Monday, September 23, 2013

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Man Booker Prize, made into a motion picture which went on to win many Oscars...There were enough reasons for this book to be in my "To Read " list. And when I picked this up finally to read, the expectation level was very high. Most probably that's what went wrong. When you pick up a book with high expectations, there is a high chance that you end up disappointed.

Having said that, I still don't know why I didn't like the book. The storyline is exceptionally good, narrative good enough, a shock factor present, what else was I looking for? May be I found the details of Pi's struggle for survival gross. Yeah, I sure did. And why shouldn't I? I am sitting in my cozy bed after a good dinner, reading a book. How would I understand the struggle of a boy, stranded in mid-ocean, with no food and no shelter and only a carnivorous tiger for company? How would I understand the loneliness that would force you to wait for the tiger to come back to the boat in the evening rather than leave him in a carnivorous island to die? I would rather believe such things don't exist.

The book sure has its "moments" but for me, it is like that sad movie that you don't want to watch again. Blame it on my high expectations. 

3 out of 5.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

There are some authors who have this "one book" that bowled you over.  And you always pick up another book from the author thinking you are going to get another masterpiece. But often you end up disappointed. Even then, when you see another book from that author, you pick that thinking " may be this one is like the first masterpiece".

In case of Dan Brown, there are two books of him that bowled me over - Da vinci Code and Angels & Demons. When I got a copy of Inferno on the first day itself, I had this secret hope in my mind that may be this is going to be another Davinci code.

Like Davinci code and Angels&Demons, Inferno has Robert Langdon as the main protagonist. Like Davinci code and Angels&Demons, he has a smart, intelligent lady to help him. Like  Davinci code and Angels&Demons, they are running around in some picturesque locations in order to stop some loony murderers (In this case, they have to save the world too!).   So like Da Vinci code and Angels &Demons, is Inferno also a masterpiece from Dan Brown? Sadly the answer is NO. The reason? A simple one will be: Unlike Da Vinci code and Angels& Demons, Inferno is boring !

Dan Brown has put Prof.Langdon in many hard-to-believe situations before also and Langdon has come out heroically from all of those. But this is really the limit. Robert Langdon, running for his life and simultaneously trying to save the world and occasionally stopping to admire great works of art and architecture and also cracking mysterious codes and.....all this while he has amnesia!! The novel at many places look like a travellers guide and the end is highly disappointing.

A huge, huge disappointment! 1 out of 5.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Broker by John Grisham

In his final hours in the office the outgoing president grants a controversial last minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious power broker.  It seems that Backman may have obtained secrets that compromise the world's most sophisticated satellite surveillance system. Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country, given a new name, a new identity and a new home, in Italy. 
(Excerpts from the blurb)

But Backman cannot afford to lead a quiet life in Italy. He has a lot of enemies from his past, ready to get him killed in order to extract  secrets from him. Furthermore, he is left in an unknown land without knowing whom to trust. How will Backman save himself from the Israelis, Russians, Saudis and the CIA?

This  is not a legal thriller or a court-room drama unlike many other Grisham novels. The plot is gripping generally, although in some places it drags and look more like a travelogue of Italy.

 Not going to be one of my favourite Grisham's, but still good. 3 out of 5.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Holmes of the Raj by Vithal Raj

A Pastiche is a work of art, literature etc which imitates a previous work by another artist. This work is a pastiche of  Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes and his dear friend, Dr. Watson visits India and the book is Watson's account of their travel.

The stories are narrated by Watson in true Conan Doyle style. But sadly the stories look like a travelogue rather than mysteries. The author's determination to make Holmes and Watson meet every distinguished Indian of that time become ridiculous after some time. Holmes and Watson , during their travel, meet Motilal Nehru, Swami Vivekananda, Rudyard Kipling , Srinivasa Ramanujan and many others. I almost laughed my head off when Holmes meet a cotton farmer Rhett Butler, who is using the alias Clark Gable. 

This surely seems to be a well-researched book, but not anywhere near the original. Read it only if you are a hard core Holmes fan and would like to collect anything related.

A disappointment, 1 out of 5.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer

I started this book without knowing that this is a sequel to another book.  Apparently this is the second book in the Clifton chronicles by Archer which will contain five books. Trust me, reading this book before reading its prequel is not a good idea.

The book describes events in the backdrop of World War II and surely is fast-paced. But I cannot still appreciate writers writing three or five books as a series to tell a story. Why don't write a single complete book?

Sorry Archer, couldn't appreciate this one. 1 out of 5.