Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cookie creases

Note: They won't be 55 word reviews, as contrary to popular belief that takes longer to write than full length essays :)

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
 - Awesome read. The book is more a character study than drama, through the eyes of an English butler as he takes a few days off to drive around the country side. The priorities in a butler's life, the unwritten codes of conduct, their expectations from their Masters, all brought out beautifully by the author in his simple narrative style. The climax was poetic. Added sensory bonus: Imagining Anthony Hopkins driving the car and narrating his entire life to me. Priceless!

- Written under pen name by Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul, this is the first in a trilogy on Islamic fanaticism. The book is set in Afghanistan under Taleban and is about a prison guard and an educated couple whose lives are completely changed by a chance meeting. The precise writing punches you in the stomach with the destitution and hopelessness that it brings to light. Not that you hadn't read about what happened under Taleban but the stark picture he paints was so painful, I had trouble getting the burkha-clad women off my mind for days. 

 - I picked this YA novel just for the intriguing name of its author. Sigh! I wish I could say the same for the novel. First of all, I couldn't gel with a 40 year old narrator for a book aimed at teens. The book started very well, with interesting characters that made Boomtown a fun place to be. There were even pictures of streets and buildings to make it all authentic. However in his zeal to conjure up quirky townspeople, the author let the plot take a backseat...for a really long time. For most of the story, we just keep meeting new characters throwing hen grenades, having a slug parade and scaring the bejesus out of the narrator. After a point, I closed the book and didn't pick it up until after 2 weeks and even then it was because I really wanted to know if there was indeed a plot. The author seemed to have had a sequel in mind as at times he talks about how things worked out for someone, or how he was surprised in the future but we never really hear it because it is like he says, 'another story altogether' :) I never thought I'll ever say it but I think if the author had trimmed his creative outbursts and settled on a few quirky people with a solid plot, this story would have been really good.

- This was a really fun mystery story set in the Victorian period. The author fills the story with real and imaginary characters who lived during the period and were friends with Oscar Wilde. Made an interesting read as along with finding out the identity of the killer, one is taken on a ride through Victorian London, with insights into the life of people then. A good book. I quote Wilde time and again but never in my wildest dreams did I realise he was gay till this book. Something about the way Wilde talks about other young men in the book made me google him for the first time and boy! was i surprised. Now I want to read the Wilde's biography by the same author.

Ok I can't go any more. Will talk of the other books later.

Challenges covered: New Author, Orbis Terrarum

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Blogger Vee said...

wow.... I don't know how Ramya and you read a lot, retain so much and then blog about it. I have three to four books going currently and some days it feels like a miracle if I can retain anything. Thanks a lot just made me add a couple more books to my list!! *grrrr* hehehe

1:03 PM  

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