Sunday, 22 November 2020
today, the sight
of my realities
are sure to show
Midsummer whispers leer
at my teary disgrace
Truth may peer
from my masked face
Pain may linger
in galaxy within my eyes
Wait, let me foster
my usual disguise
Paint me tomorrow
I need a night
to let myself go
Saturday, 21 November 2020
This is my second read of Nesbo and I enjoyed it a lot more than 'Blood On Snow'
Nesbo weaves a charming tale, similar to the last one - a story about witty killer with a heart of gold - but this one is more gripping, adventurous and enjoyable than the last one.
The best thing about Nesbo's characterisation is the way the protagonist 'talks' to the readers and pulls them right into the heart of the story.
Ulf aka Jon Hansen draws us in with his witty rendition of the tale. His fortitude during crisis is admirable. His soft-heartedness warring with the need to survive makes for a gripping read.
Lea, his love interest showcases the ruination of strict religious and societal norms reaping havoc in her life.
Knut, Lea's son, is an absolute delight. He displays how the crucial relationship between a father or father-figure and a son should be.
Mattis offers the elements of suspense and surprise towards the climax.
The ironic humourous first person rendition makes for a gripping read.
The contract killer, caught in circumstances, with a marked disability to do his job makes for a compelling story.
The Norwegian countryside, especially the descriptions of the wilderness around the hunting cabin offers beautific imagery for the setting of the suspense.
The tenets of religion juxtaposed with fast paced movement of the tale offer a thrilling adventure. The parts about the indigenous Sami populace offer revealing insights about their religion and culture.
The conclusion is satisfying, with the loose ends tied up neatly towards the climax.
I rate the book a 4.8 out of 5. Extra points are for beautiful imagery and compelling plot.
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The book was used in court as evidence against Wilde, leading to his conviction - hard labour in jail, for two years - that ultimately leading to his degenerative demise. To think that Wilde was jailed for a 'crime' such as homosexuality only a hundred years ago is an irony in itself. And perhaps that is enough reason for readers of today to want to discover what lies within it's pages to deemit capable of such damage during the Victorian era.
Dorian Gray, the aristocrat, could as well be the heroine of the book. The way Wilde describes his 'beauty' is natural and convincing. One doesn't feel any discrepancy in the vocabulary typically used to describe women being applied for the male character. His mental degeneration is a study in the psychological workings of a mind that accustoms itself to criminal cruelty.
Lord Henry Wotton, the nobleman, is the more crucial character who changes the Crux of the story. His influence on Dorian is convincing enough for even readers to be pulled into the void of societal, social and behavioral realities. However, Lord Henry is also offers the lesson to be gleaned, if one may, that excessive hedonism leaves no room for morality.
Basil Hallward, the artist, is supposedly an embodiment of Wilde himself, by the author's own admission. He brings out the innocence of the good-at-heart, the innate god-fearing virtue and morality, that suffers for it's very existence.
Sibyl Vane, the talented actress who suffers a tragic end, showcases the stupidity of blind love.
The story is unconventional, especially during the time it was published in.
The attraction that a hapless painter Basil feels for his muse Gray leaves us feeling sorry for his predicament. His ruthless end leaves us with no sympathy for the protagonist.
The most striking aspect of the story is the supernatural element of art juxtaposed with reality. The surrealism in Dorian Gray's discovery of a secret - his portrait mirrors a reflection of his soul - adds a thrilling sense of foreboding for the inevitable.
It is interesting to note the gradual fall from grace is voiced by the other characters, sometimes minor ones. More interesting is the way Gray justifies his actions to subdue his voice of reason and conscience.
The end is a fitting one, a perfect embodiment of the real merging with the surreal.
I rate the book 4.3 out of 5. Plus points are for sheer innovative plot and mind-blowing insights in the dialogues, that are food for endless mulling discussion. Minus points are for the long-drawn descriptions that run to pages, marring the pace of the story.
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Saturday, 14 November 2020
There are only a few novels of late, that have strong didactic messages ingrained in them. This is one of them, albeit a very different one. There are no forced or preachy dialogues that are bound to make the reading like a moral story. Rather, the story is smooth, convincing and enjoyable for the most part.
Hari, as the protagonist is an engaging story teller throughout the first half of the novel. He is conspicuous by his absence in the second half. His excessive innocence and ignorance of human ruthlessness, which proves detrimental in the end, comes across palpably in the story.
Surya is by far the most important character. He is sweet and charming, lovable and endearing. The author achieves what he sets out to say to the world, with the brilliant personification.
Hari's parents offer the element of familial love in the story. Their early demise is heart-rending.
The other characters add some meaning in the story but do not remain in the memory of the readers for too long.
The narration is easy-going. This is a book that can be enjoyed both by adults as well as children. The meta-fictional elements offer a good layering to include flashbacks and back stories, giving the book an element of Sthalapuranas of the ancient south Indian story-telling traditions.
The vocabulary is top-notch. This is the first Kindle book I've read till now that is edited to perfection, with no spelling or grammatical errors that I could fathom, that one inevitably notices in most online works.
It is commendable that the innate surrealism in the story has been portrayed in a manner that is convincing and acceptable. There is some need for readers to willingly suspend their disbelief, especially in the latter part of the story. Nevertheless, most parts of the story has a smooth blend of modern science with ancient wisdom.
The language of 'Vukrit' which enables the communication between humans and trees is an interesting crux in the story.
Although some portions of the repeated journeys to and fro from the forest are repetition, they build up the sense of foreboding for the reader.
The second half of the novel is mostly the myriad levels of discussions between the environmental experts. It showcases the one attribute of humans: to discuss and discuss some more.
The crucial environmental message of reducing deforestation before it is too late, comes across strongly throughout the story.
I rate the book a 4.3 out of 5. A well-written book with a powerful essence.
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Friday, 13 November 2020
This is my first book of Nesbo. I've been eager to read his work since many years, ever since a Norwegian friend of mine had insisted that I would love the work of her countryman. I regret that I took this long to make that happen.
Typical of a fast-paced thriller, Nesbo hooks the reader from the word go. After all, what could be more compelling for thriller-lovers, than knowing that we are privy to the mind of a contract killer?
The most delightful parts are the ones where the well-read protagonist constantly offers various brilliant tidbits of information that enhance our understanding of the suspenseful story.
Olav is a killer with a difference. He has a heart, that's more sensitive than most normal people. The paradox of his ruthlessness towards his victims is a strong contrast to his generosity towards their loved ones affected by his crime. And it is this quality that brings about his doom.
The most endearing quality of the protagonist is his story-telling ability. Again, the paradox is strong because the dyslexic reader has a far higher IQ than most well-read people. And the stories he makes up in his head are charming in their originality. It is amusing to see him twirk even the tale of Les Miserables to suit his own psyche. It is this quality that offers a poignant twist in the climax.
Corina, the intended victim who charms her way into his heart, is predictable to the last page. Maria Olsen is an interesting, crucial addition in the storyline. Daniel Hoffman as Olav's boss and the 'Fisherman' offer the twists and challenge in the story. The other characters are forgettable.
All is well with Olav's life until he is hired to kill his own boss's wife. The story is rather predictable, down to the last details of who betrays who. However, the action sequences are different. The setting of the shoot-out scenes at night, during a church funeral, gives it a movie-like ambiance.
Olav's troubled relationship with his parents, especially with his mother is heartrending. The parental angle offers insights into the complicated nature of man-woman relationships.
The plot moves at a fairly good pace and reaches the inevitable climax with a predictable end. The killer with a heart of gold is not a new theme, but the treatment at Nesbo's skillful hands allows readers to revel in the unique experience.
I rate it 4.7 out of 5. It is a must-read for Nesbo fans and thriller lovers alike.
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Monday, 9 November 2020
This is easily one of the scariest books I've read this year. No, it isn't a horror genre, but much worse - Dystopian fiction. It reinforces the notion that human beings can be worse than any other living or imagined monsters in the universe.
A warning to Governments and people alike, this political saga takes the manipulation of the human psyche to a different level, not just through the storytelling and characterisation, but also in reaching out into the recesses of the readers' minds. The dangers of a totalitarian society could not have been portrayed any better than this novel.
Winston Smith's journey of helpless fear that gives way to progressive degradation tears into the senses. One is as much disturbed by the waste of his intellectual capacity as his final submission.
Julia's optimism contrasts with Winston's doomed pessimistic overtures and highlights the futility of both their temperaments under the applying circumstances of their society.
Big Brother - the omniscient entity colours all the pages with a dreadful symbolic presence.
O'Brian offers the crucial twists in the storyline, as does Mr.Charrington, who evolves into more importance as the story proceeds.
The first word that describes the feel of what the plot's all about: creepy. Being watched 24/7 by totalitarian eyes is impossible to fathom for civilians who take democracy for granted.
The idea of a punishable 'Thoughtcrime', where the slightest expression in the eyes or face can give oneself away to sure death, is horror of a different kind.
The violence of torture methodologies and the final horror of room 101 brings the innate darkness of inhumane deprivation of humankind.
The extreme manipulation of the human psyche to wipe out and replace basic intelligence with robotic subservience entails a stronger texture of incredulous acceptance of the truth in it's possibility.
An eye-opener must-read for those who cluelessly support dominant communism and also for those who tend to take the blessings of democracy for granted. What makes it more petrifying is that Orwell is supposed to have written it from his own true experiences of living in a communist society.
Rating the book 4.6 for sheer, compelling, gargantuan profundity. Plus and minus points are paradoxically for the bitter portrayal of the truth.
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It had been a long time since I'd read a thriller and 'Nobody's Child' was the perfect change from the norm for me this year. A perfectly fast-paced page-turner, the book begins on a tone of tenterhooks and keeps us hanging there till the end.
The characters are well etched-out, with multiple shades waiting to be discovered in their persona, with each turn of the page. Be it the protagonist Asavri, the press reporter Avniel or the cunning Kamini, each character grows with regular alacrity in tune with the twists in the storyline. Asavri is a powerful presence that hangs over the whole story, despite her relative absence or silence. Avniel disappoints with a bare redemption in his wolfy cunning till the end, while Kamini's meteorical rise showcases the invariable flexibility of morals one requires to event such an advancement.
The characters are unmistakably dark. The author has explored the dark side of human nature that exists just below the surface of many a polished exterior, and vice-versa. Monty, the ruffian, complete with even a scar on his face, turns out to offer the element of irony in the story. Even Asavri, the protagonist has undiscovered shades that are revealed towards the end.
The breakneck speed of the story makes for a delicious thriller. The layers of the mystery are steeped in details that are revealed with neat clarity at regularly paced intervals. The elements of surprise continue till the very last page.
The dark underbelly of a life of fame, with all it's double-faced entities is explored in detail. The only grouse that I had was that some scenes maybe deemed too gory for sensitive readers. The violence seems excessive and unnecessary, like the very nature of violence invariably is. Perhaps the exploration of calmitous after-effects of human darkness entails such a depiction.
The first person narratives explore the different perpectives of the characters. It is refreshing to read the thoughts of Asavri in the second half, after her long, unsettling silence in the novel. It would have been even better to read more of Asavri's inner feelings after her terrible trauma. However, I missed the concluding perspectives of characters like Avniel and especially Kamini, in the end.
Overall, an enjoyable read for thriller lovers who like little breathing time between the pages.
I rate the book 4.3 out of 5. Extra points are for brilliant plot construction.
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