All Things Adulterous.

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Being a borderline obsessed fan of Paulo Coelho’s, let me warn you from the start that this review may be biased.

It was on a lonesome night that I suddenly realised that I forgot the essence of his latest to my collection, Adultery. I found this a bit strange, as all of you who are familiar with Coelho, be it one because of one read or more, know that his books leave you with a lasting emotion. The emotion varies: you have some who claim they will never touch a Coelho again, and then there’s Me. Who truly believes that Paulo Coelho is one of the few writers whose words I will always go back to on a stormy night or when I need some guidance.

That being said, as I began re-reading Adultery: I was intrigued. Nothing about it seemed familiar. Not the tone of the book, not his interpretations of love, loss, confusion or any of the themes that he has approached here.

Linda, has a life that many dream of. She lives in Geneva, married with two wonderful kids, is a successful journalist and has a lot of friends. But she is depressed. She has sleepless nights and one day, in an interview with an old fling, now a rising politician, she gets down on her knees and unzips his pants.

You’d imagine the plot has reached it’s peak. We have all the essentials required for an exciting story, with the Master of Words and Feelings writing it himself.

Adultery. Love. Family. Success. Sex. Depression.

Alas, while all topics are touched upon, the depth that Coelho goes with his characters seems to be lacking here. And this is borderline upsetting. There are hints made about how her life unravels, an interview with a Shaman, a heart-to-heart with a friend and of course, a confrontation with her husband and the politician boyfriend. But none leave you satisfied. And somewhere, towards the end, as Linda takes a leap (while paragliding) her sense of relief as she touches the ground and symbolically, reality, it feels too rushed. As if the pages of the book had to come to an end.

Coelho has approached taboo topics before, so this has come as an unpleasant surprise to me. But that being said, I am always a fan of his work and there are some sentences within that made me sit up and my heart start racing.

“Today I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change and the equal terror that everything might carry on exactly the same for the rest of my days.”
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I would recommend you read this book, however, if this was to be your first Coelho, then maybe you can reach out for Zahir, The Alchemist, Like A Flowing River or The Devil and Miss Prym – these are excellent books that will ease you into the magic of Coelho.

“heavy boots”

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Oskar Schell, he’s 9 years old, lives in New York and has just received news of his father’s untimely death in the devastating 9/11 attack. Jonathan Sarfan Foer’s second title, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a read that captivates you from the very first line and lingers with you much after you put down the book.
Oskar Schell is unlike any child that you will encounter. His mind always keen with new inventions that can help the world in a way no one else has thought of. He has a variety of interests including, jewellery making, butterfly collecting and quoting Shakespeare. Unfortunately, he is also the only person to hear his father’s last message recorded on the answering machine before the collapse of the towers.
And he is grief-stricken.
Haunted by these messages, Oskar takes the reader on a quest to solve the mystery of a key found in his dad’s vase in an envelope marked Black. He believes that all answers lie within the keyhole that this key is bound to open.
The story is bold.
Foer uses the imagination of a 9 year old to help us cope with the sadness and grief (what he constantly refers to as “heavy boots”) and more importantly, the journey that many who are still mourning the loss of loved ones, have to take.
Encountering entertaining characters, like his bell-boy, the grandmother, the upstairs neighbour (who has taken hoarding to another level) and many more: with each door that Oskar knocks on, a new side to his journey is presented to the reader in the most realistic, yet serene manner.
Throughout the story, one is almost curious as to why and how no one finds it strange that a 9 year old boy, so struck by grief, is walking along the boroughs of New York, knocking on doors and questioning people about their relationship with his father. While this is a nagging thought, Foer manages to keep you distracted long enough, till the very end where your tears will find a way to you, along with a beautiful explanation.
I would definitely recommend adding this book to your shelf: it is a journey that one must experience in their life. And it is a journey that Foer has masterfully addressed.

The Reckless Protégé

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“… A book is not a product when an author is writing it. At that moment it is a dream. It is the purpose of existence for the author. But the moment you put a price tag on it and place it on a shelf in a bookstore, it becomes a product.”

He looked at the others in the audience and after an intentional pause, added, “Otherwise why even bother to sell it? Give it away for free.”

The Bestseller She Wrote, Ravi Subramanian

Aditya Kapoor, best-selling author with an equally spectacular career, neatly bowed up with a beautiful wife and a loving little boy. His life, from his eyes, and the secret Google searches he would indulge in from time to time, was perfect.

Nothing was amiss, all until a heated argument with a student full of life, nerve and a power that no one could quite understand, the gorgeous, Shreya Kaushik.

Their journey takes several unexpected turns and twists, leaving all those in it’s wake, troubled and confused.

What immediately caught my attention in this book is storyteller, Ravi Subramanian’s ability to take his readers from one plot twist to another so effortlessly, that as an ambitious writer myself, I have to say it leaves one utterly jealous.

There are parts in this book where, with the right imagination, it almost feels as though one is watching the scenes play out.

From Aditya’s self-confidence, Shreya’s sultry mannerisms, Maya (Aditya’s wife)’s unwavering support to her family, every role is defined, is played out, is crystal. There are so many questions that the reader has from the very beginning of the book, “Can Aditya, a master novelist himself, be a true mentor?”, “Is Shreya smart or selfish?”, “What would you do, if one day, you had the chance of encountering your role-model, and soon after he becomes your number one fan?”

All this and more, in this gripping novel by Ravi Subramanian, The Bestseller She Wrote. Add this to your list of Indian contemporary authors, and you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.amazon.com where you can purchase a copy – Do note that Amazon does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

 

The Resilient Heart.

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She is anything but subtle and gentle when it comes to her works, her writing if anything always hints to a dystopian society, the failures of mankind and what’s worse than all of this? Margaret Atwood’s writing can’t entirely and truly be categorised as works of fiction. The Heart Goes Last is the latest addition to her collection of spine chilling reads.

Protagonists, Stan and Charmaine are left with nothing – sleeping in their car, collecting scraps from dustbins late at night with danger or worse, death always around the corner are in a society that has just crumbled. With almost no hope left, Charmaine catches an ad on TV, of a community that offers homes, jobs, an abundance of food and fresh towels. With bursting optimism, she convinces Stan to visit this facility, Consilience, despite warnings from Stan’s brother. It’s not all fluffy pillows and warm baths here, citizens have to spend one month outdoors and one, as inmates in Positron.

While at first, it would even make you wonder why such a situation would be far from an ideal one but as the story progresses, Atwood begins to reveal a side to humanity that isn’t too far from reality. As Stan and Charmaine begin to accept this life, they begin to face challenges, like the raw and often unexplored sides of humanity, that often mislead even the strongest.

With some shocking plot twists, Atwood takes the very core of relationships and shines light on parts that some of us choose to ignore in our daily lives. Everything and everyone is tested and this is why The Heart Goes Last is definitely on my favourite reads of 2016!

 

“The past is so much safer, because whatever’s in it has already happened. It can’t be changed; so in a way, there’s nothing to dread.” – The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.amazon.com where you can purchase a copy – Do note that Amazon does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

The Other Face Of War.

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Growing up in India there are a few tales that will always be passed from generation to generation, the Mahabharata being one of the stories used to teach children important lessons and values for life.

Picking up The Palace of Illusions was probably one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I was able to relive an experience, not in its entirety, but in a manner I will never be able to forget. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has taken this legendary tale and transformed it to follow Draupadi (Panchaali) to narrate this epic saga.

You got it right; this book is in fact, written with a feminist perspective. The novel begins with Panchaali’s life, her magical birth to King Drupad. It then goes on to revealing a beautiful princess’ thoughts and her inner most desires. Her adventures truly begin when she becomes the infamous Pandavas wife and seeks out a quest to reclaim their right into their own father’s kingdom. While there is only one epic battle, the Kurukshetra, in this story, the events leading up to this battle are explained, debated and even encouraged through Panchaali’s reasoning. Whether it’s her romantic relationship with the Pandavas, her playful relationship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret fascination with Karna who is also her husbands worst enemy, this tale unfolds beautifully as a feminine touch is added to this male-dominated tale.

Though the base of the story comes directly from the legend, Divakaruni lets her imagination roam free as she goes into the depths of Panchaali’s character. She’s in constant dialogue with herself, giving the reader a chance to almost forget about the war and look at the situation from only her point of view. One can almost sympathize, and at times relate with the character that Divakaruni presents to us with the mastery of her words.

Despite knowing all the events that lead up to the main battle, and even the outcome, this book is a page turner! It becomes absolutely necessary for the reader to see the outcome through Panchaali’s eyes and to hear, feel, know her as she goes through love, pain, torture and finally, peace. I would personally recommend this to anyone who has an interest in understanding war through the eyes of a woman.

Some women are lost in the fire, some women, are born from fire.

 

A Raw Woman.

… to write love is to confront the muck of language, that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little, excessive.

– A Handbook For My Lover, Rosalyn D’ Mello.

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It’s Raw.

Pure, unadulterated feelings.

Rosalyn D’Mello’s A Handbook For My Lover is a book, well, I wouldn’t really call it a book, it’s a journey. A journey of a variety of emotions that one’s mind, body and soul succumb to when they encounter this funny thing called, Love.

Her writing is crisp, yet it has a conversationalist feel to it – one that at times almost makes you feel like an eavesdropper.

Her lover, a man almost 20 years older than her, is a renowned photographer and has some pictures that can stop the very beatings of your heart.

And this is what, through the words of D’Mello, you find out page by page, how he took over the beatings of her heart.

There are several reasons why I believe that someone should read, and yet, shouldn’t read this book. Like I stated earlier, going through the pages of this book, it becomes clear to the reader that D’Mello, she’s smitten. There have been many love stories, one could almost pass this off as a story like any other… But it’s not.

It’s her raw writing that makes you blush, makes you sigh at times, and at times makes you even want to push the book away.

Is there a story, or a train of thought that to her memoir? I would have to say no. For those looking for a narrative that follows the typical path, as per the norm, you’d have to look elsewhere. But if you’re read to expose yourself, and yes, I choose my words carefully, if and when you’re ready to expose yourself to her words, then this will be the read of the year for you.

If anything, I believe that D’Mello’s writing, as a passionate lover, care-taker and friend of a man years older than her, is purely inspiring. It’s not a fairy tale, because those come with happy endings… This, is a tale that’s not even close to an ending.

All I know, is that from the moment I laid my hands on this book, it became clear to me, what I wanted from a relationship.

Raw, Pure and Unadulterated.  

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.amazon.com where you can purchase a copy – Do note that Amazon does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.

 

The War Between Worlds.

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Frankly, to be honest, I was rather apprehensive about reading a Salman Rushdie novel. For no other reason, but I was forced to read Midnight’s Children in my first year of Political Science at college, and I was left in awe.

No one can accuse Salman Rushdie for a lack of creativity and imagination – Rushdie, with the several layers of depths to his characters, with his works that more often than not seem to displease crowds, with his thought-provoking interviews and quotes that one would love to go to sleep with… Rushdie, has never left the limelight, and I believe it’s safe to say, that there can be no other like Salman Rushdie.

When I first picked up Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days I was more than just nervous, with his works, it’s always best to expect the unexpected. And even then, Rushdie finds a way to leave his readers spell-bound. In this tale that borders more towards science fiction, we are introduced to a world that exists only just above our own, Peristan. A re-imagination of The Arabian Nights, Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days is a book bursting at the seams, a book that is yearning to tell you tales of love, lust, power, a war, a fairy, 1001 nights, … oh and did I mention love? Existing in Peristan, are jinns, beings that are created from smoke and fire; beings with powers that no man can comprehend.

Until one day, Dunia, falls in love with a philosopher, Averros, from the human world – and it is with this match, that a brilliant combination of half-human-half-jinn lineage with unexplainable powers. With dark jinns and overpowering philosophers, the barrier between the two worlds is disrupted.

Rushdie has penned another fantastic tale that has all the elements of a great story. This book has a rhythm that won’t disrupt you, but it also contains within itself the workings of a great tale, one that will definitely leave you mystified and confused at various stages in your read.

The war between the two worlds is commencing, where will you be?

Disclaimer: The link to the book takes you to www.flipkart.com – Do note that Flipkart does not promote this blog, or is not associated with this blog in any manner. All views mentioned above are solely my own, and no author or outside party has influenced this post, my opinion of the author, or the review of the book in any manner.