Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish

My 50th blog bad that I didn't like this book!! Hope my 100th entry will be better...(and sooner!).

The story is about Shiva, the Tibetan immigrant to Meluha, an imaginary city in Indus Valley civilization. Meluha is a near- perfect country, now under terrorist attack from its neighbours. They soon start to believe that Shiva is indeed Neelkanth, their saviour. Shiva, though reluctant to accept himself as a saviour and a god, decides to help the people of Meluha in all ways that he can. His job is not going to be easy with the Chandravanshis trying to attack Meluha, supposedly with the help of Nagas.

This is the first book in Shiva trilogy by the debutant writer Amish Tripathi. The author is an alumnus of IIM and has used his selling skills very smartly. The hero, modelled after the well worshipped Hindu god, is portrayed in true "filmi" style. There is also the "filmier" love affair between Shiva and Sathi. Bruhaspathi is a scientist in Meluha, Somras, or Amruth,  imparts immortality to Meluhians because of its anti-oxidising properties and Shiva, an "ordinary" human being swears every now and then! Really, Immortals of Meluha is a mix of both worlds! And the new best-selling author of Indian English Writing should rather rethink his writing style (and do a carefull  proof-read next time).

Not recommended, 1.5 out of 5.

Trivia : More bad news... Karan Johar has brought the rights for making this into a movie.


Bharathaparyatanam by Kuttikrishnamarar

Yet another work related to the great epic, Mahabharatha.

This is a collection of essays based on Mahabharatha by Kuttikrishna Marar. This book is unique in the impartiality shown by the author in analyzing the different characters and situations in the epic story. Rather than reinforcing the black and white characterization that is promoted by majority of people, Marar  dares to bring out the gray shades of all the characters. He also challenges some of the common interpretations of the epic, quoting reliable sources.

The essays are typically based on different situations from Mahabharatha. The first one in the book is about Bhishma's pledge. You really get a taste of what lies ahead in the book when Marar contrasts that with Rama's pledge in Ramayana. Some of the other essays are about Amba, Krishna's attitude towards Pandavas and Kauravars, Duryodhana's sense of Dharma, the impartial Balarama, cowardice of Yudhishtira etc.

 One of the best books about Mahabharatha. 4 out of 5.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Floating Admiral by Detection Club

Detection Club was formed in 1930 by a group of British mystery writers including Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, G. K. Chesterson etc. The club gave an opportunity for the members to meet over dinners and discuss plots and help each other. They even had an oath and agreed to adhere to a code of ethics so that the readers have a fair chance of guessing the culprit in their detective stories.

The Floating Admiral is a collaborative work done by many members of Detection Club including Chesterton, Whitechurch, Cole, Henry Wade, Christie, John Rhode, Milward Kennedy, Sayers, Ronald Knox, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, Clemence Dane and Anthony Berkeley. 

This novel was written by the members of Detection Club as an answer to the critics who think the job of a mystery writer is very easy as they can always formulate the plot and the clues, the way that suits them. Each chapter was written by a member of the club, according to some rules.  Each writer even wrote a solution to the mystery, all of which are given at the end of the book. Among these, the one given by Agatha Christie is considered the best.

Now, the bad news. "The Floating Admiral" is a brilliant experiment carried out by many of the finest people in detective fiction but sadly it fails to impress as a fine work of mystery. The same reasons that make it stand apart also fails it. There are so many clues, so many people involved and add to it the different styles of writing, you get a sort of "semi-mess"! This book is indeed an intellectual exercise for the writers and readers alike and it remains only that.

A perfect book for a collector, read it only if you can appreciate the effort behind it...3 out of 5.