Showing posts from October, 2017

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel

Imagination is the source of all your responsibility and power. “It’s all a question of your imagination. Our responsibility begins with the power to imagine. It is just as Yeats said: In dreams begin responsibility.” And imagination is all that you need to understand Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

As speculative fiction or fantasy based on realism. Kafka on the Shore has many dimensions to it.

Kafka Tamura is a 15-year-old protagonist who lives in Tokyo, but wants to run away from his life there. Kafka’s tumultuous relationship with his father is a result of his oedipal issues which his father has driven into his psyche when Kafka was a child.

The other main character is Nakata, an older man, who was a part of a war-time accident as a child and now for all practical reasons is considered to be dumb and slow. Nakata, however possess abilities, which the so-called sane humans lack. His ability to talk to cats.

Secondary characters are introduced seamlessly and the story moves on at a …

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

“Learn you to die” is what Jane Grey tells her beloved sister Katherine Grey. For what I have learnt from this Philippa Gregory’s latest ‘The Last Tudor’ is that the irony of life is love and that of love is power.

‘The Last Tudor’ is the latest and final installment in the Tudor Novels by Gregory and charts the lives of the Grey sisters- Jane, Katherine and Mary, from 1550 to 1573. Gregory shows their journey through their marriages of convenience, their triumph of love, their strong faith, their joys and ultimately their will to live in one of the most turbulent eras of English history.

To begin with, the novel is written in a first person account and starts with Lady Jane Grey, portraying her strong belief in her faith, her understanding that she will have to marry not for love and her strong resolve for her beliefs. She is the older sister, always strict and scholarly. It is truly her novel.

The second sister Katherine, sweet, silly and looking for her prince charming, reinforc…

Origin by Dan Brown

Where do we come from? and Where are we going? two simple yet profound questions which Dan Brown and the main protagonist Robert Langdon try to answer in the new and highly riveting piece 'Origin'. If you have been following the Robert Langdon series, you will know that besides Langdon as the main character,Brown always includes a female lead, a mysterious negative character, who runs the show from behind the curtains and a host of secondary characters. This one includes all of them. Set in Spain, Brown and his creation, Langdon, take you through whirlwind of events in search of the epic secret that futurist, and Langdon's friend Edmond Kirsch was about to reveal, before being brutally murdered.

There are few points which I noted and was amazed.

1. All art, architecture, locations, science and religious organizations in the novel are real
With this fact, it is evident that the Brown has a beautiful mind. To weave an entire plot around all that is real and make one view it…

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

This one is worth the wait. Arundhati Roy takes you through a labyrinth of situations, all of which happen in India and based on real events. These events are depicted through two main characters, Anjum and Tilo, both of whom have a varied background and are beautifully rendered. Just like the main characters there are secondary characters who have been equally reared with dedication. Through poems and her wonderful writing, Roy makes you think, re-think and love life in all its different virtues.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh's River of Smoke is the second novel of The Ibis Trilogy. The novel moves forward along the river to China, on the opium trade route. New characters are introduced along with older ones and their stories sail on. While Sea of Poppies saw prominent main protagonists, this one has a Parsi Indian trader, Bahram, and charts his journey through the voyage.River of Smoke highlights how the Chinese authorities try to prevent the opium trade, which had become an addiction and diseased the population and the growth of British traders. Ghosh takes you through innumerable scenarios and situations which at times are hard to keep a track of. Nevertheless, the novel beautifully keeps the past alive and presents it as though you are living it in the 'now'.

A Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Sea of Poppies is part one of the Ibis trilogy, where Ghosh has beautifully scripted a dozen characters, from an American born sailor, a French girl, a Raja from the Bengal to a village woman farming opium. All of these on board the Ibis,a slave ship,sailing to their respective futures. Truly riveting is the way in which all these stories are meshed to form one plot. The language in the beginning can be a little hard to follow since local words are anglicised, but you get the hang of it, it becomes easier to follow. On to the next one .. River of Smoke.

Sapiens - A History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari

This book has been my Everest. They say reading classics can take its toll, I however found this one to be one of the classics of its time. Laden with facts and information which takes you beyond times, it had me grabbing my phone to google and look up events, projects and people. People and more precisely, us, the home sapiens have truly evolved. However, how far have we evolved and how far we have to go is a question I found myself asking throughout this book. One of those rare books that made me think about my actions, questioned my existence and somewhere, ever so slightly, changed my beliefs.

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

For all those of you who have read and watched 'To Kill A Mockingbird', this book brings back the strong characters of Atticus Finch, Jean Louise(Scout) and the rest of the Maycomb county. Though the book opened to a robust review, it has been severely compared to its prequel. I tried reading it an independent setting and thought that it brings forward a strong message just like its prequel. On a personal note, I loved the strong bond that Scout shares with her father and loved the way her emotions are brought forward in words. I would recommend this one for all those who have read 'To Kill A Mockingbird' primarily to know what happens years later.