Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review : Family Matters

Image source : Amazon
Author : Rohinton Mistry

A story about a Parsi family living in Bombay. As the author puts it, the most accepting and giving city of the world as it keeps welcoming people and embrace them in its arms. In return, the city endures for the ones coming into its folds everyday. There is a brief mention of the Shiv Sena people who are trying to control the natural flow of the city by putting their claims on its fabric whether it is in the form of changing the name to Mumbai or not allowing people to celebrate festivals that do not go well with them. The nostaliga that Mr. Kapur feels for his initial period in the city tells us how the author loved the older version of Mumbai.

The story revolves around the head of the family - Nariman Vakeel, family of his married daughter Roxanne and Nariman's two step-children - Coomy and Jal. When the story begins Nariman is living with Coomy and Jal in a 7-rooms flat but Coomy has not fogiven him and she has her heart full of anger for her step-father. Nariman is struggling with Parkinsons and osteoporosis. But the complicated situation arises when Nariman gets a fractured ankle and Coomy and Jal find it too hard to take care of him and dump him at their step-sister's small two-bedroom flat without prior notice. Because of this sudden happening of events Roxanne has to face some problems and unpleasantness with her husband Yezad. But she looks after her father, taking care of his personal needs also, very dearly. Yezad on his end is struggling with the fact that he is not able to provide enough for his family and there is always the financial crunch even more now when there is an addition to the family.

In an attempt to keep her step-father out of that house forever Coomy thinks of an evil plan and gets trapped in it herself.

As far as the writing style of the author is concerned, I think he seriously should edit the story to remove the unimportant parts from the narration. Totally unnecessary details make it a little too long and a drag somtimes. He is successful in making readers see the perils of old age and how with this phase of life comes the feeling of being unwanted for even the dear ones. An average story but should have been a little more crisp.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Review : 2 States - The Story of my Marriage

Author : Chetan Bhagat
Image source : Amazon

Another book by Chetan Bhagat. Having read his earlier three books (Five point someone, One night @ call center, 3 mistakes) already, I am not a great fan of his writing but still I picked this book up as I was looking for a light reading after having read some serious books for past few months. Surprisingly, I found this one much more interesting than his earlier books in the sense that it is funny at many places and narration is engaging. This is an autobiographical take on intercommunity marriages.

It starts with a typical scene at IIMA and Krish, a Punjabi boy falling for Ananya, a "Madrasi" Iyer girl. The things were under their control till the time they were in college. But when they decide to take the next step of getting married, the insurmountable task starts. The hard part was not the decision to get married but how to convince both the families to like their future son-in-law and future daughter-in-law, who do not belong to the same culture and how to make their families like each other. The book highlights the point that marriages in India are not just restricted to a boy and a girl, it involves the extended families of the boy and girl too. The parts where the cultural differences and dissimilarities are pointed out are really funny and if you are from one of these two states or have some idea about the same, you can easily relate to the things and can nod your head along. Some comparisons were really witty and neatly put.

His earlier books have already become the inspiration for Hindi movies and this story has all the ingredients to be one too. I think Chetan Bhagat wants his books to be typical masala movies only, no substance that can satisfy the literary interests. Overall a time pass book, a typical "one day book". Read it, enjoy it and toss it away. Definitely not a keepsake.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book Review : Have A Little Faith

Image source : Amazon
Author : Mitch Albom
Just happened to see a new book by Mitch Albom in the bookstore last week, which had arrived a day before my visit to that store. I got tempted to purchase it, and purchase I did. How could I leave a Mitch Albom book when I have liked his three earlier ones so much.

This book starts with a query which the author's rabbi - Albert Lewis, puts him - Would Mitch do the rabbi's eulogy when he dies. Rabbi is 82 years old at that time. Mitch was a little unsure why he was being chosen, he wants to know the Rabbi better in order to write on him later. Initially Mitch expected it to be a two-or a three-weeks project but it went on for eight years. This exercises made him come closer to the faith which he had lost long time back and had not made any attempt to revive it. It would have continued like this, had it not been for this request of Rabbi. Almost at the same time, he gets involved with another man of God - Henry Covington, following a different religion, who, in spite of having a dark past himself was trying his best to bring people to the world of faith. Mitch realizes later that he is on a journey of learning some life lessons himself, believing that there is peace in keeping faith in some bigger, higher power than us. The author gets to talk to both of these men of God about different challenges and hard times that humans go through and how the faith is tested in such times. Eventually he concludes that faith is the one thing that can bridge the gap between people.

A well written book. I enjoyed reading it but still it could not replace my personal favourite among Mitch Albom's books - For one more day.
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