Book Review: This House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab (2017)

THIS House of Clay and WaterThis House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forbidden Love – A diktat in itself, unleashed on unsuspecting hearts like an ouroboros where forbidden swallows love and yet appears whole, showing no signs of damage. No one knows the pain except the latter that is now usurped by the former. But it is when the opposite happens, that the tale transcends its meagre form and turns one for the generations.

Nida comes from a sophisticated family of high-ranking politicians and is married too, to one from this fraternity, but none of that sophistication and power has healed her wounds inflicted by her little daughter’s death.

Life is exacting and cruel. Death is calm oblivion. Life betrays everyone while death, without fail, always finds us.

Continue reading

Book Review: Cry, Heart But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved (2001)

25329997Cry, Heart But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Even to the most-learned men and women, few things are as scary, swamping and tearing as death. Like an end, that ultimate exit, beyond which everything becomes void and nothing remains to return, it hovers over us like a spying cloud, always waiting for that one chance to seize our life and make it its own. How then, would one, explain its inevitability, its invincibility, its essentiality to children?

This gem of a book, majestically, rises to this task. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARCEL PROUST!

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It’s not a belated birthday wish. It’s a continuing one. Breathing in the Proustian air is one of my most favorite stress-busters since the time I have been introduced to it. An air so rich yet so clear, it permeates into my lungs with its slight, caressing bend, filling me with a sense of beauty that no amount of dark inhalation can pollute. Proust was special, even as a child. Which 14 year old would scribble such answers to a random, vanilla questionnaire after all? Even if I squeeze my most refined juices, I won’t be able to drench his intellect an inch. Continue reading

Its Bloomsday!

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For a bibliophile who fell in love with Joyce’s vast, exploratory, swashbuckling devil-may-care attitudinal writing last year, this is a first anniversary of sorts. Ulysses was, is and I am certain would be, a book to read and drive rebirths, to re-read. Should I say I loved the book because I understood it, I would be misleading myself and anyone reading this, for how exactly does one understand a multiverse of human behavior, seeped in the deep undertones of societal, political, religious, emotional, philosophical, psychological, linguistic, academic and mysterious hues, across a pantheon of 800 riveting pages, in one, single reading? Well, atleast I could not. But what I could, was to love it; like how one does when one comes across a beautiful thing – enigmatic, partially comprehensible but beautiful nonetheless. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAFA!

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It doesn’t happen with everybody; rare is this phenomenon. That every time I come across your name, a surge of hope washes me over is unique to you, for me; for I have loved very few people which such reverence, even fewer, for this long. It is almost ten years since I first came across you, as a young challenger to the apple-of-everyone’s-eyes, Roger Federer when you stamped your arrival with a stupendous run at Roland Garros, your debut at the tourney. While the sports world went berserk, understandably so, you were a picture of incredibly-plain-but-certainly-not-commonplace equanimity. An element so earthy, so unreal, for a guy, all of 19, to handle all the attention of the world with such disarming humility and effusive charm. What, of course, bound me to you for the succeeding 10 years (and another 10 years hence too) was not your astounding haul of 14 Grand Slam titles, 28 Master Titles and innumerable other mind-boggling records but your consistency – Continue reading

Book Review: We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler (2014)

16176440We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

In everyone’s life, there are people who stay and people who go and people who are taken against their will. 

Who do you remember the most? I asked myself. Those who make part of my primary circle of existence and have enriched my being with their presence? Or those who came and then departed for good, leaving an indelible mark on my life, as it looks today? Or those who, by all means that I could fathom, were supposed to be a part of my life but were disengaged from me with a menacing strike of destiny? I can’t say, honestly. Then I rearranged the words and popped the question to myself again. This time, the answer was clear.

The question: Who do I miss the most?  Continue reading

Book Review: Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (2015)

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My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

At my touch, the striking cover of this book leapt up and stood suspended at my eye-level. As if to escape this loggerhead-state, I bored through its skin amid a question – what does this image wish to convey? Unity? Mess? Greed? Asymmetry? Power? Victory? Abandonment? Confusion? Culture? Habit? All? None? Not quite able to coalesce all these floating words into a single bubble of appreciable mass, I threw aside my pondering gauntlet and opened the first page. I began reading, and read a little more; continued reading and didn’t pause till it was the last page. Once done, I closed the book with trembling hands and clutched it tight for what seemed like a long time. It had become a precious possession. 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: The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust by Marcel Proust (2001)

51P-jDkx97L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust by Marcel Proust
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Mezzanine.
That is where my soul lies right now.
Elevated, with the soft avalanche of rippling visions,
erupting from the nubile eyes of a young Proust, from a lowly level that
seethed with diminished dignity and blackened clarity
to a mezzanine level, worthy of a corner seat
in a giant hall of evolved consciousness.

Analysing discarded memories from the forgotten boxes,
left lying beneath unpleasant mounds of soiled fates and muddy losses,
had seldom turned so aromatic an episode, so imminent an occurrence.
Like a foreigner, unknowingly leaving his secret trail in a new land,
Proust suspends slings from the trees of solitude and
provides levers for the uneven roads of melancholy
for the subsequent travellers to embrace,
a road that is guiding rather than deflecting. 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