Book Review – The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1880)

the-brothers-karamazovThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I finished reading this book at precisely 0205 hours a week ago. The night still lay majestically over the impending dawn, and in its blackened stillness, swayed the echoes of this imperious book. The walls of my room, at once, turned into a fortress for Dostoevsky’s army of thoughts, and I, right in the middle of it, found myself besieged with its diverse, haphazard but mighty blizzard.

I am no stranger to this rambling Russian’s precocious visions and forbearance and yet, and yet, this work, swells much beyond even his own creator and spills over…. well, almost, everything. Continue reading

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Book Review: Here by Wislawa Szymborska (2009)

7929177 Here by Wislawa Szymborska
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

“She wants me to live only for her and with her. Ideally in a dark, locked room, but my plans still feature today’s sun, clouds in progress, ongoing roads.”

With this singular clarity, Wislawa Szymborska views memory. By running a casual yet assertive hand, she makes the memory cursive; memory that is stitched into seamless minute knots connecting the present, illuminating the present.

Here is a solace, a silent hurrah. Written in small, fresh bud-like paragraphs, this collection of poems comes with the agenda of a butterfly – fragile at first sight, intriguing at second sight, rejuvenating at third sight and unforgettable after its flight.

Since her love for art found life and prosperity under difficult, turbulent times, her perspective emerged as a rough-cut diamond. Continue reading

Book Review: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (1952)

17716Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

[Curtains Fall]

Stage: I lived good, within all of you. Heck! You would not even survive a second without me. Why? I even took that wretched boot and that stinky feet on my chest!

Feet: Ha.. Stinky you say! Did you ever eavesdrop into Beckett’s mind when he was scribbling? Ah, I was the one who inspired him. Not some dumbheads as they would like to believe.

Human: Come on, now! Really? Like can someone be so obnoxiously imbecile? No wonder you both have no identity without me. Subtract my dialogue and that truck-load of humor and you are like that filthy hat, empty. Continue reading

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 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: 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

Book Review: Chess Story by Stefan Zweig (1941)

chess-story-novelChess 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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY!

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I am sorry I fell sick and the birthday wish comes a tad belated, 6 days to be precise. But it is nigh impossible to have a week pass by without sending across my shout to you, Mr. D! You absolutely know how special you are, don’t you? That skill you have, ah! How envious am I of it? That wizardry of turning the mirror to reflect my darkest corners yet ensuring I never break the mirror in disgust! How clever, dear Sir! That surreptitious landing that you never fail to slip in, that soft cushion that you provide my feeble self while I stare agape at the unpleasant edges of my personality in your works – they all have a certain paternal feel to it. You are a wise elder whom I would love to share with people I think and wish good of. And even those I kind of don’t like all that much, so they fine-tune themselves to enter into my friends’ club! 😉  Continue reading

Book Review: The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)

The StrangerThe Stranger by Albert Camus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What happens when we bump into a hive of sticky words that seem delectable on the surface but grasping them blurs the lines etched in our minds? How does it feel when some kind of hurricane is unleashed on our notions that were, until now, not subject to acute ambiguity? It’s a bit harsh actually; voluntarily letting oneself meander into alleys which have danger signs dangling at every short step, at every dark window. But the human mind is a peculiar, peculiar creature – it’s as much ours as it’s free.

I met a certain Monsieur Meursault in these alleys yesterday. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALBERT CAMUS!

albert-camus

Bon Anniversaire, Monsier Camus.

You are a bit of a crazy guy and I guess you do know that, right? No, not in a bad way, certainly not! But like that patch of black cloud rubbing a perfectly sun-kissed sky, doing nothing but allowing itself to be suspended in a proximity enough to threaten the sunny painting. Whether the resultant rain will form a drizzle and caress away a nonchalant sun-bathing soul, leaving its skin without anything more than a tremor or it will assume the enormity of a downpour, erasing the unprepared soul of its belonging and stripping it to its bare elements, all soggy and wistful for warmth, is something you have debated in careful yet absurd tones in your books. I have not read you extensively but I have read you good. You have a question; a question to question. And you don’t mind getting any answers from others provided they don’t stop you from advancing on your search trails.

The first time I read ‘The Stranger’, I was a sprightly, doe-eyed teenager. I read the journey of Meursault and pondered: Continue reading