Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pahmuk's "My Name is Red" - An Unforgettable Read!

My Name is Red
This is the edition I read and I rather like the cover art.
Every once in a while one comes across a story that is so enchanting, so unique in many ways, that it leaves a lasting impression. 

Excerpt: Chapter 1 I Am a Corpse

The characters will remain imprinted in one's consciousness as archetypes of Love and Betrayal, Jealousy and more. Human foibles are adorably portrayed. Thus, while it's a rather crafted piece, this book has all the ordinary virtues which draw us to reading: memorable characters and events.

Ostensibly a tale about miniaturists, Pahmuk's My Name is Red will open to you a world where not only the history and geography and more of the art is described but where the style also conspires to create the right ambience.

This is a book which gives voice to almost all things in Nature: a dog, a tree and even the Devil himself!

But, above all, a most tender love story! 

A book which smiles - there is a rich vein of humour, that sweet mother of compassion!

My Name Is Red is a book you simply must read. A worthwhile book, one which will enrich your world for you and weave for your pains a richness of your inner world.

A book you must absolutely buy! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Revenge by Yōko Ogawa - Dainty Morsels Of The Macabre

What a contrast this book presents with the gentle The Housekeeper and the Professor! “Eleven Dark Tales” threatens the blurb. And yet the same nature of light dapples both works.

This small collection is a selection of stories each of which has a touch of the dark. Each story is somehow related to the others. Mainly via a character or characters in any one story who is or were protagonist in some other story in the set...

I can’t really tell you if there is a rigid linear progression but the stories seem to stand on their own as well.

From a heart that is outside a body and for which a bag has to be made, to the death of a tiger in a secret garden. From a torture museum to a body in an abandoned fridge. Stories that, by all accounts, must leave you in a dark place.

Yet the stories do nothing of the sort. At least not for me. They exhilarated and intrigued and were each exquisite morsels like a dark chocolate, each square of which bespeaks a different flavour while the whole breathes a peculiar delight, melting softly in the consciousness.

I’m afraid I have read little of Murakami and so I shall leave you to figure out for yourself if Ogawa is influenced by him or if, as is more likely, her writing lies more in a general framework of Japanese contemporary literature.

“You certainly get that feeling of being haunted by Murakami when you begin reading the "Eleven Dark Tales," as she calls them, in this story cycle by Yoko Ogawa.”

The above review will also lead you to an excerpt.   

Peek inside and buy your copy

Friday, September 30, 2016

Plodding Through "Many Roads through Paradise: An Anthology of Sri Lankan Literature"

I picked it up with high hopes but couldn't find the time to do it justice. It's a blend of prose and poetry and a bit bulky to boot. A must have for anyone who wants to somehow glimpse writings from all over the world.

As a tourist destination, Sri Lanka attracts many and this would be wonderful for anyone who is planning a visit.

I've evolved a way to keep track of what I'm reading and that's to take pictures of significant pages or passages. I can see how valuable a Kindle would be to a person like me! Yes, I'd love to have one on my Birthday!

To return to the anthology, the first two stories are actually excerpts from longer works and don't really breathe well on their own. There was a naughty one somewhere in the middle that was slightly entertaining. Towards the end, some stories deal with the civil war but failed to grip. As I said above, I have failed to do this book justice and would hope to sit with it at leisure. 

There's a nice section about the authors which makes it a valuable resource.

Lakdasa Wikkramasinha is a poet. So is  Vinothini. And there's Vilvaratnam...

Patrick Fernando is also a poet! And Vijita...

As for Ashok Ferry, I've read something of his but can't recall the name of the book...

Buddhadasa Galappatty, also a poet and Vimala Ganeshananthan has to her credit The Yaal Playersmemories of Old Jaffna.

V.V. "Sugi" Ganeshananthan reads from her book:

Women, especially those from India, Sri Lanka, etc. seem fixated on marriage themes...Is she similar to Chitra Divakaruni? 

Yasmine Gooneratne's books appear interesting - I'd love to read one soon.

I repeat: this book would have been so much more enchanting if read on a Kindle as the physical book is unwieldy in size and, to an extent, in content.

As you can see, that's a whole lot of authors! So, all in all, it's an ambitious work and, just perhaps, it hasn't quite come together for me.

I still think I'd love to come across this book in an airport library (do they have those?) or in a hotel - hotels simply must have a bookshelf at least if not a library. Westin, Bali, had one.

Sri Lanka is a country whose stories would be most valuable when narrated by native voices, turbulent, sensuous, austere, verdant, violent, island voices, a Buddhist country, war, strife, love, tea, tsunami, hills, rivers, fragrances, aromas, families, lives, loves... I've sold myself on this book and may even re-review it here