Thursday, July 29, 2010

Snippet reviews

Tresspassing -- Uzma Aslam Khan
A rather different picture of Pakistan.The book throws some light on certain internal issues which do not often find place in international media -- a fact that Daanish, in a different context, feels. Also, the book brings together a bunch of women very different from the usual pardadhari, conservative women that one associates with a Muslim country. Riffat, Annam, Sumbul,Dia,and to some extent Nissrine, are strong women who have an identity of their own in spite of family/relationship turmoils. In short, a very good read about enterprising women with snippets on sericulture.

Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories -- MAry Higgins Clark
A very gripping tale, "Anastasia Syndrome" is a psychological thriller, wherein past comes to haunt the present. Judith Chase, an innocent writer engrossed in writing her historical novel on English civil War little expects to be literally dragged into her own story, and the consequences are unexpected and fatal.
The short stories that follow are promising as well, especially "Terror Stalks high school Reunion" and "Lucky Day". the other two stories are a bit of a showdown. however, the book is sure to inspire one to read more of the author.

The Inscruatble Americans -- Anurag Mathur
East is east, west is west, and the twain shall never meet --- Mathur's story is yet another illustration of this dictum. culture shock, inaccessibility of brahmin-cooked vegetarian food, racism, repressed sexuality -- all are stumbling blocks to Gopal's attempts to reconcile the Indian and the American in him, and seeks succor in Coke, and later beer. However, he does not leave the place disillusioned. During his year-long stay in US of A, he manages to give this hep and happening country a feel of his indianness (as when he successfully haggles in a mall, and impresses his professors by his natural intellectual abilities) and in return absorbs the sense of freedom exuded by the country (towards the end home (India)stands for the drudgery of hair oil factory, arranged marriage, and other responsibilities.

Zoya Factor -- Anuja Chauhan
Cool, fast, interesting,exciting, and extremely funny -- that's this book in a nutshell. written in simple,pacy prose, it gives a funny kind of insight into the innards of the ad world, so also of what happens while Team India tours abroad -- in a heady concoction of fact and fiction (less of the former probably). while the backdrop is real enough, the novel does not presume to be a conventional roman a clef, as the protagonists cannot really be referred back to factual figures. in short, technically as well as in terms of plot, anuja chauhan has come up with a wonderful piece of entertainment.

The French Lieutenant's Woman -- John Fowles
Self-reflexive and historical, Fowles's work is a comprehensive glimpse into 1850s Victorian England. Sarah Woodruff, chronic melancholist, fancies Charles Smithson who is betrothed to Ernestina Freeman. Charles, wounded by the prospect of a disinherited future (with his elderly uncle suddenly deciding to marry) finds himself in even hotter soup with conflicting emotions regarding his fiancée, and a repressed attachment for Sarah, an expression of which finally lands him in a total emotional loss.
Good for its technical complexity and record of Victorian culture & society, but slightly boring storyboard (subjective view, of course)-- a triangular love story between a rather indecisive man, a cunning woman and a fragile, jealous woman -- in short.

Mansfield Park -- Jane Austen
This wonderful story of Fanny Price is quite engaging and makes an interesting read. It traces Fanny's growth from a poor relation of the Bertrams to becoming a part of their family. in this sense, it is a coming-of-age novel, as Fanny goes through a riot of emotions and opinions regarding the people around her, especially Edmund, whom she finally marries. Jane Austen, true to her character, depicts the English aristocracy in their splendorous country-side villas. Irritating and demanding relatives, extravagant cousins, pretentious friends -- all make Fanny's life (and the story) a real emotional adventure. Beneath this seemingly innocuous social canvas, one can also espy English imperialism at its peak (in mentions of Sir Bertram's expeditions to Antigua), that funds the aristocratic leisures.

Goodnight and God Bless -- Anita Nair
A very interesting and fast read that gives a glimpse into the writer's musings on life and literature in general. She even gives a list of suggested reading at the end. Also, there are footnotes comprising quotes and anecdotes. Somewhere the book gives a much better idea of the writer much more than her novels does, (so much so that one is prompted to pick up a novel by her!)A voracious reader herself, she triggers the reading bug, as one goes through the small pages of this pretty little book.

Six Suspects -- Vikas Swarup
Much better than Q&A in terms of characterisation, plot and narration....has a pulse for pulp fiction.the book is easy to read and does not need too much of brain..interesting part is that one man links all the characters and brings them together. But Swarup has to get out of being in Hindi Movie mode as it all gets very very been there seen that after you read around 50 pages. good part of the novel is the cross section of India without the usual spouting of nation, identity and thirst for the self. the book is terrible as the narrative design is rather bland...not worth buying take it from a library people. and yeah certainly wont be made into a movie..Swarupji please jazz up the writing with some more intelligence. dont underestimate your readers.

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