Friday, September 27, 2013

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

                  Wave written by Sonali is a  book that i picked up based on posts made by a few friends on FB on how it touched them. This book with a simple black cover truly changed my perspective of life. The book is based on a true life story of Sonali Deraniyagala and her family who were attacked by the 2004 Tsunami. Having lived in Chennai and witnessing the Tsunami myself though from distant quarters I was keen to go ahead and read the book.
                 The narration is straight from the heart and filled with a myriad of emotions . Sonali lost her husband , parents and two young sons to the Tsunami and is the lone survivor in the family. Her journey , her lows , her emotions - guilt at times , anger , frustration , suicidal attempts ,etc makes you realise how life can just change overnight.She says of her family, "When I had them, they were my pride, and now that I’ve lost them, I am full of shame". Her memories of her children are the ones that will make you sob. When she sees things used by her boys or watch other children play it fills her with an agony that cannot be explained in words. The story goes back and forth between the happy times spent in London with her family and how post the Tsunami she had to pick herself up and carry on with life.
                 Sonali moves to New York to forget her past and she says that when people ask her why she is single or why she doesnt have children it makes her want to scream out loud that she had it all but destiny turned out to be cruel to her. This story really makes you reflect on life and think how the problems we actually face are minimal compared to this disaster. It teaches us that no matter what life has to move on and time will eventually be the healer.
                This book is truly an emotionally draining book. It left me sad and angry about how life can be so cruel to someone. But i guess the lesson learnt from this could also be her will power and her strength to move on with life despite all this.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

             It has been a while since I got my hands on a crime fiction novel. Hence when I received Jo Nesbo's "The Leopard" as a Christmas gift I was all eager to devour its contents. I did a quick search on Jo Nesbo and realised that quite a few people had compared him to Steig Larsson and that got me even more curious. I completely loved the narration of "The Girl with the Dragon tattoo" and hence wanted to read this book to compare Jo NEsbo's style of writing with that of Steig's
             The book introduces us to Harry Hole , an Oslo based detective who has received acclaim for cracking previous mysteries especially that of a certain "Snowman". Typical of most deetctives , Hole comes with his own share of person emotional baggage - a down syndrome affected sis , a dying father , a cyanical attitude and the works. He is called to Norway by the Crime Investigation team to investigate a series of serial killings. The murders are quite gory and ruthless and have just one common clue - that the victims stayed in a particular ski cabin resort on the day and time. The rest of the story is about how Harry Hole along with his aide Kaja Solness uncovers the mystery and the killer
                I would not term it entirely fast paced. Spanning over 600 odd pages this book does have some dull moments. Also I felt that there were various characters being introduced throughout the narration that it kept getting difficult to keep track of them (and all of them having hard to pronounce Norwegian names didn't help either). The way he solves the mystery with minimal clues is laudable however I feel there are better crime fiction novels
               I happened to read that "The Snowman" by the same author is a better mystery. Will get my hands on that and post a review soon. To sum it all up "The Leopard" is a mediocre crime fiction novel with a little circuitous plot that can leave you baffled and impatient at times

Thursday, March 31, 2011

                   Having read 'The Twentieth Wife' by Indu Sundaresan , I immediately grabbed this book from flipkart as I seem to like the author's style of writing.  Indu's writing is very contemporary and she covers Indian history as well as present day India in a very descriptive manner.
                  'In the convent of little flowers' is a collection of short stories with each story set against different parts of rural and urban India. The stories deal with many aspects of life .. marriage , freindship , death , betrayal ,etc . The first story takes you from Chennai to Seattle where an adopted Indian girl is suddenly getting to know the whereabouts of her biological mother. The story is very well written and a slight climax in the end makes it a pleasant read.
                    The story 'Three and a half seconds' is written in an unusual manner where only at the end of the story u realise the value of the title. Other stories deal with common issues such as parental betrayal , sati and wife swap practices and are written with elan and turn out to be  quite penetrating.
                  An interesting afterword is available where Indu talks about how she was inspired to write each of these stories . Newspaper anecdotes and online articles and incidents from known people served as the themes for many of her stories in this book. Overall a good read on issues little publicized about in the Indian society

Sunday, February 06, 2011

                    This book narrates a true life story of 36 year old Kathleen Flinn who pursues her long cherished dream.  Kathleen when laid off from her high profile corporate job decides to pack bags and move to Paris - reason being a degree at the well renowned Le Cordon Bleu.
                    The story unfurls in a quaint manner a diary entry with a mouth watering recipe to complement its conclusion. Each chapter talks about Kathleen's trials and triumphs at Le Cordon bleu. The friends she makes, the chefs  she needs to deal with and  the perfection that is expected all form a part and parcel of her life at Cordon Bleu.

                    I have always been a great fan of anything French - language , the country , the food , the fondue and what not. After recently watching the movie 'Julie and Julia' i was very inspired to try my hands at french cooking. After reading this book I am convinced that I should atleast enrol for a Basic Patteserie course in Le Cordon Bleu (maybe when I am 36!!)
                   Jokes apart this book is a good read. It could get a little boring at parts due to its monotony . However for anyone who wants insights into the Frencg chef's way of life you could grab this book.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

                     'The Secret' is a book that I picked up from the Best Sellers rack in the book store. Having heard many reviews of this book including an exclusive show in Oprah Winfrey show dedicated to it, I was curious to read this much acclaimed book.
                      The book is based on a simple law termed 'The Law of Attraction' , the law that determines our destiny and draws things towards us. The primary concept of this book is that each individual is the author of his destiny and thinking positive powerful thoughts enables him to achieve his goal. At various points there are quotes from famous doctors, scientists , social workers ,etc discussing how they happened to transform their lives following 'The Secret'.
                      A lot of content of the book is based on the 'Ask , Believe, Receive' mantra. When you ask for something and whole heartedly believe that it will happen , you will reap the rewards. The first thought that came to my mind when I finished this book was that , a book published in the 20th century carries the same message present in the Indian vedas written eons ago . So great and priceless is our Indian Vedas and upanishads that 'The Secret' by merely picking gists of it has become a best seller.
                        Overall a good read and narrated in a very positive tone. Also the glossy pages with comforting text will make your reading interesting .  A nice read for anyone looking for some optimism and hope in life :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

                          History has never ceased to amaze me and personally it was one of my favourite subjects back in school . I would almost always dreamily move into war zones , battle fields and court scenes in my imagination . My reverie during history classes would transport me to the Maurya kingdom , the Mughal grandoise or our very own modest Chera , Chola Pandya dynasties.  However I always had an inclination towards the Mughal dynasty and like any one else Akbar's reign fascinated me .
                        The Twentieth wife by Indu Sundaresan is a historical fiction set in the backdrop of the Mughal Empite. The book's protagonist is Meherun-nisa popularly known to the world as Noor Jahan.The story revolves around the undying love and passion that both Nur jahan and Jehangir had for each other from their adolescent days. However it took them more than fifteen years to sanctify it into a wedding. It depicts Nur jahan to be a strong willed woman , well learned and as a woman who could run the show with an iron fist. She proved to be a filial daughter , a dutiful wife , a nurturing mother and a soulmate to the Emperor. Though history glorifies kings and their conquests , very little is spoken about the women behind them running the show. This book could be  an eye opener to people who thought that women were subdued characters in the yester years.
                             This book gives us good insights into the Mughal way of life. The Mughal harem in particular is described in great detail . The harem comprised of the Emperor's wives, slaves , eunuchs and his concubines all pining to spend time with him . The one who would bear a son (heir) would be considered lucky.
                           Primarily set in Lahore, Agra and Kabul this book is definitely an interesting read. It transports you to a  time of pomp , grandeur and valour. A time about which we have read from mere text books. A book worth reading for anyone who likes history ...else you can just read it as a wistful romantic novel

Monday, May 31, 2010

                      The much acclaimed book - 'The God of Small Things' won the booker prize in 1997 and ever since Indian women authors have shared a special respect in the literary circles. I wonder why I had postponed this book so long since books by Indian women  always captivate me - be it Chitra Banerji or Jhumpa Lahiri or the most recent Indu Sundaresan .
                        The story is based around the life of dizygotic twins Estha and Rahel and the town of Ayemenen in Kerala forms the backdrop for the tale. The book entirely has a Kerala touch to it right from the pleasantaries used to the communist activists rampant there to the way grandparents are addressed as Mamachi and Pappachi. The story is told from the view point of the 7 year old twins and what is gripping is that it is filld with flash backs and forwards that sometimes you will have to context switch your mind to tune it from past to present to future.
                         The book left me with mixed feelings. Arundhati's writing style is indeed mind blowing . Her knack of drawing humour even in the saddest of situations makes it a good read. However the book was a tad too sad for me. It kind of left me thinking that there are people whose life is filled with hopelessness . There is no situation in the book where the family (the twins and their mom) see any form of happiness. Abandoned by a drunk dad ,admonished by their aunt (Baby Kochamma),being blamed for the death of their cousin ,Sophie all left me thinking that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for these characters.
                     A good read as it gives you a lot of insights into the Kerala culture . Also worth reading for the innocence dripping in the book since the  incidents are narrated from a 7 year old's perspective. Overall a mixed bag of emotions with sadness ruling it .


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