Saturday, October 31, 2015

In the Woods by Tana French

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This is the debut novel by Tana French, an Irish novelist. This is also the first book in her Dublin Murder Squad series.

Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox, two murder detectives in the Dublin Murder Squad, are assigned to investigate the murder of a twelve year old girl. But nobody except Cassie knows that Rob is actually the lone survivor of a missing case that happened in the same woods as the girl's body was found. Rob and his two best friends went missing in the woods twenty two years before and Rob was the only one to come back, but he had no memory of what happened. Rob fears that the two cases are related and it becomes inevitable that he remembers what happened 22 years before.

In the Woods is, without any doubt, a gripping novel. But the ending of the novel may disappoint you. Firstly, the real culprit gets off scot-free. Secondly, of the two mysteries in the novel, one remains unsolved. 

In the Woods shows Tana French as a promising novelist. I will definitely read the next book in the series. 3.5 out of 5.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mrs. FunnyBones by Twinkle Khanna

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Twinkle Khanna, former Bollywood actress and star-wife, publishes her first book which is a compilation of her articles.

There are 26 articles in all, one for each English alphabet. Her writing surely is satirical and funny. She makes humorous observations about anything in life, from kids to karva chauth. There is not much to write in detail about  this book, other than it is what Vogue claims it to be- "Funny and Fashionable". Considering that former actresses usually write books(or bring out cd's) about staying in shape, Mrs. Khanna deserves to be applauded.

In short, this book is funny and will make a good airport-read. 3 out of 5.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Best sellers (like this and this) have disappointed me many times before. But this book was popping on my amazon page a lot, finally I ordered this.

The marriage of Nick and Amy are going through difficult times. They, after losing jobs in the recession, have recently moved to Nick's hometown, Missouri, to take care of Nick's dying mother. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears. 

The story is said in first person, alternately by Nick and Amy. The first part of the novel gives Nick's account of the initial days after Amy's missing and Amy's diary entries about how they met, fell in love, got married and how their marriage was. The two accounts seem to contradict each other and the reader might get into a dilemma of whom to believe. Now the second part offers you a "twist" in the story and it becomes difficult to put down the book after this.

Gone Girl touches a lot of themes like the invasion of media in life, the effect of a failing economy in a failing marriage and parenting with fame and perfection in the backdrop. However, the central theme of the novel is the psychology of a long term relationship and the deceptions involved therein.

A good read: 3.75 out of 5

Monday, August 17, 2015

Show Business by Shashi Tharoor

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I was very impressed by "The Great Indian Novel" by Shashi Tharoor that I couldn't resist another fiction from him.

The story,  set in the backdrop of Bollywood, is the story of Ashok Banjara, a Star, yes, with a capital S. The story unfolds in a series of flashbacks, with narratives by Ashok Banjara and people close to him. The story of Banjara is heavily influenced by the life of Amitabh Bachchan. From the initials to the near fatal accident in the film set,  the extra-marital affair with the co-star to entry in politics, everything in Banjara's story is inspired by Bachchan's life.

The novel stands out by its narrative structure and the clever satire used by Mr. Tharoor. This postmodern work without doubt establishes the craft the author possesses. I don't know about the politician, but Shashi Tharoor, the writer, is one of my favourites.

I recommend this. 4 out of 5.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Narmadipudava by Sara Thomas

image courtesy : dcbooks
This is the first time I am reading Sara Thomas.

Narmadipudava is the story of Kanakam, a Tamil Brahmin widow. Widowed at a very young age, Kanakam was living only for her niece, Kanchana. When her niece also leaves her, Kanakam is looking back at her life.

Narmadipudava looks at the life of Tamil Brahmin community, especially the women in an "Agraharam". Women lived a subservient life tied to traditions and things are worse when you are a widow. Widows lived a colorless life away from all the pleasures of  the world. 

It is interesting to see how the shackles of the  tradition loses its grip, over the three generations seen in the novel. Kanakam's aunt, a widow, lived most of her life tied to tradition whereas Kanakam becomes ready to go out, study in college and also go for work, so that her family can survive. But she is still in some way tied to the community, Her niece, on the other hand, is brave enough to break all the shackles and go away to live her own life. In that way, Narmadipudava is a mirror to the evolution of free women, told in the backdrop of an agraharam.

3.5 out of 5.