, when a remarkable twist of moves from a rather ordinary looking, albeit a tad hysterical, middle-aged man, hands him his first defeat in many years. Continue reading
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.
Flipping through the pages, my heart leaped many times; those waves bearing the ring of countenance were from still stream but the ones with ripples of accusation roared thunder. Accusation? Accusation hurled towards whom? The fictional characters delicately brought to life by the stinging brush of the author or the guilty, manipulative, egocentric, conceited character of mine? Did my fingers pause typing these words defining myself? They did. And it also confirmed my worst fears: I am no angel and the pristine white enveloping me is a well-fabricated dwelling that I carry with temporary aplomb, aware somewhere deep inside that some of its bricks are turning cancerous by my vices. Continue reading
Bonsaï by Alejandro Zambra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What does a resonating journal do? Arrest us in the powerful aura of words? Dispatch us to the comforting cocoon of our memories? Render a blanket of dignity to our failures? Exhort our fledgling dreams to a palpable fruition? Cast a succor net on our isolated struggles? Attest our timidity as a prelude to stronger days?
For me, it’s essentially about reading about a distant ‘me’, the identity of this ‘me’ to be an inhabitant of past corridors or a tenant of future roads being inconsequential. As long as I detect a shade of me in the journal’s evocation, I am obsessed to read till the last drop of ink has faded. And Zambra doesn’t do anything much, besides telling me a story about Julio, who could well be sitting across me in this cafe and reciting the content, verbatim. Continue reading