Posts Tagged ‘Fine Balance’

Remember the book I read earlier and reviewed – Sisters by Rosamund Lupton, now there is another book from the same author – Afterwards and it was an awesome read! Rosamund Lupton has a way with her narration and it is a very interesting thriller and the drama in the relationship between a daughter and her mother is beautiful. I connected a lot with the protagonist for the simple reason that we both have an elder daughter and a younger son! The mother in me appealed to the mother in the book, trying to protect her kids traveling any length, read it again, ‘any length’, both the mother Grace and the daughter Jenny who succumb to injuries due to an arson attack at the local school, have an ‘out-of-body’ experience and know the facts that they can’t tell anyone, uncover evidence that they can’t share. However strange this may sound, the book is undeniable engrossing at the least!! I think the worst thing that can happen beyond losing your life, is to linger around in the World watching your loved ones grieve over you. I do hope, I am a good enough soul to head straight to heaven or in the other extreme, head straight to hell! BTW S thinks Hell is a very bad swear word and keeps questioning why it is so…  I have earlier told her that hell was the lowest floor of Heaven, as I did not want her to think God sends people to a bad place, so I cant really tell her why it is thought as a bad word here.  I just tell her culturally there are certain sensitive words and this is one such. I remember during my first trip to the US in 2000, my Mormon colleague flinch when I used the word damn in a meeting!!

I  read ‘A Fine Balance’ by Rohinton Mistry, a Dickens style story telling and it was unputdownable, and you would feel like living in India in the 1970s and would shed a tear at every atrocity committed to your friends in the book, by the so-called authorities or high class folks. The story is a snapshot of a year of life of 4 individuals whose paths cross in an unnamed Indian city. Mistry spares no crude details when he sets about explaining the unjustness the protagonists face. It is an epic in its own way and moves the reader, however grief-striken the reader would become, there is no way he can stop reading the book, excellent narration by Mistry, a tapestry depicting the extreme emotions – happiness to misery and you would be amazed. The book is set in the Emergency period in India during Indira Gandhi’s rule and after the book, I now have officially few more reasons as to why I hate that family. My worst fear always has been to be at the receiving end of an officer who abuses his power. Though you may have grown in a country where abuse of power is nothing new and corruption exists  at all levels, as long as you only read it in books and in the news, you are oblivious to it. But this book really shook me at various levels and was ashamed at the abuse of the caste system introduced in the Aryan period. The system I still believe has its own merits and it made sense at that time, but later the system was SO abused that it is our Indian version of holocaust and even decades later, the current generation faces the after-effects.

After the heavy book, I needed a light reading and started ‘Magic hour’ by Kristin Hannah. I am really warming up to Kristin Hannah’s writing, hers are kind of chic novels but I love the way she carries the story lines and the emotions that run through the story. This book is about a wild child who comes out to the city and how a Psychiatrist Doctor works with the feral child and introduces the World to her. You can’t but fall in love with that child and appreciate how she survived the trials and the tribulations since she was abducted and left in the wilds. She is more comfortable with wolves, dogs and birds that humans. I have Kristin Hannah marked as one of my go-to authors when I need a satisfying read without too much depth…

Another interesting book that I read recently is ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbery.This philosophical fiction is full of allusions and is set around the life of a  concierge of a posh Parisian apartment, who is actually the ‘Hedgehog’ – elegant and so much level-headed in the inside but her outward appearance to the onlookers is just another boring under-class worker, just like the actual Hedgehog. A twelve year old girl who is intelligent beyond her years  is frustrated with the mundane life hates the hypocrisy of those around her and thinks taking her life is a suitable end to her meaningless life and the impossible charade of living among foolish humans and this girl Paloma strikes an unexpected friendship with the concierge Renee and uncovers Renee’s true self. The funny and touching story is narrated by these two characters Renee and Paloma and though they are generations apart and from entirely different social backgrounds, they have more in common as they interact with each other. Right when Renee is ready to come out of her shell and enjoy, meets a tragic end but she already convinces Paloma from taking her life. There is a Japanese business-man who befriends the two narrators and he brings the best out of the two characters too. Overall it was a good read, not your over-your-head philosophy. You can relate to the typical stereo-typing that exists in the society and also learn new insights from every page of the book.

After a long wait, got my hands of the Iconic Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and  I loved the book. There was just plain truths and no effort to hide the “negative” side of Jobs, and any additional effort to further idolize Jobs and I was impressed at how S Jobs went after the person who he thought was ideal for his biography, he dint want to leave that to chance either! True perfectionist he was!! Also if he had truly not read the book before it was published, my respect for him would only grow abound. How could he not have been curious to know what his friends and enemies would have to say about him and how could he be perfectly alright with anything they could have said! One thing that stood out throughout was the melancholy you cannot ignore that this great man no longer lives among us, so what if he was arrogant, I dont care, he was a TRUE visionary and he redefined creativity. Ofcourse he had the support, and the team of A-players. But he was the one who got the A-players to realize their best potential and that in itself is an achievement. I am going to get my own copy of the book and after reading this book, I ended up getting an Iphone. I have been staying away from post-paid plans and even a smart phone for so long inspite of my DH’s insistence and at last S Jobs changed my mind and I wanted a part of his creation in my possession! And during thanksgiving, I ended up even replacing our Samsung Galaxy Tab with an Ipad! 🙂

Read the autobiography of Andrew Agassi – Open, last week. I started the book with mixed feelings, my DH has very strong opinions about Agassi and they are not pretty and I have been quite influenced by them as well. So wasn’t sure if I would like to read his book, but my dearest friend suggested that I read it and I couldn’t say No! But I was glad I picked it up, though I haven’t changed 360 degree in my opinion about him, but I am starting to give some benefit of doubt to him.  I cant believe he actually thought he can lead a private life and have no one interpreting his actions, once you become a public figure, there will always be someone second guessing you all the time.. So it is a little difficult to digest when he totally blames the press for defining him and later calling his ‘supposedly’ formation of his personality as ‘transformation’.  But I have to be frank, this book while I was reading it made me think about it all the time and thought S should read it when she is older, not to know about Agassi but to read a personal voyage of a kid from Vegas to nowhere to the Altar and can be an inspiring book for the teenagers!

Of course as always, there are few more books I would like to discuss but they have to wait for a later date. 🙂

Read Full Post »