Monthly Archives: March 2013

Review: Only time will Tell

Only_Time_Will_Tell_9780230748224Though Jefferey Archer is well read throughout the world and has a big fan following in India too and I have heard so much about his books but I hardly read him ever, may be  just a couple of books.

So when I picked up “Only time will Tell” it was on instincts and may be I vaguely might have heard about the Novel.

“Only time will Tell” by Jefferey Archer is the first of the trilogy (I later realized) and is an interesting read.

The story is based on Clifton’s family, where Harry Clifton who is raised by his mother with a belief that his father was killed in the war. He is a bright student and so for giving him a better life his mother works very hard and he gets a fatherly support in ‘Old Jack’ who is found of him and his teachers Mr. Holcombe and Miss Monday. The death of Arthur Clifton is a mystery. There is another secret that Harry’s mother has not told anyone. Harry make friends with Giles Barrington, son of the owner of the company where Harry’s father used to work.

The story is of the times of second world war and how after several twists and turns in Harry’s life he decides to leave from everyone’s lives. It’s a very well written story and keeps you engaged. Though a little thick the book won’t bore you at any point.

The characters are well described and you start to understand the complexity of the issues faced by Harry and his mother.

I liked the book and now looking forward to the reading the remaining 2 books of the trilogy.

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Review: The Riot

riotI finished “The Riot” a couple of weeks back but somehow never get the time to log on to wordpress for the review. But that gave me time to think over and over again about the book before putting my thoughts down in words.

“The Riot” by Shashi Tharoor is the third book by the author that I have read (in addition to umpteen articles and speeches that I have heard of him). Whoever knows me or follows me through my blog knows how big an admirer I am of his work in writing and otherwise. I would even go to the extent of saying that he is one of the politician in India that I really admire and respect.

After I had read and reviewed “The Great Indian Novel” someone suggested that I should read “The Riot” by Tharoor and I had been meaning to do that for sometime and finally got the chance.

Now about the book, “The Riot” is a unique book in itself (so is every book by Shashi, I am beginning to believe that) and to think of it that it was published some 12 years back is incredible and if I hadn’t read “The Great Indian Novel” probably I would have been surprised. But Shashi is different. There is no ‘maturing period’ i  with his writing I guess, ever since he has started writing novels his writing has been matured beyond his years. But I digress, so coming back to the book, it’s a unique story, 24 year old Priscilla Hart who is in India to help out with an NGO that works for population control program is murdered in the backdrop of communal killings. Her parents land in India to understand the circumstances that lead to their daughter’s death. The novel is dealt in a different manner, where each character is narrating his or her part of the story and some part of story being carried out through the news articles. There is the collector of the state Laxman, the police chief, the reporter and then Hindu and Muslim leaders fighting for the “Ram Janambhoomi’. Priscilla falls in love with Laxman who is married and wants to settle down with him.  But it is not clear who killed her and what was the motive, however everyone forces her parent’s to believe that she has been “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Her parents has their own struggles and memories from earlier trip to India.

Now reading this novel, took me back to the time when “Ram Janambhoomi” issue was so hot. Every sensible Indian would like to forget those times and would consider that instance as a blot on the face of secular India. I was young that time but even then the mark it left on my mind (though I just heard and read through radio, newspapers and few eye witnesses account) . How a bunch of politicians can provoke the innocent citizens to take up arms for all the wrong reasons and sacrifice them at the altar. And the irony is that they still continue to lead the nation or states in some way or another.

This delicate and sensitive topic is so beautifully handled by Tharoor and yet it is so honest that I am totally amazed. It looks like a first hand account by the writer though its not. The circumstances, the feeling among different religious groups that time (even now in some quarters) are so vividly and honestly describe that I don’t think anyone else could have done justice to that topic. And then to mix it with the complexities of Indian and American culture, putting a little love dimension into it and the coke angle, simply brilliant. I can’t conjecture how did he even come up with this plot but then yet again if you have read “The Great Indian Novel” you can expect this work of brilliance from Shashi Tharoor.

The novel is top notch, Shashi Tharoor is remarkable and though it may rekindle the sad old memories of those tough times this is one book I think every Indian should read. Though the protagonist is American this book is much about India and Indians as any other.

Thank you Mr. Shashi Tharoor for bringing us “The Riot”.

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Review: The Dalai Lama’s Cat

dalailamacatI was able to finish the book that I started last week but just didn’t get enough time to share the review. So this morning I thought I should do that before another hectic day engulfs me.

The book that I read last week was “The Dalai Lama’s Cat” by David Michie. 

And the adjectives that I would use to describe the book are “Beautiful”, “Magical”, “Enjoyable”, etc.

I picked up this book because of the interesting title of this book and had no clue what’s in store. Dalai Lama is a well-known figure throughout the world and in India too he is revered as a ‘Buddhist Dharam Guru’.

You get hooked onto the book with the first few pages and when I started reading the book it was hard to put it down.

The story  begins when the Dalai lama picks up a kitten from a roadside in Delhi where the street urchins were selling it and its other siblings. DL brings it to his abode in Himachal. The story is told from the Cat’s point of view. The Cat tells the entire journey from the time it was picked up and its stay at the Dalai Lama’s.  There is so much wisdom that is embedded in this book yet it doesn’t appear to be a self-help book at any instance. The Buddhist teachings and Buddhism are the main stay of the story yet the simple things told in the book are not restricted to people practicing Buddhism but to anyone and everyone. The book goes on with the Cat trying to adjust in DL’s abode, how it is quickly referred to by different names such as ‘Snow Lion’, ‘Mousie-Tung’, ‘HHC’ and mostly as “The Dalai Lama’s Cat”. The Cat feels the same emotions and same confusions as humans and how it changes itself by listening to the teachings that DL gives to different people.

One of the best instance is when the first time just playing on instincts the Cat attacks a mouse and brings the mouse in its mouth to the DL’s Home. Later it realizes how wrong it was through the words of wisdom by DL that every life is precious and every one wants to live and be safe, at that point it  realizes how it was the same case when DL has picked it up from the Delhi Streets.

Dalai Lama meets many celebrities and Dignitaries and the Cat narrates the stories throughout the book and at every page you will find some or the other learning for life. All in all it’s a wonderful book. The writing is simple and I think a novel is perhaps a better way to help people understand complex words of Wisdom.

Buddhism is partly know in the world and I am sure there are thousands of things we can learn from that religion without the need to convert to it.

The author has already written other books on Buddhism and after reading this I am intrigued and would like to read his other books too.

A wonderful book and I am happy I came across it. I highly recommend reading it.

 

 

PS: Thanks to MySmartPrice for sponsoring this wonderful book.

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Review: The Bankster

Bankster CTCSo I finally managed to finish the book that I started some 2 weeks back. But the book is definitely not to be blamed for that 🙂

It was my hectic schedule at work that kept me from finishing this book which could otherwise should have been finished in one seating.

The book this week was “The Bankster” by Ravi Subramanian. 

I am happy to be discovering some good Indian authors in this process of reading. I have heard a lot about this book and how this is even recommended by even the likes of Jeffery Archer (not sure if this is true). So I was intrigued.

The book read true to every accolade that it has received and I am glad I got hold of this book. It’s fiction, a fast paced thriller. Having banking as the backdrop (probably because the author has been a banker for long).

Two stories run in parallel and merge in the end, at one side there is a struggle against a Nuclear Power Plant in a small town of Devikulam in Kerela and on the other side Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) in Mumbai has fraud and malice cooking. A series of murders happen at GB2 and then an ex employee of the bank Karan Panjabi starts investigating to find that there is more than just a case of fraud in the bank. The wires of which reach out globally. Several benaami accounts setup in GB2 to fund a conspiracy against the country.

I won’t go in the details as it will take away the fun of reading. All I can say is it is a fun read. Very impressive when you think of it coming from an Indian author.

The book is fast paced and at every page something new is happening, someone new is coming into the picture and the reader is left wondering what will happen next. The locations in which story is set up also adds to the ‘masala’. You will also get to know the dirty details of banking (if you don’t already know it).

Only boring part I thought was in the end when the Vienna police searches the premise of Jews foundation. It was way too lengthy. But I ain’t complaining 🙂

It’s a fiction so you just need to read it like one and not find meanings in it.

Good book, Well written.

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