Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Review: Sultry Days

Book Review: Sultry Days

Author: Shobha De

Publisher: Penguin Books

First Published: 1994

Shobha De – is well known personality India, she used to write articles in leading newspaper ‘Times of India’, she wrote several Books, and I think she was editor for some magazine also. Her claim to fame is in being politically incorrect and being critical and bitchy about everything. This is true for her articles in newspaper, But this is first time I am reading any of her book. So I picked up this book to check out what’s new she can offer through other medium.

I don’t know how people rate her as author on her overall work but judging by this book she seems pretty na├»ve in writing novels that too fiction. I am not at all impressed how she developed the book and more importantly characters of the novel although there was lot of scope for her in it.

The book is about a city girl who can be best described as no ambition girl or lost confused girl called Nisha. The book is about nisha and her life, she herself narrates it. It starts of with line when nisha meets God and fell in love with him. That is how the book is marketed. When you read that you feel wow what a great fiction lying ahead of us. But your hopes come crashing down in first few pages. As you know that God is Nisha’s love interest who is “I know all and I give a damm” kind of guy, who’s name is Deb and call as God by his friends because Deb literally means in English as God. And you lost interest in the book.

It’s not like book is totally let down, because the book is based on a high society life of dream city Mumbai. Which is also known as Page 3 circle and everyone is more than curious about what does happen in these parties, how is the personal life of these page 3 socialite. And that’s what Shobha De described in this book. It is full of manipulation with the means of money, position, sex, power. It has all the agitation, lots of bitching we recently seen in Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie “Page 3”. I will say instead of reading this book you can go and watch that movie which puts better light on these high society life which was so long was a myth for normal people.

Other thing is this supposed to be a novel but it turn out accumulation of short stories. In the process of writing the story of Nisha and her life Shobha De start giving whole life history of each and every character Nisha met. And that’s why I said she failed to develop any one character not even the protoganist character.

I believe this is just her second novel and there will be improvement in her writing for next books. For those of you who can avoid reading this book, its good for you. Those who can’ God bless you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Book Review: "The Shadow Lines"


A Novel by “Amitav Ghosh”

‘The Shadow Lines’ is novel written by one of the well known and celebrated Indian author Mr. Amitav Ghosh. This novel is “Sahitya Akademy Award” winner which is very much prestigious award in Indian literature. And this recognition by Sahitya Akademy led me to read the book.

This book is released in way back in 1988. Amitav Ghosh has really distinctive style of writing. His novel doesn’t have the big glamour, romanticism, heroism or drama like others. But it is more intense, sensitive, moving and more close to human emotions. The book is about a boy and his world through is eyes and his imagination. It is about his uncle who teaches him to travel the world through his imagination. It’s about his grandmother and struggle through her life after husband’s demise to raise her son without taking anyone’s help. It is about boy’s cousin Ila, his love interest who invariably brakes his heart. And it is about many such people. But more importantly is based on the backdrop of riots in Calcutta and post-partition Dhaka in 60’s, as well as in London in 60’s and in wartime of 1939 in London.

The author manage shape up the book as a web of memories of a person, he starts describing from one point which led him to various situations. His interpretation not time or place bound, he keeps on moving in past and present or from Calcutta, London or Dhaka. It is like solving a puzzle, he is arranging the pieces one by one and after some time he comes back to point where he started from and rearrange and start other side of it. It deals with relationship, history, myths, politics, humor and many things.

As the name Shadow Line suggest the author builds story builds the story around the lines drawn between people and nations. Which has been drawn by some unfortunate circumstances or by someone else or the character in the novel themselves draw it; but they could not wipe it away nor could they get accustomed to it. So there comes agitation invariably in nations or relationships of individual.

In simple words the book is remarkable and brilliant. It would move every sensible man. If I have to rate the book I will give it 10 out of 10. The book will find top spot in anyone’s personal collection.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

3 Mistakes by Chetan Bhagat

The 3 Mistakes of My Life – Chetan Bhagat.

The new release of Chetan Bhagat, “The 3 Mistakes of My Life. I read it last weak-end, and what I can say in one line is it is typical Chetan Bhagat style book. It seems that Mr. Chetan Bhagat has some kind software, which he use to write his novel. He just puts new characters, names, situations in the software and the novel is ready. The characteristic of his protagonist is similar, their thinking process is also similar. As in the main character in his first book “Five Point Someone” would have done same thing if he was put in place of Govind patel of this book. Actually his first book and this book is so similar that it seems like he just change the name of his characters and put them in different situation. As you can make out that the main characters in both the book is not at all heroic, he is absolutely normal average person nothing extraordinary. But his best friend is more like a hero. Then the love track of main character in this book immediately reminds you of first book. One more thing which suggest that Chetan Bhagat is working on well thought format is that he included numbers in all the titles of his books five, one and now three. Or may be it is his superstition to add number in the titles. This may be because he is entered in the world of bollywood. He is certainly decided to write his novels keeping bollywood in mind. His first two novels are already on the floor to be in bollywood movies. And the way this book is shaped this is also going in same direction.

If I don’t compare this novel with chetan Bhagat’s earlier works. Then I am really impressed with this book. It has friendship, love, business, cricket, religion, riots, and ya happy ending, everything a bollywood movie demands. The book starts of really well. An email to author from a businessman who is going to take slipping pills. Excellent isn’t it, everyone wants to know why he is doing it, you want to get bottom of it, and so you never keep book down. And if that happens author is winner isn’t it.

Chetan Bhagat has front runner of these new breed of authors who don’t use heavy duty English, instead he use just simple spoken English in India, Indian sentiments, passions. So he is surely represents youth of India. I just hope he doesn’t lost in bollywood and keep up his good work and write many more novels in future.