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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

But rest assured: This tragedy is not a fiction. All is True.

Hence started my journey of a fine book, A Fine Balance. I have no sane excuse for my ignorance about Rohinton Mistry novels. I just didn’t have a single clue about him or his achievements till I joined Goodreads. Yes!! Though it’s not a big deal as one is not supposed to know everything but here’s a writer of Indian origin, writing unbelievably great books about Indians and is still remain unacknowledged by a common Indian reader is densely pitiable. His Facebook page has 7000+ odd likes where, as I gauged from the comments, majority is of non-Indians. But then he is no marketing guru but a writer who writes and writes well, so well that it can make you cringe at the comfortable life you’re having or at least makes you open your eyes to take a good look at the hardships of the hapless lots around you. 

I don’t read about Politics because it disgusts me. I don’t have a deep understanding about the 1970’s Emergency period because fortunately nobody in my family or acquaintances got affected by it, so basically it’s the experience which tells a story, watching gives an indifferent shrug. On the surface I know that it happened under the PMship of Indira Gandhi. School mainly tells you: She was the First women PM of India. She was the daughter of honorable Pandit JawaharLal Nehru. She was the mother of one of the youngest PM of India, Rajiv Gandhi. She was the reason why India didn’t face another partition by launching Operation Blue Star, hence reduced the idea of Khalistan into ashes because of which she was later assassinated. Nothing more, nothing less always a glossy and martyred picture of Daughter of India, Ironically. 

So how does it feel to read A Fine Balance? What does it promise to convey its readers? What makes a 600+ page novel readable or rather a page-turner? What’s different about the lives of Dina Dalal, Ishvar, Om and Maneck that you haven’t witness before especially being an Indian? Well the answer could be “May be nothing is different, all trite”, or; “It’s helluva great story, I haven’t read anything like this before”. But the answer remains somewhere in between and the secret is Rohinton’s great writing. His matter-of-factly narration, awesome character building and plot settings can give you the pleasure like watching ‘Hum Log’ on high definition channel. He is not a man of big bulky words, dictionary is almost dispensable while reading him but the words are piercing enough to make you feel the subject. The story reflects through them in an unmatched finesse. There is no room left for any improvement as he has used every single component at his disposal in building this masterpiece, just like Dina’s quilt in the novel. 

So, the story revolves around four main characters, Dina Dalal, a widow and a self-respected lady who treats her independence dearest than any of the relations left in her life. Ishwar, a darji (tailor) whose father sent him to get equipped with tailoring in order to earn him a life of repute which he wouldn’t have got under the fate-imposed Chamaar profession. Om, Ishvar’s nephew, again a darji, a young and aggressive lad and an orphan whose life is dedicated mainly to his uncle Ishvar and vice-versa. And, Maneck, a guy from Mountains, whose struggle to know and feel his worth in lives of others especially his parents and a college friend remained unending. The story is about how four of them got together in one flat not willingly but due to twists and turns life threw at them. It’s a journey of how reluctance was over-powered by compassion, how loneliness made room for companionship and how a house became home , how four of them amidst many doubts and objections became “there for each other” Kind, but it was a home of cards waiting for a gush of insensitive wind to tumble it and its housemates. 

It’s a sad novel, heart wrenching in fact. It will make you cry (except in case of defective tear ducts) and it will make you very angry. It has its dose of humor but simultaneously it carries an air of apprehension around it like how a moment of happiness is short-lived and shall soon be replaced by gloominess and sorrow. It’s something I felt while watching Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino, where as an audience one starts to feel that good days will be balanced out with bad days because Life, the bitch, usually gives us lemons, and to the unfortunate lot, it plants a lemon tree at the backyard of their wretched life. But throughout, this book echoes one universal law, that despair doesn’t have a favorite victim. It befalls upon everyone at some point of time, triggered by fate, destiny or power hungry human beings. 

History is a witness to how Power breeds evil, breeds mainly on the blood of innocent lives who would have never imagined that their destiny would sacrifice them to such inexplicable atrocities. This book depicts the story revolving around such atrocities and enduring them, living through them, dying through them or merely surviving through them and resilience is the main key to such survival. Rohinton has captured life through his characters, has captured India through an unfortunate time, has captured ugliness of human face and has finally captured resplendence of human soul through his mesmerizing words. More than 5 stars.


Thursday, 2 August 2012

So after 8o days and numerous headaches I finally managed to complete this book. The experience was pretty similar with God of Small Things, though the writing here was less pretentious and more witty but tedious nevertheless. In spite of all this, its subtle brilliance is undeniable. V.S. Naipaul is a world renowned writer and that shows in his writing prowess. Sometimes it's not a right time to pick a particular book. This book, in my opinion should be read when one gain some experience on life front but then again, you never know what tomorrow brings so why not read it today. For me, it's a 3 Star ***.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Well firstly, Calvino didn’t write this novel (or antinovel, like I read somewhere) so that some random reader would read this epic book and dare to have an opinion. He has already pampered his readers enough to expect any kind of judgment on this awesome work of his. He made you the effin Protagonist for heaven’s sake or was it a master stroke on his part? 

Anyways, so I read this another book, Goosebumps- Escape from the Carnival in my childhood, wherein the reader needs to make a choice from the various options given at the footnotes in order to ESCAPE from the Carnival and as a result, the book became suitable for n no. of re-reads. And no, I am not trying to establish a relationship or comparison between the two books but can’t help myself admiring this kind of experimental literature where the reader feels like a part of the book from both inside and outside. 

So what could be the possible aspiration behind such inventive writing? An aim to constitute a cult or to write something which being a reader one always wants to read (He mentioned Arabian Nights more than once which could be a possible influence). Having read Invisible Cities before, I expected the unexpected from this book but didn’t expect to be completely knocked out. The structure is not the sole winner here but the content too about which I was not entirely convinced with Cloud Atlas (That reminds me, Thank you Mr. Mitchell for introducing me to Mr. Calvino). Of course there are no lessons learnt from this book, no philosophies thrown in your face to make you consider bigger questions about life but it's an experience about the experience of reading. Well Of course you can ask yourself, “ So, what kind of reader are you? Or; What kind of books you like? “ Hmmmmm

Here’s an excerpt from an interview Of Italo Calvino :


Turgenev said, “I would rather have too little architecture than too much because that might interfere with the truth of what I say.” Could you comment on this with reference to your writing?


It is true that in the past, say over the past ten years, the architecture of my books has had a very important place, perhaps too important. But only when I feel I have achieved a rigorous structure do I believe I have something that stands on its own two feet, a complete work. For example, when I began writing Invisible Cities I had only a vague idea of what the frame, the architecture of the book would be. But then, little by little, the design became so important that it carried the entire book; it became the plot of a book that had no plot. With The Castle of Crossed Destinies we can say the same—the architecture is the book itself. By then I had reached a level of obsession with structure such that I almost became crazy about it. It can be said about If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler that it could not have existed without a very precise, very articulated structure. I believe I have succeeded in this, which gives me a great satisfaction. Of course, all this kind of effort should not concern the reader at all. The important thing is to enjoy reading my book, independently of the work I have put into it.

Enjoyed to my heart’s content Sir.

Definitely a 5 star *****

P.S. I need to know the ending of that Arabian Nights story. Hope it’s available somewhere. 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

I read this book around 2years ago but the impact it had on me is still fresh and very strong. There are many things which I can’t recall about it, but I am very much aware of the message it carried for its readers.

The story is about a 16-year old Indian boy, who along with his family and their zoo animals (the family owned a zoo) decided to move to Canada for better living prospects and embarked their journey on a ship, which fate had it, drowned and left Pi stranded in the huge ocean but not alone. He was accompanied by a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a 450-lb Bengal tiger named "Richard Parker”, and hence began his quest for survival amidst that huge man-eating beast.

This book propels you to ask many questions about life, faith, destiny and mainly the existence of God. Had Pi being a non-believer, ordinary fellow, would it had been possible for him to go through this ordeal all alone, by not being the only living being but being the sole Human Being? May be yes, may be No! But here not only he was a strong believer but a rational believer too as he adopted three religions, not for the sake of it but to be closer to an invisible supreme power who protects us, and I quote here:

"And so, when she first heard of Hare Krishnas, she didn't hear right. She heard 'hairless Christians', and that is what they were to her for many years. When I corrected her, I told her that in fact she was not so wrong; that Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims."

70% of the book engages the reader with the adventures of Pi and Richard Parker, but along the journey there are many symbolisms which need to be noticed in order to catch the true essence of this story. Though it gets a bit slow and tedious in between but it’s worth the effort, and no harm in skipping few pages.

Now, there are certain books which strike you all along with turn of every single page and there are some, the ending of which is the main hero. That’s exactly the case with Life of Pi. Its ending shall leave you baffled and mystified. It will make you feel responsible to answer something, and if you won’t answer it, you’ll feel anxious and perplexed, so better answer it..No!!

It’s a 4 Stars for me ****.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

An Open Letter to America

which unfortunately I read late, around 5 years late. Why unfortunate? B’coz I might have liked it or may be loved it as I was a naïve reader back then i.e I was into Sheldons and Archers and closer home Bhagats *blushes*. Anyways, I was well aware when this book hit the literary world and took it by storm. The dashing title, a Pakistani author, a reluctant subject, a movie in the making by Mira Nair and that’s precisely the reason I wanted to read the book before watching the movie , so bought a copy and was yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy…finally…great read it’s gonna be!!

1st page: ok.

2nd page: yea okk.

3rd page: Ahan! I know where you are heading.

50th page: err…no, I don’t think so where you are heading, but I sense a twist just around the corner.

100th page: A love story…girl’s lover dead…can’t forget him….a clinic…I once had a girl…Norwegian wood…Yes! Yes!...No! ok :|

183rd page: just few more lines and then contact Agent J a.k.a. Will Smith and request for the memory eraser toy and move on to your next Murakami read. 

And Noooo!! (Kindly excuse for the superlatives) I didn’t hate this book but hating the fact that why I couldn’t appreciate it in any way possible. It made me uncomfortable throughout rather than excited and the most irritating part is that you are compelled to read it till the end in the hope of getting hold of the whole idea of this book. At the end, the author hurled a very smart curve ball towards his readers…leaving most of us in dilemmas, some on the side of Changez (the protagonist), some on the side of Mr. America (envying that delectable Lahori food he had) and some wishing to watch the re-run of 2011 epic cricket world cup semi-final between India and Pakistan and marveling at its brilliance and that moment when…Aargh..I never knew writing the review would be a similar experience like that of reading this book..distracting!! 

This is the second book I read of a pakistani author, first being My Feudal Lord by Tehmina Durrani, which I judged on the basis of its subject and not on writing style and since I read it around 6 years ago, all I could recall was that it was simple but affected me enough to evoke emotions of empathy which might not hold true at present having read many great books and becoming more aware and objective about the world around me since then so it might not feature in the league of extra ordinary but it definitely left an impression which reluctant fundamentalist as I highly doubt shall fail to do so. As the story was unfolding it became, hardly audible and incredibly distant. And the writing style!! I wish the narration was in one to one style as it started bothering me after few chapters, may be the execution was unconvincing or plain dull *oxymoron*. 

This book has some great ideas but somehow fell short of the elements that would have made it a great page turner. It felt too safe and too confined for my taste. Islamic Fundamentalism is a sensitive subject and needs to be handled carefully without actually conveying any negative message or an ambiguous one but what Mohsin Hamid as seemed, resisted from going out of his comfort zone and stating everything at a superficial level without actually diving deep.

The only thing I found acceptable was his realization of being victimized or prone to victimization because “I am a Muslim”, but like I stated that I read it a bit late so in today’s time this has become a bit redundant and again not helping in scoring brownie points for Mr. Hamid. 

For me it's 2 stars ** ,  simply because as a writer he definitely has potential provided he let himself go of all the inhibitions if he’s having any, from his literary genes.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Shantaram is not a book but a way of life. I read it around 2years ago but every word of this epic novel is still vivid in my mind. I remember I had to convince myself to read it as it’s a long book of 900 odd pages, but it had me with first few lines only.

This is the work of semi-fiction revolves around a fugitive convicted in maximum security prison of Australia and as destiny had it, he landed up in Mumbai, which sooner than later became his beloved home. From the world’s largest slums in the world to the dark streets of underworld, the protagonist, Lin, spells a journey for us who gives us an immense idea of how we all are slaves in the hands of love and fate.

Sometimes to appreciate the beauty of our own thing we must watch it by adopting the eyes of a foreigner to appreciate its true essence and beauty. Gregory David Roberts did exactly that for his readers by providing an outside yet very homely view of our beloved India. It will make you feel proud being an Indian what I believe.  The writing is great, gets wobbly at times but forgivable and knowing the fact that the author is not trained writer, one can’t help but appreciate more for his great effort. This is easily one of the best books on my bookshelf with the greatest quotes any book can give.

Definitely one of those books one should read before one dies, it might change your view about life.

***** 5 stars without any qualms.

A study in scarlet is the introductory novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which primarily brings up his most celebrated literary character, Sherlock Holmes along with his comrade Dr. Watson with much delight to the readers around the world for whom the word spying became tantamount to Sherlock Holmes.

I am a self confessed Holmes fan evident from the fact that my first book at a very young age was the Complete works of Arthur Conan Doyle, the copy of which I still have as a prized possession.

The plot is simple, a murder mystery and how it is to be solved. What is fascinating rather is the impeccable description of characters as well as the situations as the story unfolds.

Some literary works should be the constant companions of readers and Sherlock Holmes is one of the best literary buddy one could ask for.

It’s a *****5 stars for me.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Since my copy of if on a winter's night a traveler is on its way, I thought of equipping myself with writings of Italo Calvino. So in the meanwhile I laid my hands upon Invisible Cities. This work of Italo is unadulterated imagination booksonified. It can best be described as the figment of everybody’s imagination. I hope I can safely say for everyone that once in our lives we have imagined a particular world, a particular life where the existence is on our terms and conditions. We are the sole architect of that world where everything is perfect, imperfect, unreal or simply invisible and only we are allowed to see it or live in it. 

While reading this book, the memories of my childhood surfaced where I used to imagine a place where everything is made up of chocolates, (well..ok!! I imagine it today also), a little later, I used to imagine of getting a whole new wardrobe every day. At present I imagine of reading Ulysses in one day, Gravity’s Rainbow another day, assimilating every aspect these books offer to their readers. What else!! Yes…writing an International Bestseller novel in a matter of days, winning Booker Prize and getting a chance to meet my all favorite authors and discussing their books. 

And this one I particularly like...Being the sole survivor when the world ends and starting a whole new civilization the way I want it, where procreation is not the only option of creating a life for human beings(No, I am not a sadist but yes, this book hit me hard in the head). So I hope you got the gist. 

Imagination is like a ship without a shore and the only option it has is to keep on moving. Keep Reading :)

It's a 5 stars for me *****

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

It was while cleaning up my store room that I found my cousin brother’s long forgotten treasure of novels and instantly picked up Ayn Rand’s ‘Capitalism’. Having read The Fountainhead before, I became an immediate fan of her philosophy and writings and wanted to equip myself with as much of her work as possible. In Capitalism she stated that to understand the true essence of this book it’s advisable to read Atlas Shrugged first and I sincerely followed her advice. Though the size of the book (1000+ pages) can make one reconsider the idea of reading it initially, but after reading the first few lines only, all my apprehensions disappeared into thin air. The book starts with a question, ‘Who is John Galt’?, and the quest of finding its answer will sail you through the end of the book and what a worthwhile journey!

The story is not about one individual yet it is based on individualistic values and purpose of living in the world. The story is about Francisco D’ Anconia, the Heir of biggest copper manufacturing unit of the world and gave it all up, it’s about Hank Rearden, the successful manufacturer of steel in USA and the inventor of Rearden Metal that made him even more successful, but gave it all up, it’s about James Taggart who lived his life assuming that everything he did, does and shall do would be for the sake of public welfare and that should be the ultimate aim of any Rich human being but eventually proved wrong, it’s about Dagny Taggart (part protagonist), the WOMAN who runs a railroad and who could have given up her life but not her railroad and the story is about 3 men who became her epitome of an ideal world she always wanted to witness and part of, An Utopia.

Rand managed to create a world where the characters that are productive are downright shrewd and selfish but in a completely justifiable way and the ones who are dependent upon these people are of low moral code and unacknowledged. The reader can find oneself struggling at times with her philosophical view on life and living i.e. living for oneself and not for the sake of any other person. The exaggeration of everything is evident, the creation of wealth as well as wiping it off to the last straw. Being born and brought up in the land of Bhagvad Gita which teach us the ultimate mantras of Karma like, ‘Neki kar, dariya mein daal’, Karam kar, phal ki ichcha mat kar’, this book can seriously question these motto of good deeds.

There are long and awe-inspiring speeches preponderant about correct definitions (according to Ayn Rand of course) of those factors that keeps a society survival possible which can make you question your own ideologies and at times might test your patience due to their lengthy description. One can imagine oneself as a silent spectator amidst the whole plot cheering for the Good while jeering for the Evil, but what is good and what is evil is a matter of idiosyncratic perceptions. A particular aspect about Rand’s work which I found in The fountainhead too is that all Goody characters are great looking while the baddies are not-so great looking, probably implying a metaphorical description of good and bad by Rand. It shall make you ponder the various economical and political issues prevalent in present times too.

The writing ability of Rand is unquestionable, supported by a wide research and thorough knowledge of various facets of society, economics, politics and human behavior on the whole; she definitely knew the job of weaving all these aspects together with adequate reasoning to produce a master-piece. Many a times, the plot would make you say, ‘Err…I beg to differ with you Ms. Rand’, but being an intelligent writer, she clears all your doubts by vindicating her stand and keeping you on her side for majority of the book. Though pretentious at times, with bold and surreal portrayal of its characters, one would love to overlook all this for a happy and utopian ending.

 To wrap up it all, I will also recommend this book to all the book lovers, because no matter if you’ll love it or hate, it would be a great loss to ignore it. After all it’s a book that changed and challenged the thinking process of many throughout the world. It's a **** for me.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

What goes around comes around. That’s the basic rule of our lives and the main essence of this book; with of course lot many other lessons at the reader’s disposal. Now such books have different effect on different people and that’s how it supposed to be. 

In simple words, this novel is about Siddhartha, not Buddha, but a simple man. He showed by way of various instances how flawed is every human being but amidst those flaws, happiness can be found though there are higher goals he could work towards but before realizing that or reaching such goals, one needs to lead a life one is meant to, to experience love, hate, lust, passion, greed, dishonesty, and various others human virtues and vices to eventually realizing the main purpose one should live for or rather die for.

Now there’s always time and place for everything and reading a particular thing at a certain point of life and this book is one of them. Since I mentioned it’s a very individualistic novel, it might not appeal to everyone at every time but it must or shall I say, it should appeal to everyone at some point of time because simply, what can’t be conveyed by Almighty directly can be conveyed indirectly through words of a fellow human being.

It can easily be regarded as a work for human development or their thought process than a work of literature. One can pick it up to answer their unsolved riddles or inescapable dilemmas. It can be your companion sitting royally on the book shelf, always at your service in your hour of need.

For me it’s a Five stars *****

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

One adjective that I find apt whilst describing this novel is ‘Clever’. Yes, it’s a clever book, not w.r.t. to its contents but its mere structure. For me, reading this book was like reading two volumes which constitutes of reading Cloud Atlas and then reading Cloud Atlas Reviews. Now you see, With Great Books, comes Great Reviews and that’s why I read its thorough analysis by experts as well as regular readers those that are available on internet, that of course to quench my own thirst of completely consuming every nuisance this book has to offer and not being describe by something like this: “Come now, what’s a reviewer?” I reasoned. “One who reads quickly, arrogantly, but never wisely”. I wonder if it was a message from David to the book critics around the world. I can merely hope that I was able to read this book with the wisest level possible for me.

Its composition didn’t astonish me completely may be because I did my homework beforehand but it was certainly something that I haven’t read before. So there are six different stories unfolded through 6 different eras having their own individual cultural building blocks. Now the genius of Mitchell is clearly evident in his prowess of using completely different writing styles in each of the story, which IMO is an impeccable imitation by him. Another master stroke by Mitchell is that on reaching the second story, you start getting the gist of what Mitchell is up to and the curious reader in you has to go ahead without looking back.

So when I started with the first story, I was frustrated to the core with that oh-so-indecipherable English and since I was not able to get emotionally attached with the narrative, it became all the more difficult and led to a lot of digression but I somehow managed to sail through. Afterwards the ride was pretty smooth. I liked the reckless ways of Robert Frobisher, the indomitable spirit of Luisa Rey, the humor in the ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, the mastermind narrative about Sonmi-451 and the naivety displayed on part of Zachry.

In the last story though, a lot of experimentation has been done on part of Mitchell. It’s like he invented a language of his own by mocking the English grammar( For eg: If past tense for Say is Said then why the past tense of think is Thought and not Thinked, Nay *winks*) as well as the contemporary internet slangs with generous use of apostrophes. In fact, I read some parts of that story loudly just to hear how it would sound if brought under practice.

The structure Mitchell employed in this meta-fiction constitutes of interrupting each story abruptly and carrying on a new story having some connection with the previous one (read Incarnation) of the protagonists. Each story is treated this way except the last one which is continued till the end. The central theme is same for all stories that humans can be real jerks when exposed to power, money and superiority and wouldn’t cringe a bit on exploiting or betraying their fellow human beings in order to fulfill their greed. Their selfishness can lead to far disastrous results than one can even imagine. Here, in this novel however, Mitchell did imagine and what an imagination!!!

As a reader, it challenges you from every direction and it would be advisable to have a tight grip on each story in order to avoid the wavering from the main plot of one story or the other, but there are some loopholes.

I am not sure if the idea of incarnation was well executed or even called for. The culture I belong to, there are certain myths that goes around with reference to incarnation, like:
-A person is incarnated if he/she died an untimely death; or
-There is some unfinished business that must be completed in next birth.

But here, none of the characters had anything to do with untimely death or unfinished business except Robert Frobisher, but he died after composing his best composition. Rebirth is a more accepted point since it relates to Karma. Possibly Mitchell wanted to bring up an exciting angle, but it failed to excite me.

Another grumble is how easily the author gave away certain points within the novel that explained his further plans and also how vocal he became about whether his writing style would be revolutionary or gimmicky, which was kind of annoying. It snatched away from me that Eureka moment I wanted to experience and it somehow conveyed as if he didn’t have much confidence in his readers who won’t be able to understand what he is trying to prove. Authors of his mettle shouldn’t bother with interpretations and let readers decide what they want to render after reading such novels.

So all in all, this book is a 3.5 for me. I must admit that Mitchell is a genius at work with his innovative and unique style. I am surely going read rest of his works, and although cloud atlas was not that enriching experience as I expected it to be, it still stand at an altogether different level and has carved a place for itself amidst thousands of books that world has to offer us.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: The Old Man and The Sea

Reading this book is like reading one of those lessons from your English school books which you always find boring but nevertheless you need to answer the questions giving at the back of the chapter. From there on you would realize the answers that particular lesson demands are with reference to ideas or experience you never thought about while reading it. So this story is about an Old Man, a sea and his fishing expedition. I became particularly interested in Hemingway after watching Midnight in Paris in which his character is particularly glorified that makes you curious of reading his works.

I heard about his writing style and how brevity is one of its main characteristic and knowing that a book hardly 100 pages long one can easily finish it in a matter of hours but I was not naïve enough to complete it that easily. This book requires lots of patience which I somehow lost during the process of reading it. I empathized with the old man and that fish too, I understood what Hemingway is conveying through this work of his, but do I really care? That’s the problem; I couldn’t bring myself to care about either of them in a way that makes this novel readable or enjoyable experience for me.

I am not giving any rating to this book as I’m thinking of reading it again after some years but as of now, it’s nothing more than a short boring book about an Old Man whose senility was not at all endearing but rather pitiful.

I am a brand new Haruki Murakami’s fan and having read Kafka on the Shore as my first novel written by him, I found myself gripped under the surreal and unimaginable experience his writing provided to me as a reader. And that intrigued me to read another of his famous novels, Norwegian Wood. Before reviewing or rather I would say giving my naïve opinion on this book, I better start with my assumptions w.r.t this book.

When we read someone like him, we start expecting something new and better every time we read more of their works but along the process we tend to forget that there are very few writers in this world who challenge themselves to tread a different path and walking upon it too and that’s exactly Murakami did with this novel, whose popularity surprised him also.

So, it’s not exactly a Love story in the eyes of many, but someone like me who has accepted and marveled at the different kinds of love that exists in this world, it definitely is one and a beautiful one at that. It’s a love story with a pragmatic and realistic view on human emotions. But again, there are several other things murakami surfaced along with love, like rain and how it symbolizes sadness (IMO), like Death and quoting here: “Death exists, not as the opposite but as the part of life,” but in this book, Death exists as a part of this Book. It’s a character in itself and needs to be understood not in a negative sense of death because it’s simply not, quoting again: “I’m getting rid of anything from the past so I can be reborn in the future.”

Why one would hate this book, there can be many reasons but to love this book, one need to put themselves in shoes of Toru, Naoko, Midori, Reiko, Hatsumi, Nagasawa and Kizuki (who started it all). And then one can understand its true essence to cherish the two basic treasures of humans: Love & Life.

**** Stars

Review: Will Grayson Will Grayson

Well, firstly, the Title of this book should be “Will, Tiny, Will”, as clearly Mr. Tiny Cooper is having, just like his physical persona, a huge presence in the lives of both Wills. I started this book by accusing John Green of having written the character of Will Grayson *First* similar to that of Holden from Catcher in the Rye but accusation soon faded away as the story proceeded. The book is hilarious in capital letters on many occasions that earn it an extra rating point but on a whole you feel like witnessing a High School Drama where the ending is quite predictable and not at all exciting. Both Will Graysons are flawed personalities and it’s hard to like them but I guess that’s exactly what both authors expect from their readers. This book is about Love, loving yourself, loving others and loving those you love to hate.

While reading you remain in a state of confusion that whether you like this book or you find it an okay read. It made me laugh really hard at times and at times it bored me.It’s no more than a one-time read as I don’t expect it to come anyway differently on reading it again.

The treatment given to homosexuality is cool and easy going mainly because it has a main role play in the story. For me it’s a 3.5 because even after having its flaws it gives you a break of reading a different style of prose which is a mixture of various elements like hilarity, seriousness, philosophy, etc.

*** and a Half Stars

Review: Kafka on the Shore

There are two reasons as to why I chose Kafka on the shore as my first Murakami’s novel:

1.The name Kafka in the title (unconventional and erudite)
2.There are cats in this book and they talk and I love Cats (unconventional criteria)

Hence my journey began into Harukis’s surreal world of inebriating storytelling that has surely made me addictive. I was completely clueless as to what to expect from this novel and I am glad that I was, since contrariwise the subsequent experience I had wouldn’t have been that much fulfilling and magical.

It’s a common belief that when you read a book you not only read but live the characters and story within and since we have that much privilege then why not extend our geographical boundaries to a state of fantasy where anything and everything is possible.

Kafka on the shore provides you exactly that. One might feel being lost in a reverie and if you take a break from that you might ask yourself,OK…What the hell am I reading? But you go back to it like an adamant lover to his beloved. Such books are heavy on a reader’s mind and have its after effects too. One start vying for more and more and begin questioning a lot many things because after all Truth is the source of most Fiction.

This novel doesn’t come up as wholly solely metaphysical but a blend of reality and philosophy with supernatural (by that I mean, not all characters in this book are abnormal, but abnormality is also a reality for many) so that it remains at an acceptable level of fiction. The theme constitutes of 2 worlds here, that of the living and of the dead and how both are connected to each other. It transfers you to some hypnotic state where you protest every sense of reason inside your head and go with flow of haruki’s stream.

The only minor gripe I have is with its ending simply because it doesn’t seem like an end. Murakami leaves it to reader’s imagination as to what might have happened to Kafka after everything he went through (read Oedipus myth), but when the protagonist is a 15-year old boy and having his whole life ahead one can’t simply say “and he lived happily ever after”. I wouldn’t have mind reading hundred more pages to know about Kafka’s future life.

Well leaving that apart, I loved this book and also I love how he brings mesmerizing music into his works and treat it with respect and dignity which I feel are the kind of recommendations on his part to his readers because undeniably music has a powerful effect on human lives.

And I know after having read two of his novels, I am going to love all his works inspite of their flaws because sometimes such surrender is pure bliss.

**** Stars