Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Reviews

Really wanted to write something concrete but am too busy these days doing nothing! However, really liked these two Book Reviews I did for the magazine I work for and they had to be here....

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna

This eagerly anticipated debut brings with it a whiff of fresh writing and an elegiac descriptive prowess which catches your eye right from the first page. In the news for the record advance paid, Sarita Mandanna justifies every penny paid because of her lucid style and a plot which gets its fundamentals right. Set in British ruled 1878 Coorg and traversing till Indian Independence the story is told through the fiery Devi, the love of her life- Tiger killer Machu and her ardent admirer Devanna. Warm, ferocious and unabashed, the crux of the book is her love for Machu and the blows which are dealt adroitly by fate. The remarkable style of narration, the lilting description of Coorg and the overwhelming intensity of passion Devi feels, first for a man and then for Nara Malai or Tiger Hills, the Coffee Plantation to which she transfers her love, fervor and intensity are documented with a verbosity that is frighteningly real and touchingly tender.

While the pace does slacken in the last part especially while dealing with the second generation, the powerful characters and vivid imagery come to the rescue. Set against the back drop of two World Wars, it is an engrossing tale of lost love and misjudged affections. Some parts of the book which detail the hurt accumulated by the lead characters or those which say that grudges are simply a waste of time bring to forte the judicious flair for writing the author has and make us eager to sample her next work.

The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi

Right from the intriguing name to the intricately carved ending, there is something about this book which makes it endearing. At one level it a love story, at another it’s a genuflection of a “hybrid” family trying hard for that elusive quality- a happy ending and as you begin to unravel the plot you realize that it’s a story about love, the difference being sublimely and so delicately interwoven that you wonder that a distinction so small can create a story so warm! Babo, a member of a strictly vegetarian Jain family spreads his wings and finds himself in London where he meets Sian, Welsh (Not English!), beautiful and besotted by the aspect of finding true love settles down in rusty old Madras with daughters Bean and Mayuri proving that theirs is a union which will last come what may. While it starts off on a low note, you are completely absorbed by the brilliant characterization, heartfelt compassion and gritty humor be it the wry snow haired Ba with her warm heart and penchant to smell people who are hundreds of kilometers away or Ignatius, the courageous hermaphrodite who weaves magic with fingers, every incident and every character brings an innate subtlety which is a delight to read. Original, bold, uplifting and clever it is an accomplished debut, something even adept hands at writing would be proud to produce.

I really do hope someone reads the reviews and picks up the books!


Rats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rats said...

Hmmmmm makes me wanna read the books. I have been musing though, do you realise that lately every Indian author has something to write about confused sexuality of one ore more of the characters?

me said...

I need a dictionary now. Stat!