Book Review: Ignorance by Milan Kundera (2000)

41gljwkfwil-_sy344_bo1204203200_Ignorance by Milan Kundera
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

“The more vast the amount of time we’ve left behind us, the more irresistible is the voice calling us to return to it.”

In this poignant recount of two people, forced to bid goodbye to their native country, in the diminished, yet flickering hope of finding a brighter tomorrow in an alien land, almost 20 years ago from the present, unravels a story replete with more questions than answers. Irena and Josef have found comfortable refuge in their respective abodes at Paris and Copenhagen and have led a fairly decent life, battling through tags of émigrés and periods of insuperable doubts. Irena has outlived her husband, Martin, reared her two daughters dutifully and seems comfortably living her life with her partner, Gustaf , many years her senior. Josef, after leading a few years of blissful matrimony with his Danish wife, had to surrender her to death which clutched the hands of a severe disease to bring down the curtains. Continue reading

Advertisements

Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)

2165

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

“He was full of resolution but he had little hope.”

And often, like a seductive oasis, this little hope beguiles the heart to endure battles of gargantuan magnitude, letting seep every second the realization of the effort turning as much futile as it may be fruitful.

Fisherman Santiago lives in a barren land, bearing just a few hope saplings, which he patiently waits to bear fruit. He is frugal and easily happy, but his simpleton living has not tamed his aspirations, lofty by his standards. He wants to catch a BIG fish, something so commanding and magnificent that it can seal his tenacity and authority, among his community, his friends and above all, his doubting self. 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: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera (2014)

book-signsprecedingendofworld-herrera-200Sign Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a little girl, I had many fears. Born from reasonable and not-so-reasonable wombs of circumstances, I consciously (and consistently) fought their penetrating presence by erecting walls of logic and fortitude. With passing years, I saw many of them surrendering and receding into thin smoke, leaving me a fertile air concomitant of a progressive upbringing.

But some fears continue to seethe within the subdued bark of emotions like its ashen cousin in an extinguished bonfire: time and again, an unexpected gush of reminiscent wind victimizes the tranquil symmetry and bares the fear to rise like a blinding demon of ineluctable anaesthetic might. Continue reading

Book Review: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)

of-mice-and-menOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

It takes courage to stand up and speak. It also takes courage to sit down and listen.

These are the words on one of my most favorite posters. What always keeps me hooked to these lines is the validity of the trait, courage, from both ends of the spectrum. It holds good, irrespective of the side one stands at. Whether there is merit in holding on or giving in, is a matter of perspective which often remains stranded on the crossroads of past experiences and future expectations. And crossroads always bear the mark of confusion, don’t they? 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: 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

Book Review: Three Tales by Gustave Flaubert (1876)

Three TalesThree Tales by Gustave Flaubert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ever wondered if stark realities of life were humans, how would they converse? What would death reveal to Satan which may surprise agony? What may joy surmise on pain that might recall God’s support? What might greed and insanity bring to table worthy of discussion in peace’s eyes? Where would loyalty stand should all others be permitted to share the same house?

Flaubert embarks on a bold journey, by giving voice to these very boundless giants and drawing a territory around them by erecting three walls of formidable texture and strength, painted with magnanimous coats of deceptive prose and magnetic rhythm. Reverberating within their throes are three teeming groups of conversations – Continue reading

Book Review: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)

Wide Sargasso SeaWide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A few years ago, I happened to have a chat with an old friend. We were catching up after a long time and like most friends do, we picked up our favorite teen (innocent) crimes to gorge on. One of our best memoirs was of those sprints we made to the nearby movie hall to grab the tickets of a show at the penultimate minute of the show time. And we were suddenly overcome by the desire to relive those days. Since I was visiting her city, I let her choose the movie hall and the movie. She quipped that a certain film festival was running at one of the city’s best multiplexes and we could sneak in a show there. We checked the showtimes on their website, chose a show of a well acclaimed, classic movie that was a mere 20 minutes from commencement and yes, sprinted.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas (1963)

The Ice PalaceThe Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When a few dotted lines can cuff my heart into a promise and bind my palms over it in sombre armory, keep me lain in its pristine shadows for hours and yet freeze the time in crystalline imagery, I beam at the prospect: the prospect of living in that promise; that promise which lights up with the chandeliers of frosty realizations hanging from the ceiling of dreams and a sea of incomplete chances freezing my being.

A life is made of promises; some made to self, some to others. And like a diffident fuel, it comes into play when life derails to reserve. Aren’t all the promises tested at the brink of uncertainty? Aren’t all the promises repainted at the threshold of patience? Aren’t all the promises questioned at the gates of survival?

What do Siss* and Unn**, all of eleven, seal during their first (and only) conversation, Continue reading