Friday, January 30, 2009

"Love Marriage"

Book Review: “Love Marriage”

Author: V. V. Ganeshannathan

Language: English

Genre: Novel

Publisher: Phoenix Publication

“Love Marriage” is a debut novel by V.V. Ganeshnathan who is residing in United States but her parents are from Shri Lanka who moved to United States when trouble started in Shri Lanka. So she made and effort in this novel to describe present, past and future of Srilankan turmoil and how it is affecting people who are long moved away from the country.

This is the first ever novel I read which has absolutely inappropriate title. The name “Love Marriage” suggests the book will be romantic one. But it is not about love or marriage but it is more about political and social problems in Shri Lanka. It is the book about infamous LTTE. LTTE has been declared as terrorist group by Shrilankan Government and many other countries. It is an organization which is claiming separate country for Tamilians in the Shrilanka and fighting for welfare of them. In the process they are considered most deadly and violent organization in the world. I think they are the people who introduce the world suicide bombers and sinyde eating cadets, only Lashkare Tayeba will come close to them in recent time. But author being Shrilankan and a Tamil is trying to defend them not that she is supporting their violent and inhuman ways of operation. Instead she wants to make a point that people behind LTTE has strong motive behind whatever they are doing. So they should not be compared to other terrorist groups like Laskare Tayeba who kills innocent people just to make their point heard by the world. That must be the reason she has quoted many times in the book that “Governments all around world declared any group terrorist as they want to wipe out motive behind their motive.” This may not be her exact words but it meant something like that.

As for the book it is confused you more than anything. It happens because author is confused herself, she is not sure she should openly support LTTE or not. So book does not come out with whole hearted emotion of main protagonists. And more importantly book has not free flowing there are so many unnecessary obstructions. So many times in the book chapters are not able to occupy single page. There are so many half page chapters so that you feel like you are reading someone’s personal diary. It does not make novel reading that exciting. I prefer novels which are freer flowing. She has chosen excellent subject to write a novel on. There are many people who want to know about LTTE, about their motives, about their lives. And the purpose behind the support they get from Tamilians not only in Shri Lanka but from all over the world even from India. So much support that Tamilnadu’s Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi threaten the Central government of India from pulling out the support over the matter of unjustice on Shrilankan tamilians.

So I wanted to read this book to clear out mysteries around the LTTE and the war going on in Shri Lanka for decades. Although it gave me brief idea of the background of this tussle between Shrilankan Government and LTTE but there are many questions remain unanswered. I think the author should try to write this book again on the subject without any inhibitions she will surely do better. If I have to rate this book now I will give 4 out of 10.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Book Review: "Kalandar" - (Marathi)

Book Review: “KALANDAR” (Marathi)

Author: Shri. Na. Pendase

Language: Marathi

Genre: Novel

Publisher: Majestic Prakashan

Pages: 403

First Published: August 1983

I read two other books ‘Lavhali’ and ‘Rathchakra’ by Shri. Na. Pendase and after reading those I am Fan of his work. Shri. Na. Pendase is now one of my favorite authors. I have decided to read all the books written by him. So when I had my eyes on this book which was written by Shri. Na. Pendase, there was no second thought while picking up this book.

When I read first few pages of the book, I felt little disappointed that book will not be as good as I anticipated. As from the start only author keep on bombarding and explaining the place and time in which the novel is based. For sometime it is hard to understand what he wants to say and where is he taking this novel. But few pages after everything gets settle down and you come to know what gem of a book this is. You can read this as periodic novel. Because it is based in the period of 1930 to 1940 about the period of World War II. And it is based in Mumbai. The book was more interesting for me as book describes the Mumbai of 1930. Today Mumbai has widened its boundaries, Mumbai is spread over from Churchgate to Virar and from CST to Vashi then there is also Navi Mumbai. But when we read the book we realize that during that period Mumbai was considered only up to Churchgate to Dadar. Even the suburb like Andheri was considered as out of city. So not only people transform, cities, villages, nations also transformed themselves over the years or decades so much so that it is hard to recognize.

The book is story of ordinary people. They are not by any measures special. They are people among us and around us. It is a story of a boy who follows his heart, and while doing so he has to face opposition from not only by society but by his own family and his love ones. So much so that he always have to run away from them. It is a story of people who live their life cripplers without any self esteem. There life is so much ruined as they allow other People to dominate them and their life. So to come out of misery they are always on a look out for help from others. The protagonist of the novel is a person to whom these cripplers want to hold on to. And the protagonist is more than happy to help these people but while helping these people his life goes through huge mess.

I really enjoyed the novel; all the characters are so well developed. You can not find any flaws in any of the character. All the books I read of Shri. Na. Pendase is based on middle class people living Mumbai Chawls but all of them are different from each other. There are many similarities in it but he has new story to tell in every book. If I have to rate this book I will give 8 out of 10.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Book Review: "White Man Falling"

Book Review: “White Man Falling”

Author: Mike Stock

Publisher: Harper Collins

White Man Falling is quite interesting title for any book; it certainly raised my curiosity level so much that I picked up this book right away. And the book does not disappoint me at all. This book is written by Mike Stock. This is his first novel. As his name Mike Stock suggest he is not Indian citizen but still he able to write is first novel based in India. This may be because although his name does not tell his true nationality. He is Indian or he might be traveling in India for long time. If he is just a traveler then work he did is commendable as his portrayal of a Indian family, their emotions, their beliefs, rituals and their psychologies is spot on. He did his research very well and accurately.

The introduction of novel says that this is some kind of comic book, and when you read the plot you also have same feeling. It is a story based in a small city of south India. There is one Sub-Inspector R. M. Swaminathan who is prematurely retired from service as he got paralyzed while beating up a thief. Book tells the story of his troublesome life where he has to mind big family consist of wife and six daughters. With six daughters his worries multiplied six times because he has to make arrangement for the dowries of all six daughters. And all this he has to manage in his paltry disability pension.

When I read this much details I thought it will be like any other Indian story in which poor father with many daughter try all sort of legal, illegal ways with lots of funny twists in it as the book is self proclaimed comedy. But what book tells his somewhat different story. There is a twist in the story, twist of white man falling. So book has a perfect title to go with.

As retired Sub-inspector R. M. Swaminathan going through his misery days when he was not able to cope with his handicapped life and pressure of marrying his daughters. He also made many suicide attempts but that too proved unsuccessful. One such misery full day when he was roaming in the city a white man that is a white skinned foreigner falls from sky at his feet. And then onwards his life totally speeds up things start happening with him. At first things took bad turn so dejected again he tries ro end his life again. This time his attempt with some one else’s help gets more successful and he reached to comma. And when he gets out of comma he finds whole new world waiting for him. The same white man and comma helps him to be a spiritual guru of people and all the negative things around him turn positive by it self.

The book reminds you the work of famous Indian author R. K. Narayan. Especially his book Malgudi Days but it may solely because both are based in South India. The book has many comic elements so it can be called as comedy but it is mainly because of the first part of the book. Second part is more serious stuff with some pinch of comedy. It has little element of “Sorry Bhai” by that I mean one of the daughters fall in love with a brother of her supposed to be Groom. That is really well crafted plot in the book. I enjoyed that the most.

Overall it was fun to read this book and I will suggest all of you to read it. If I have to rate the book I will give 7 out of 10.