book review, Uncategorized

Book Review : Confessions On An Island

I wish to write down a review for every book I read, but the reality is far from that. I was a on a reading hiatus till last week and a gentle nudge from unknown quarters pushed me one day to resume my reading habit. I started with the Booker Prize Shortlisted masterpiece by  Ottessa Moshfegh, ‘Eileen’. The book came up on my Amazon recommendations and let me not deny the fact that I am quickly drawn to books that have something to do with Booker Prize. Thus I started reading the book and would rate it a 5/5. Any reader who loves literary fiction wouldn’t want to miss that book, trust me.

The second book I read this week was ‘CONFESSIONS ON AN ISLAND’ by Ayan Pal.  I wonder whether this book received the accolades and attention it deserve or I am ignorant of the same. Either way, I regret the fact that I was late in giving the book a try even though it had been idling away on my Kindle list for a while now. I thought I would write a review of this one and so here it goes. 

The Blurb:

An abducted woman trapped on an island is given a chance to escape, provided she tells stories emerging from the stories her intriguing abductor tells her. Clueless about why she is being forced to participate in this game of Russian Matryoshka Dolls, the woman, a bestselling author, decides to play along. And therein begins a thrilling tale narrated by an island. Of a man and woman consumed by the power of their imagination and truth, even as the stakes are gradually raised. Soon the only way out is in – into the past, heart and mind. The island is ready to confess. Are you ready for the truth?

My Review:

‘Confessions on a Island’ is in a few words a remarkable read. The concept is novel, the execution is almost flawless. I could barely point out any holes in the plot and for such factors the book turned out to be a few hours of time spent in the company of a satisfying, enthralling book.

Each chapter could be visualised as separate stories woven with brilliant craft and intuition, such that the culmination is cleverly revealed to us in the end at which we exclaim in awe. Certain scenes were powerful enough to instill shock in me and those are the scenes too which linger deep in my mind. This points to the strength of the author’s artful voice and how he was successful in putting across on a platter the raw realities of human life. But there might be readers who would cringe at the same, which I consider the only drawback of the story.  

The opening scene itself offers the reader a glimpse into the enviable mode by which the author has sculptured the story, with seamless, fluent prose and good vocabulary. The author has taken arduous efforts in detailing the nuances, bringing out the subtle beauty of story telling in more places than one. The book is racy, intriguing and absolutely catchy. I would recommend this book to any lover of books, although the theme being mature, it might not be appropriate for children to read.

This book deserves to be read by more bibliophiles out there, who ought to be spreading word about it too in the process. To lend my awfully small effort on similar lines, I have written this review in the utmost honest manner possible. Read the book and you will agree with me. 

Buy the book here – Amazon

~~~

This book was purchased by me and the opinions raised in this review are unbiased and are entirely mine.

book review, Books, Uncategorized

Book Review – In The Light Of Darkness

reading.jpg
image source – here

The last week was fabulous with regard to my reading journey. I happened to read two books after a hiatus which saw me staying away from books more owing to my inertia than due to my present work schedule, which I should say has been relatively relaxed over the past one month. The books that I finished reading were ‘In the light of darkness’ by Radhika Maira Tabrez and ‘Ananya’ by Shilpa Gupta. Social media has a much stronger impact these days and even though at times I hate being drowned in the sea of updates, at several other times, I feel indebted to it for it does a laudable job in introducing me to the astounding talents dwelling in the real world, far away from me, about whom I wouldn’t have had a clue about  if not for my presence on the social media.
radh.jpg

I have been following Radhika’s works for quite some time now and impressed by them, I decided to buy a copy of her debut novel ‘In the light of darkness. I downloaded the book on the Kindle app on my tablet and read it during the small breaks I was granted during work. Unlike many other readers, I don’t  stay up late reading a book and most of my reading happens during the day time and so also it has become difficult for me to finish a book in one go these days. Neverthless, I should say I finished this book in a matter of few days, reading around 30-50 pages a day.

In one word, the book was riveting. 

I believe that books dealing with family bondings deserve particular attention these days, especially in today’s world, where the immaculate bond between family members is witnessing a steadfast decline. The book left me in awe as I finished reading it as rarely had I read a book which stressed the importance of family values as much as this one. I love reading family drama and the one book belonging to that genre which I loved reading was ‘The Green Road’ by Anne Enright. ‘In the light of darkness’ could be considered a close competitor to that book, and trust me, I am not exaggerating when I say this.

The book courses the life of three main characters – Susan, Meera and Matthew as they traverse the chaotic journey called life. Their lives are intertwined with each other and also to other characters that are close to them, whether it is Colonel Bindra, Mrs. Bindra, Suhana, Vidhushi, Maanav or Deena. Matthew is undoubtedly one of my most favourite protagonists of all times. He is chivalrous, understanding, compassionate, caring and down-to-earth, everything one would expect from a good human being. But that doesn’t mean he should be perfect, does it? Well, he is not. Matthew has specks of negative shades too like any individual, to know the details and reasons of which you should read the book.

The other characters are also flawlessly etched. Suhana’s chirpiness and sensibility, Meera’s serenity and subtleness, Vidhushi and Maanav’s intensity of friendship and Colonel Bindra’s sturdiness and composure straddled intricately the reader in me .

A sublime element of togetherness underlies the relationship they share with each other and the incidents and conversations highlighting the same would warm the cockles of any reader’s heart. The author’s choice of words needs particular mention, the amalgamation of which results in the evocative read the book is. The editing is commendable and I couldn’t have asked for a better reading experience. The ‘letter’ which forms the crux of the book is sure to leave you misty-eyed. It is pregnant with nuggets of wisdom and one would wonder how beautiful a mother the author would be in her real life.

The book cover, about which I should have mentioned at the start is compellingly symbolic of the nostalgia one is gripped when one revisits the haven where they resided during their child hood days. Is there someone who wouldn’t cherish a specific nook or corner of their home so much so that they consider it a treasure cove of memories even eons after they have left the place, while turning into mature yet supple adults along the way?

In short, ‘In the light of darkness’ is a celebration of love and oneness. The book, particularly, is a must-read for the present generation who would imbibe much from this book about the worthiness of maintaining good relationship not just with their family members but also with their friends and near ones.

I  just finished ‘Ananya’ by Shilpa Gupta, which is a beautiful, heart warming book in itself. I had thought of including a review for ‘Ananya’ as well here, but then, the post has already become lengthy. I shall post it in another post, next time. I find myself lucky to have picked up two good books over a period of one week. I would definitely recommend both these books for the readers out there who would love a soothing read, which would act as the much needed force to ease the knots of struggling relationships which we find ourselves in, thanks to the drastically transforming societal norms, values and practices.

But the book online here – In the light of darkness.

So, what have you read over the weekend? Are you keeping up with your 2016 reading challenge? How far have you come?

~~~

book review, Uncategorized

Book Review, Almost.

I was planning to write something over the weekend, but then we had a short trip planned to Ootty from our hospital, which took a toll on me, although the trip was a beautiful one in many regards. I was too tired when I reached back, with my muscles aching from the few rides I took at the park by the lake (I doubt if the conspiracy behind the rides was scientific enough). I had a small presentation on Friday and another one due in two days. Yet, amidst all this chaos, I happened to read a book and I cannot be more proud of myself. A friend mentioned about the latency of my blog posts and that was what granted the much needed impetus for me to settle down today to write today.

dsc_0398

I am not writing much new through this post, as I have decided to compile a few uncoventional  book reviews that I had written elsewhere over the past one month and present here. I happened to read two good books recently, which brings my count of books read in 2016 to 37, which is 13 books short of my Goodreads reading challenge. I had aimed for 50 books, and I have now promised myself to try my best to complete atleast 40 books out of that. Following are the book reviews I mentioned about and I hope you are inspired to try these books out as you finish reading the reviews.

1. SHADOW IN THE MIRROR – By Deepti Menon

sha

I have to confess that I fell in love with the book right from the cover page. The lady with the mysterious look would succeed in inviting anyone to the chambers of secrets that lie strewn inside the pages of the book. Past the cover page, one should expect nothing short of a stupendous and thrilling ride, not to mention the fact that the narration had emotional undercurrents running through it deeply. A thriller flavoured with heart warming snippets would, undoubtedly, be one of the best genres to explore, don’t you agree? Undeniably, Shadow in the Mirror‘ has succeeded in doing just that.

The characters are painstakingly detailed – be it the vibrancy of Vinny, the sensitiveness of Nita or the multi-hued personality of Kavita. The lines are peppered with enlightening nuggets and evocative words – one would be in awe of the appropriateness and sheer depth of the author’s lexicon. The book is a thriller, and so it inevitably has to come packed with suspense and that was another department where the book satiated me wholly and thoroughly. The astuteness of the editing process that went behind the book too impressed me, as I found it an effortless task to sail from one sentence to another sans typographical hiccoughs.

I wouldn’t be lying when I say that I happened to absorb large proportions of notes mentally as I finished reading the book and for that, I have Deepti Menon and her terrific novel to thank.

2. HEARTS AND HOTS – By Ruchi Singh

hht

I bought ‘Hearts and Hots’, a collection of short stories recently released by Ruchi Singh, with much apprehension, as I was never an ardent admirer of love stories. The short sample on Amazon left me intrigued and I decided to go ahead and grab a copy. I have to say my intuition had me guarded as the book turned out to be a page-turner in itself. The stories are well written and I spent a whole two hours reading the book without halt and happened to enjoy it thoroughly too. What makes the book stand out from the voluminous mass of junk being churned out today in the name of romance is, undoubtedly, the skilful writing of the author. The lines are churned out beautifully and they are gracious and able enough to let a reader devour it in entirety, sans any distress or hiccoughs. The apt choice of words and crisp presentation need to be lauded. What amazed me further is the variety of the story lines, as one would have the tendency to approach a collection of romantic short stories with a preconceived notion that the stories would in most probability over lap in their nature and course. Such was never the condition with this book and the writer and the resultant critic in me was satiated in this regard as well.
If you are a fan of love stories, or better yet, if you are a lover of short stories, then this book is sure to lend you company, good enough to not let you regret your choice in the end.

~~~

So, have  you read anything recently? Do share.

~~~

book review, Books, Saturday Specifics, Uncategorized

Mindful But Absent – Book Review: Saturday Specifics

IMG_20160130_191602.JPG

 

The Blurb on the Back Cover: 

“This is a story about relationships within a family unit and close friends 
for a happy & enriching life 

It traces fictional journeys of a few friends from IIM Ahmedabad over 
the course of 25 years 

Set against the backdrop of multiple bottom-line or impact investments, it highlights inherent conflicts of success in the intensely competitive lives of these MBAs. 

The story amalgamates rustic India and contemporary global with 
its wry humor and its take on the startup ecosystem which most professionals may relate to.” 

My Take:

MBA-Mindful But Absent is a straight forward story of a group of management professionals. The story told in non parallel narrative starts off with three friends, Rolo, Ashim and Ramesh reunited in the present. Ashim and Ramesh are running a start up venture and to accompany them, to offer help in whatever way possible arrives their friend and batch mate Rolo. When closely knit friends meet, heart warming conversations and reminiscences are bound to happen. The same happens here and each of them traces their journey since the day they graduated from the business school.

What follows in the book is a roller coaster ride that takes us through the fervour and fiestas that people soaked in true friendship witness. I especially liked the life journey of Rolo, who is portrayed as a compassionate human being, which in a way, sends out a strong message to the youth of the present generation. The dialogues are written mostly in simple language, such that it does justice to the essence of the story, with the theme revolving around the whims and woes of the youth of our country. The story is particularly relevant in the aspect that it deals with the vagaries that aspiring business men confront in their relentless and strife stricken journey, where they strive hard to make a mark with their start up projects. Not solely that, but the turmoils and hiccoughs that married couples encounter, of the likes of mistrust, divorce, seperation and infidelity come to the foray occasionally too. The story ends on a heart warming note which pleased the reader in me. 

I wish though that the backdrops of the scenes and the layers of the characters were put across in a more detailed manner. I couldn’t find any typographic errors or grammer glitches, which point to good editing. It can be considered as a must read for the entrepreneurs out there, who would find the thoughts opined in the book to echo with their experience. For others too, the book would interstingly keep company on a relaxed afternoon, when you are in the mood to read something light and uncomplicated. 

~~~

Details of the Book:

Title: Mindful but absent

Author: Vikas Gupta

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing

Genre: Fiction/ Contemperory

Number of Pages: 257

Price: Rs.200

Buy the Book Online:

Amazon India

Flipkart

About the Author: 

Vikas is an alum of IIM Ahmedabad, currently CEO of a group of companies employing 10K people. He had incubated a low-cost housing business while at a private equity fund. The concept was based upon mass production but low customization techniques that bring high quality housing for the lower income section of society tantalizingly within reach. He had, prior to that, spent close to two decades in the industry. Some of his notable assignments were President of Kohler India, CEO of Lacoste India, CEO of Arcus, and Country Manager for Adams confectionary business at Warner-Lambert. He started his career at Colgate Palmolive.
~~~
P.S: This post is tagged with ‘Saturday Specifics’, a sub section of this blog where I put up something creative- a story, poem, haiku, Flash Fiction or a Book Review.
 
P.P.S: The book was sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for a honest review. The views expressed in the review are unbiased and are entirely mine. 
~~~
book review, Books, Saturday Specifics, Uncategorized

Menaka’s Choice- Book Review: Saturday Specifics

MENAKA-S-CHOICE-SDL369695510-1-7b37c

I started writing book reviews on this blog around four years back. I remember my grand father gifting me a notebook when I was a little girl, if my memory serves right, exactly eighteen years back, suggesting that I write down my thoughts, criticisms and reviews on the books I read. In hindsight, I believe that it was he who instilled in me in the passion to fall in love with books and indirectly the constant urge to express my opinions, to be saved forever in black and blue on the blank pages of the notebook. After reviewing a few books I preferred, the blog slowly started sliding  into the professional book review niche where I would review books on request. And now after so long, I am undertaking the fulfilling process of reviewing a book, sans a request. I read the book out of curiosity and I am reviewing it out of the unmistakable compulsion of my own inner terrains.

So much for the prelude. The book I am about to talk about now is ‘Menaka’s Choice’ authored by the prolific Kavita Kane. Let me confess before hand that I picked up the book more owing to the inspiring bio profile of the author more than anything else. Yes, the theme centred around, Menaka, the Apsara who is mentioned randomly when narrated The Ramayana intrigued me for its novel subject, but, I have to admit that my observative eyes never roam past an author who is qualified and has made a mark in the realm of literature, without taking a moment to imbibe the details of the book he/she has authored. ( This doesn’t inadvertently imply that I prefer such books always; rather it has to be understood that I wouldn’t, in most probability, want to miss such a book)

And that was how I picked up ‘Menaka’s Choice’.

Do I regret the decision? Was I wrong in judging the book by such unique pre requisites?

You would have an answer as you glide through the review. I promise.

First of all, the protagonist of the book is Menaka- the sensuous Apsara who, like any other resident of Amravati, the Kingdom of Devas, belonged to Indra as widely believed. To fall in love, to marry the person she loves and to give birth to a child who was the fruit of their ever lasting love remained sins which were largely criticised and condemned, not just by Indra, but ubiquitously by all. Contrary to the sturdy rules and stipulations, Menaka falls in love with Vishwavasu, the king of Gandharvas and bores a daughter. What follows is a cascade of trials, tribulations, ploys and tactics that revolve around Menaka, who is eventually send down to Earth to seduce, Kaushik, the king of Kanyakubja, who emerges a potential threat to Indra and his kingdom for his greed for celestial power. The king is on a diligent journey to procure the title of Brahmarishi, the most coveted amongst the Rishis, much instigated by the skills and awe inspiring capabilities of the Rishi Vasishth who bemused him with his powers and  hence indirectly put him to shame.

Will Kaushik fall prey to Menaka’s bait or will she fall witness to the harrowing tentacles of his revolting curse? Will Menaka lose Viswavasu forever? Will Kaushik finally yearn the title of Brahmarishi? Or will Indra disintegrate once and for all, Kaushiks’ focussed meditations so that he would keep Heaven safe, unperturbed and unchallenged, from the desirous glances of a mere mortal?

‘Menaka’s Choice’, in one word, is multidimensional. It implicitly dwells on various topics that are highly relevant in today’s world. Menaka is not exactly a feminist, but she is a strong willed woman, or more specifically a fighter, who would go to any length to suffice the whispers of her heart. She is unconventional, bold, beautiful, confident, outspoken, incandescent, vulnerable, fearless, dedicated, righteous, astute- all rolled into one. She stands up for the people she loves. She stands up for herself. She fights injustice. She lashes out against the doers of immoral deeds with such certitude, never for once tempted to sail with the flow. She lives by her rules. She is never shrewd, nor is she conniving. But she sure knows how to make people pay the price for their vices in the least hazardous of ways. You must be wondering how I could write such a detailed character sketch of Menaka? There lies the author’s impeccable dexterity.

The book starts off slowly, albeit intriguingly. The pages are enriched with writing of superlative quality. The lexicon is remarkable. The subtle emotions are portrayed brilliantly, which in turn successfully acts to convince the reader. The conversations are detailed extensively, especially, the scene where Menaka confronts Indra about the fate of Vasu and another one where she locks Indra in a check mate with her oratory acumen. Those scenes, unquestionably, are my most favourite parts. The dialogues ooze vitality. They never lose charm mid way and these are the assertive reasons why I admire the talent of the author.

The book is alluringly sensuous at places too, which have been written in an equally aesthetic manner. The plot doesn’t skew towards unnecessary pathways and the focus is maintained mostly on Menaka and rightly, her ground breaking choices. A few editing glitches in between, thankfully, didn’t hinder the reading process any which way.  I hope sincerely that those are rectified in the following editions.

‘Menaka’s Choice’ is undoubtedly a rewarding experience. Let you not be speculative, but grab a copy and be addicted at the earliest. 

 

Details of the book:                                                                   

Title: Menaka’s Choice                                                                       

Author: Kavita Kane                                                                            

Publisher: Rupa Publications                                              

Number of Pages: 290                                                

Price: Rs. 295                                                                      

Genre: Fiction

Buy the Book Online:

Flipkart

Amazon

About the Author:  Kavita Kané is the best-selling author of Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen and Sita’s Sister. She started her career as a journalist and is now a full-time novelist. She is a postgraduate in English literature and mass-communications and a self-confessed aficionado of theatre and cinema. Married to a mariner, she is a mother to two teenaged daughters and currently lives in Pune along with Dude, the overfriendly Rottweiler, Chic the friendly Spaniel and Babe, the unfriendly cat.

~~~~

 

P.S: This post is tagged with ‘Saturday Specifics’, a sub section of this blog where I put up something creative- a story, poem, haiku, Flash Fiction or a Book Review.