Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Fly With Me : A Poem

Come fly with me
don't fear my expertise!

I conquer strawberry skies
in floating ecstacy
with accomplished eyes
of roseate fantasy

Towards new dawns free
glory roads I sieze
Nobody owns me
I do what I please

Join me in glee
put me at ease
Come soar with me
into celestial peace

***

Image: pinterest

Book Review of 'The Secret of the Haunted Mirror' by M.V.Carey.


One of my last reads of 2020 is this fabulous novel by M.V.Carey featuring The Three Investigators. I enjoyed reading this novel as much as all the other in the series. Although they are considered to be kiddie books, I have always maintained that the series is as good for adults as any other. 

The story is full of adventure, danger and suspense, not to mention a scary but brilliant 'ghost' in an ancient mirror, some political tension in a faraway country and of course, some history. 

Jupiter surpasses himself in his investigation, especially in the scene where he uncovers a hidden passage in the library and the 'ghost'. Pete keeps up his athletic proficiency, while Bob is not left behind with the crucial research which provides crucial answers to some questions. The scenes where they use a bakery truck and the driver Henry's assistance to outwit the kidnappers and rescue Jeff, is great fun to read. 

Rating it 4.7 out of 5. Is my review useful? Do follow my blog for more.

May the coming year bless you all with more books to devour. Happy New Year and Happy reading, readers!

***


Book Review of 'The Station Master' by Indranil Mukherjee


Introduction

This book is one of the most enjoyable and enlightening among my reads of 2020. I am looking forward to reading the second book by this author namely, Off The Pages as well.

It is the first time that I was able to read about the actual working of the Indian Railways and the multitude of people who work behind the scenes to ensure its smooth functioning. And I must admit that I learnt about the myriad roles and challenges of a Station Master, solely through this book.

Storylines

This compelling collection of short stories is unique in the sense of the common thread that runs through it - the motif of the railways and the station master. 

However, each story is completely independent and different from the last one. The first one, 'The Foundling', is the most endearing, while the 'Accident' and 'Kanausi' are disturbing reads. 'Murda Jaga' while presented in a humorous vein, evokes anger at the missing guard, a slave to alcohol. It highlights the brazen nonchalance of some of the personnel which affects the time, schedules and commitments of passengers. The loopholes inherent in the system, that need ironing out, are articulated with precision. 

Another key factor that induces pride and regret alike is the true portrayal of Indianism - not just in speech patterns, but also the behavioural traits of workers and passengers alike. 

The best parts are the unpredictable incidents depicted in the predictable world of the station master. 

Characterisation

The most interesting aspect of the characterisation is the realism in it. We know from the preface that Manab Banerjee is a real person, Manas Banerjee, and the experiences are real ones that spanned along his long career in the Indian railways.

What strikes us at once, are the achingly genuine characters, each more strangely 'familiar' than the other. All of us have hailed the odd porter or exchanged the time of the day at the corner chai shop or even a few pleasantries with the ticket inspectors during our train journeys. And yet, we may never have delved into their working lives or daily challenges. It is this aspect that is brought out with more clarity in the novel.

The characters are neither glorified nor sidelined, just presented exactly the way they are - in speech, body language and behaviour. Be it Manabji's honest angst or the lies or the drunkard's addictive traits, all of them charm us with their very predictability. 

Manab (Manas) Banerjee invokes our admiration, praise and respect with each story showcasing his competence and maturity. 

Narration

The book reminded me of 'Malgudi Days', where Narayan's magic brings the Indianness of rural India alive in the readers' eyes. 

The narrative is full of strong imagery - aural, visual and nasal - that adds charm to the tales. Some descriptions are a wee bit long in some rare parts, but may be perceived as important for readers who'd like to have the entire picture of the scene or details of the storylines.

The best facet is the slow but steady sense of foreboding that builds up in each story, because we know that something is going to go wrong, invariably so. And yet, one is unprepared for the intensity of what happens - neither the violence nor the deaths, or even the politics - that seem almost commonplace in the rural hamlets tucked away in the north-eastern states of the country. 

Language

The language is top notch and the vocabulary is a refreshing mix of English infused with some Indianism, plus the verbiage of the local railway community. It adds to the genuineness of the narrative, while retaining the standards of a well-written English novel. 

I'd have preferred the footnotes to have been done away with, in favour of a glossary for foreign readers. Alternately, they could have been in a smaller font, to reduce the space which may hinder an unrestricted reading experience. Most Indians familiar with Hindi would never need to consult the footnotes, although one must concede that it does offer the old-fashioned touch that gels with the theme of the novel.

Rating

I rate the book a 4.6 out of 5. A must-read for readers who like to savour true-to-life nuances of the common man in general, as well as memorable experiences of key railway personnel in particular.

Hope you found my review enlightening. Do follow my blog for more.

Happy reading, readers!

***



Book Review of 'Someone He Loved' by Tarang Sinha


This book was a nice, short read in between the heavy novels that I devour. The cover page was interesting and I wanted to find out more.

Tarang's narrative is simple, smooth and easy flowing. The story builds up some romance and suspense, while articulating the lure of the forbidden. I think l would have enjoyed it more, if it had been a little longer, but then, l have a preferential weakness for huge reads, so that can't be considered as a grouse. 

The story revolves around Varsha and Aman's functional marriage, that acquires lacklustre shades with the arrival of Gautam. The end is partly predictable, after the building up of the protagonist's tension and yet, it has the right amount of open-endedness in it.

Overall, a good short read. And hence, my review is a short one too. 

Do follow my blog for more such book updates.

Happy reading, readers!

***

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Velvet Storms : A Poem

Yellow sinful sparkle
coffee skin gleams
Stardust elixirs sprinkle
glowing celestial beams

Her midnight ensemble
evokes new dreams
Velvet storms assemble
in floating ecstasy streams

***


image:pinterest

Book Review of 'Mystery of the Urban Monks' by Vikram Singh


This is a different kind of book, from most stories I've read before. It is a combination of spiritually, adventure, danger and enlightenment.

The stories of Khris, Tony and Asif are different in their experiences but same in the learning  - the perils of straying too far from our roots. The story is interspersed with ample dialogues that take it forward and give it a realistic feel. The episode of the ride with the aghori baba is fun to read and Tashi's betrayal is painful. 

Some parts could have been more elaborate, like the scene of the plane hijack that changed the protagonists returning from Goa. The psychic prediction is an interesting twist. 

The story has some disturbing situations. Tony's search for Dorjee is endearing , but  his blind love for the Tibetan beauty Tashi is predictably idiotic, especially when we realize that he conveniently forgets to invite his own family, even his own father, for his fancy Tibetan wedding. It showcases the utter ungratefulness of new, foolish love. Asif's journey could have been more elaborate, especially since his initiation to the dogma by Qasi is a little too blase to be fully convincing. And I definitely wanted to learn more of how his runaway escapade with Henna ultimately ended, after what happens to them. 

It is a short, different and good read, the ending is unpredictable. I rate it 4.0 out of 5.

Did you find my review useful? Do let me know in your comments.

Happy reading, readers! 

***

Friday, 25 December 2020

Book Review of 'The Tea Service' by Debeshi Gooptu

There are only a few stories that are poignant enough to tug at both your heartstrings and tearglands, as this one does. This is a small read, albeit an impactful one.

Debeshi's writing is smooth and easy-flowing. The language is fabulous and vocabulary is delightful. The storytelling is enriched with atmosphere that is more visual with explicit imagery. 

The end is somewhat predictable, and yet highly impactful. It holds a much needed mirror to the society we have evolved into and begun to live in. 

A good, short read. Rating it 4.8 out of 5. I wish it was longer, I didn't want to stop reading. 

Was my review enlightening? Do follow my blog for more. 

May the coming year bless you all with more books to devour. Happy New Year and Happy reading, readers!

***

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Book Review of 'The Mystery of the Fiery Eye - The Three Investigators' by Alfred Hitchcock

This is yet another fabulous read of the year. Also, my other two ensuing ones authored by Alfred Hitchcock, namely the mysteries of the Silver Spider and the Talking Skull by Robert Arthur were excellent reads. The only disappointment was the Trail of Terror by M.V.Carey.

Alfred Hitchcock weaves his delightful magic again in the Fiery Eye story. The narrative grabs attention from the word go and sustains it till the last page. 

A letter with an 'August' hidden message, a set of statuette-busts of famous 'Octavian' Americans and a large ruby - the Fiery Eye - set the pace of the story. Jupiter's brilliant deductions vie with outwitting multiple groups of things to decide numerous puzzling clues and finally unearth the treasure. 

Although most answers in the puzzle are predictable, the danger, adventure, capture and escapades add on a good thrill to the storyline. As always, there is quite a bit of learning for readers. The Indian connection adds intrigue to the narrative. 

A good, light read in between hardcore thrillers. Rating it 4.8 out of 5.

Hope the review is useful. Follow my blog for more. 

Happy reading, readers! 

*** 

Book Review of 'Journey from Guwahati to Macchiwara' by Rajiv Bakshi

I bought the book after almost two years of first hearing about it from the author himself. The first thing that surprised me when I opened the package was the size - it's a small one, like a pocket book. 

I immediately sent a message to Rajiv Bakshiji, to express my shocked disappointment. 

'It's overpriced, sir.' I have always been blunt with feedback, especially to people with whom I interact directly. 'The font is so big, there are many empty pages and pictures, so little to read. 200 bucks is too much.' I continued. 

Bakshiji graciously thanked me for the initial feedback and urged me to read the book. I then got around to reading the collection of stories. 

Rajiv Bakshiji's unwavering enthusiasm in putting down his experiences is highly commendable. The read has the feel of an evening time chit-chat over coffee with a retired banker, reminiscing about his working days. 

Some of them resonate with the Indian middle class thinking and mannerisms, giving it a homely, refreshing feel. The first chapter, when he begins his career at Guwahati has beautiful tinges of nostalgia and a fresh atmosphere in it. My favourite one however, is the story when he recounts his experience of being bitten by bees. It has a trace of humourous self mockery and irony in it. The stories have characters who are real people that the author has known during the course of his life journey. 

However, most of them are like articles that one reads on the newspaper. They need to have more plot, story and conflict to be called stories. 

The biggest grouse I have is the grammar, sentence structuring, unnecessary capitalization and spelling errors in the book. A good dose of heavy editing can make the book more readable and entertaining. 

Having penned a novel myself, I completely understand the perpetual woes of editing - multiple scans of the pages looking for typos/errors and the backbreaking study of hundreds of pages - that still leave some inevitable errors in the final work. However, this book is a rather small one with a large font size. Some glaring errors could have easily been rectified.

I rate the book a 3.2 out of 5. Minus points are mainly owed to the editors of the publishing house, who could have done their job a lot better.

Did you find my review honest? Do let me know in the comments.

Keep up the reading, readers!

***

Book Review of 'The Mystery of the Silver Spider - The Three Investigators' by Alfred Hitchcock.

I count this book as one of my most enjoyable and easy reads this year. This kind of book is the perfect recipe when we read disturbing horror or psycho-thrillers and need some light reading as a breather. Also, my other two ensuing ones authored by Robert Arthur and Alfred Hitchcock respectively, namely the mysteries of the Talking Skull and the Fiery Eye were excellent reads. The only disappointment in the series I read this year was the Trail of Terror by M.V.Carey.

The best aspect of The Three Investigators books is the invariable general knowledge one always gleans from them. They are a rare series of books that blend the right mixture of adventure, suspense, danger, thrill, and history, without compromising on a good storyline. Romance lovers may be disappointed, but that's a small grouse considering the wholesome package the books offer. As for this one, Hitchcock weaves a gripping tale with all the aforementioned elements in place, and then some. 

A chance meeting with a Prince that leads the investigation to Europe, into the heart of a dangerous plot to usurp the kingdom makes for an enjoyable read. Jupiter surpasses himself with his deduction skills while Pete stays as athletic as ever. Bob shows some amazing brilliance during distress, although  he does suffer pangs of amnesia at critical times. 

The charm of history in the old world descriptions are heightened by the sonorous bell that is beautifully, albeit predictably, woven into the story. Castle wall climbing and underground sewer boating build offer good action sequences during the chases and escapades. 

A fine read for a couple of hours, during a relaxed weekend. Rating 4.7 out of 5. 

Follow my blog for more fiction reviews. 

And do read more, readers! 

***

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Book Review of 'The Thousand Faces of Night' by Githa Hariharan

I have been wanting to read this author's novel ever since I read one of her short stories, 'Gajar Halwa', a touching tale of Perumayee, a child from Salem who is sent to Delhi to slog as a maid. I finally found her book at a store and wasted no time in adding it to my shelf, last week.

Any award-winning book is different from the rest, as we all are well aware. The Thousand Faces is no exception. The language is top notch. The vocabulary is rich and poetic. The whole treatment of the book is different, especially the structure and narrative. The interspersing of mythical tales to coincide with the modern realities of women is a classic touch of history repeating itself, beyond the centuries of time.

One realises at once that the characterization is double layered. The paragraphs alternate between what is apparent on the outside and what is happening on the inside. The vivid imagery of the character's actions is juxtaposed with the deep musings, reminiscences and battles going on in the psyche of the character. It sure is an interesting area of exploration for writers.

The storyline is basic, but the layers are multiple. The narrative delves into each of the women characters and traces their lives, past and present. What stands out is the brutality of a superstitious and brutal society. 

The best part of the novel is that the sheer inner strength of the women affirms itself, despite their mute acceptance or blatant recalcitrance. Be it the fiesty Devi, the strong Sita or the survivor Mayamma, each of the women have their own presence etched out with clarity to blend into the storyline.

Readers accustomed to easy language and straightforward narratives may find it hard to adapt to this style of storytelling. The mythological stories narrated by the grandmother, with the insistent questions of the child are interesting and entertaining. Some of the answers of the grandmother are hard-hitting in their innate truth, in relation to the society women live in.

Overall, an enlightening book. I rate it a 4.1 out of 5. 

Was my review useful? Let me know in your comments.

Happy reading, readers.

***

Book Review of 'Maya's New Husband' by Neil D'Silva.

Hurting a known person is a miserable thing, 
but hurting an unknown person is dangerous. 
One does not know how they could react.
- Maya's New Husband

This is by far the scariest horror book among my reads this year. It stands true to its name. Some of the quotes have deep insights and are bang-on, like the one above.

The imagery is strong, catering to both aural, nasal as well as visual senses.The language is top-notch and the vocabulary is comfortably rich.

Cannibalism is not a new theme in horror but the treatment in this one is new, because of the key characters being part of a school. Also, Maya is a realistic woman, with normal shades, not overly good like protagonists generally tend to be. Her utter stupidity in falling for the worst possible man, stands out as a reminder that love or loneliness makes perfectly sane, educated people do stupid things, to endanger their lives. 

The parts describing the Aghori way of life are informative.

Horror lovers may enjoy the goriness in the book, but I found it too much. The rats adding on to the cannibalism, that involves cooking, steaming, seasoning and sauteing various human body parts was a little overboard for me. The vivid descriptions unwind imagery that is gory. 

The fear factor builds up constantly in the book, moving from one grisly murder to the next. The repeated motif of human remains pouring out of mutilated bodies numbs the mind to its goriness. By the end of the book, readers may get so accustomed to blood, human parts and gore that there may be no horrific feelings left, long before the end. 

I rate it 3.7 out of 5. Too grisly for my taste, pun intended. But perhaps, a horror lover's delight.

Did you find my review useful? Do follow my blog for more

Happy reading, readers!

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Book Review of 'The Mystery of The Talking Skull - The Three Investigators' by Robert Arthur.

This is my second read of the Three investigators this year, after The Trail of Terror. Unlike the last one, this one is delightful. The suspense, storyline and pace are good. Also, my other two ensuing ones authored by Alfred Hitchcock, namely the mysteries of the Silver Spider and the Fiery Eye were excellent reads.

The idea of a skull that talks is intriguing. The lacing of humour is highly entertaining, especially when the skull says "Boo" to Aunt Mathilda, when she calls it ugly. The twists in the story are good. The inclusion of magician tricks, the gypsy angles and bank roberry add elements of change in the storyline. 

An ancient trunk bought for one dollar by Jupiter in an auction, leaves the boys with publicity and adventure, complete with a grinning skull that speaks to them. What more can one ask for an interesting storyline? 

Jupiter's brilliant deduction of the secret message in a letter and the subsequent unearthing of the hidden money are fantastic. The characters are as usual etched interestingly: antagonists with some grey shades, but not evil ones - a somewhat realistic portrayal. 

A good read, rating it 4.2 out of 5. 

Enjoyed my review? Follow my blog for more. 

Happy reading, readers.

Book Review of 'The Mystery of The Trail of Terror - The Three Investigators' by M.V.Carey


It's been a while since I picked up a book of 'The Three Investigators'. I find them immensely enjoyable, with just the right amount of suspense, storyline and knowledge that makes for a breezy read. My subsequent read 'The Mystery of The Talking Skull' was infinitely better than this one. Also, my other two ensuing ones authored by Alfred Hitchcock, namely the mysteries of the Silver Spider and the Fiery Eye were excellent reads.

This book however was rather a let down. The plot line is thin for the expertise displayed by the trip in the previous books. Also, it flows like a travelogue, with the tourists travelling  and sightseeing across the length of America. The mystery is not deep enough, nor is the action.

I loved the characterisation of Pete's grandfather immensely, though. The excentricity of the jolly old man wins our hearts at once. Jupiter's brain takes too much time to figure out what is obvious to readers at once. Pete  had far lesser athletic prowess to display than in his previous adventures, even with the scene of the bike escapade. Bob too seems wasted, with his records playing very little role in the progress of the story.

Overall, it's readable once, if you have nothing else to read. Rating: 3.2 out of 5. 

Did you find review useful? Do hole my blog for more.

Happy reading, readers. 

***

Monday, 21 December 2020

Book Review of 'A Stranger is Watching' by Mary Higgins Clark


This is by far the best thriller I've read this year. Clark weaves her magic as always, and how! Psychological thrillers cannot come better than this, and if they do, they'd still compete for breathless attention with Clark's expertise. 

I have just finished reading the book and I have only just resumed breathing. The break-neck speed of the climax kept me gasping till the last word. Clark's trademark suspense keeps us biting our nails from the first page to the very end..

Characters

Steve Peterson, the single parent, grappling with his wife's murder, while being racked by guilt is a compelling protagonist. Neil, the scarred child tugs at the heartstrings, with his helpless private agony. Sharon Martin is the journalist attempting to tackle her professional chaos with a host of her personal love-life woes. 

The other minor characters are etched with enough detailing, to fit neatly into the storyline, rendering their importance invaluable at crucial junctures of unveiling the suspense.

Storyline

There is a sense of deja vu, as is the case with any of Clark's books, because most of her stories run along similar lines : A brilliant psychotic murderer chasing and killing women. One knows what to expect. And yet, the tension of suspense built up with each turn of the page, and leaves readers with the same thrill as her previous reads.

Multiple themes are woven into the story: Love, Fear, Psychosis, Loss, Parenthood, Suspense, and of course, murder, vie with each other to claim attention. However, the dominant theme is the debate on capital punishment.

A severely deranged killer on the loose, a wrong convict about to be executed and a train station under a bomb seige pitted against the desperate, ultimate race against time - these are the elements that form the crux of the story. The novel keeps readers at the edge of their reading seats. 

The parallel structuring of the storyline allows the suspense to build and subside like waves in a turgid sea. The climax and the end are reminiscent of many of the thriller movies we have watched on the screen. 

Conclusion

Overall, this is a must-read for thriller lovers: A clean 4.9 out of 5 rating for this one. That single point less is perhaps because I could not breathe from the intensity of the suspense, at some points. 

Jokes apart, I'm mighty glad I picked this one up. It made my reading journey feel complete, this year. 

Is my review useful? Do let me know in the comments. And stay safe, while you keep finding new literature to devour.

Happy reading, readers!

***

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Book Review of 'Diamonds are Forever' by Ian Fleming

I didn't know what to expect from my first Bond book that I finally read this week. It has been a whole year since I bought it and I've been saving it for a long time. 

While I wasn't disappointed with the action and risky manoeuvres executed by Bond, there were many places where a reader would want to substitute the book for the crisp movement of the story in the movie. Some of the scenes, especially the horse racing bits, delve too deep into the inside aspects of the business. The casino parts are enlightening, though.

The alluring double-O 7 agent, with the license to kill is as charming as he is, in the movies. As is the norm, there are many insights that can be gleaned from the book. Bond seems more human in the novel. It is somewhat heartening to read about his feelings, fears, and even the guilt playing on his mind. The movie versions showcase James Bond as a more heartless womanizer and a carelessly slick, perfectly calm agent. Being privy to his thoughts, as he moves from one level of danger to another is thrilling, after years of watching the poker-faced versions on screen, playing women and criminals alike, with cool competence. 

The book has  only one hot 'Bond woman'. And Bond falls in love with her, making the story a nice combo of action, thrill, adventure and romance. 

The train and ship scenes are nail-biting. However, one must admit that watching the movie is somewhat more satisfying.
Also, what I missed in the book are the fancy gadgets that Bond gets to use during the course of his work, that are especially more interesting, in the later films.

I like the way Fleming gives us an outline of the Diamond pipeline and also a glimpse of twisted psyche of the perpetrators, especially one who kills scorpions and ants, just because the 'brutes' are black in color. 

Overall, it's a nice book to enjoy on a rainy day. I rate it 4.4 out of 5. 

Hope this review was enlightening. Do follow my blog for more such reviews.

Happy reading, readers. 

***

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Prey : A Poem

Enticing eyes prey
with warm breaths
of unholy love play

Soapy streams sway
in sultry skin showers
lacquered in mist & spray

Dreams unwind & lay
amidst scents of goodbye
floating away

***

Image credits: flickr, pinterest

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Book review of 'The Hairy Ape' by Eugene O'Neill

This is my third read of the celebrated American playwright Eugene O'Neill, after The Emperor Jones and Anna Christie. It was wholly different from the other two, in terms of the setting, treatment and characterisation. 

Yank, the protagonist labourer is so raw and real, that one can imagine his physique, feel his angst and empathise with his predicaments. Mildred showcases the utter cluelessness of the highest societal class - devoid of life and capable of untold damage. 

The setting adds on to give readers the feel of the oppressive conditions for the working masses aboard a ship, while the rich enjoy luxury on the decks above them. The contrast produced by the clarity of imagery is deliberately blatant and highly effective.

The hardcore ironies that surround the painful lives of the proletarian masses is captured with unadulterated, unapologetic clarity. The striking contrast between them and the nonchalant, robotic, elite bourgeoisie is so blatant, that one is left with helpless despair and antagonism towards the heartless society. 

The ease with which working classes are deprived of not just a decent lifestyle but also their core confidence, love for life, their very identity, and finally life itself, is so heart-wrenching, that it leaves a bitter taste on the readers' psyche.

I rate the book 4.5 out of 5.

Hope to force my review useful. Follow my blog for more.

Happy reading, readers!

***


Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Book Review of 'Anna Christie' by Eugene O'Neill


This play is different from the last one that I read of O'Neill, The Emperor Jones.To begin with, it ends differently, on a happier note, and the settings are quite different too. My subsequent read, The Hairy Ape is also quite different in the setting and treatment of the characters.

The sea plays a pivotal, vital role, as a main character in Anna Christie. The characters ooze reality, and are a revelation in multiple layers, which keeps up the suspense. 

Anna is a compelling character, who wins hearts despite her foibles. Chris showcases a father's love, that borders on an obsessive protective instinct, that blinds him to obvious truths about his daughter. Mat is the typical make chaivinist who has to come to terms that the love of his life is not quite what he percieved her to be.

One feels sorry for all the three key characters, who try to deal with their own fears and insecurities, while coming to terms with their love for one another. 

The repeated dramatic irony is intense and compelling with each new scene and character entry. There is vivid imagery and deep symbolism, which keeps readers hooked till the end.

Overall, it is an endearing, enjoyable read from the progression of conflicts to their conclusion. 

I rate the play 4.5 out of 5. Extra points are for the vivid aura that is built around the ocean, allowing readers to live the sensations associated with it.

Hope this review was useful to you. Do follow my blog for more similar ones.

Happy reading, readers!

*** 



Sunday, 6 December 2020

Book Review of 'The Emperor Jones' by Eugene O'Neill

This is my first book of the famous American author and my expectations were rather high. I wasn't disappointed with the read, although I did have some misgivings in the characterisation. It is a short, but deep read with multiple themes and symbolic references. I enjoyed the plays Anna Christie and The Hairy Ape that read after this one, a lot more. 

The narrative is high on imagery. One can picturize the palace as well as the jungle, with all it's subtle nuances. The aural imagery is the most powerful element, with the beating if the drums that play a key role in the Emperor's mental degeneration.

The character of the Emperor displays the two faces that the powerful - one that effuses confidence, hiding the fear in the mind and the other that succumbs to the forces at play. The main character is however, the forest itself. It is the looming presence that shapes the progress of the story. 

The most interesting aspect of the storyline is the psychological symbolism. The drum beats, silver bullet and  the vivid hallucinations offer a good sense of heightening tension as the play progresses. The climax is riddled with a sense of drama and musical euphoria. The mystical elements blend well into the themes of guilt, betrayal, danger and fear.

The main grouse that readers will have is the  blatant racism. The racist hues are strong, both verbally as well as symbolically. O'Neill implies that 'Negroid' men cannot be expected to have positively distinct characteristics. 

I rate the play a 4.2 out of 5. Hope to find this review useful.

Happy reading, readers. 
***

Book Review of 'Lifeline' by Chetan Maheshwari

The first thing that intrigued me about the book was the blurb that mentioned corporate politics. I thought it would be good to read this genre and the book has done justice to the theme.

Teesha and Akhil's love story progresses smoothly, while intertwined with their corporate lives. Rati's challenges in raising a child as a single mom, while juggling her work schedules and an app launch, may be relatable to working moms. 

The hard toil and long working hours that go into the elusive chase for success are enumerated well. The story captures the struggles of hapless individuals caught in the web of political corporate victimization. 

The narration is simple, straight-forward and easy to read. Although the overall editing throughout the book could have been a lot more sharp, readers will be able to follow the narration and story easily.

There are strong messages and considerable learnings related to entrepreneurship, in the storyline. The challenges and multiple monetary/work considerations are enumerated well.

Hope you find my review useful. Do follow me for more.

Happy reading, readers.

***

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Book Review of 'Nothing Lasts Forever' by Vish Dhamija


This is my first read of Vish Dhamija. The title rang a bell, because of Sidney Sheldon's bestseller. The contents turned out to be as different as one would expect.

Dhamija pulls of a tale of mystery and intrigue, that however lacks the speed of narrative that readers crave in a typical thriller. 

The actual story behind in part 2 of the book. One wonders what's going on and where everything is leading, almost to the point of giving up on the book in the first half. Part 2 thereby redeems the book, in this respect. It may take some readers multiple references and turning back of pages to refer to dates, to enjoy the book more.

The characterization is puzzling. Why socialites are showcased as alcohol guzzling, chain smoking elitists all the time is beyond comprehension. The romance and dialogues between Raaj and Serena is excessive, to the point of boredom or fakeness. D'Cunha and Kabir are smart and suave charmers. Kim is a useful accessory in the plot. The rest of them are forgettable.

The descriptions of clothes are full of detail, with strong imagery, but bordering on excessive and rather unnecessary. 

The second half of the story picks up good pace and the move towards the climax makes up for the slow first part. The best parts of the book are the investigations and interactions of the policemen-turned-CBI officials D'Cunha and Kabir. 

The turns and solutions in the mystery were predictable for me, perhaps because of all the Agatha Christies I devoured during my childhood. Readers unaccustomed to mystery genres may love the way it pans out.

Overall, the book is readable, if one can gloss over the parts that do not add value to the plot, except for a little imagery and atmosphere.

I rate it 3.6 out of 5. Did you find my review useful? Do follow my blog for more.

Happy reading, readers.

***

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Paint me Tomorrow: A Poem

Paint me tomorrow...
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 the galaxy within my eyes
Wait, let me foster
my usual disguise

Paint me tomorrow,
I need this night 
of frailties
to let myself go

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Pacify : A Poem

Is there a way
to pacify this heart
that fears to heed
the midsummer 
whispers that know sin?

This torturous wait
at the mercy
of emotions
that refuse
fairy dust
promises
that quench
fantasy to 
capture eternity
in a heartbeat?

***

Deep in the Shallow: A Poem

Deep 
in the shallow
pretense,
we float in breeze
like windless sails,
mere paper-boats
in the wide wilderness
of us

Patchwork memories
spin wistful remorse
in the fabric 
Torn, mercy of emotions
fading attachments
in the dashed hopes
of us

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Saturday, 21 November 2020

Book Review of 'Midnight Sun' by Jo Nesbo


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. 

Characters

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. 

Storyline

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. 

Conclusion

I rate the book a 4.8 out of 5. Extra points are for beautiful imagery and compelling plot. 

Hope you found my review useful. Do follow my blog for more fiction reviews.

Happy reading, readers!

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