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Book review

The Ocean At The End of the Lane is An Intriguing, if Unsubstantial, Magic Realist Fable

The Ocean At The End of the Lane (2013) is the first I’ve read of Neil Gaiman. I begin with my usual caveat: this is a speculative novel, and I seldom like books in this genre. I’ve begun trying it regularly, and I liked this book better than some others I’ve tried recently. Still, if […]

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Book review

The Hottest Day of the Year: In A Place Out of Time, Women Oppress Each Other, Repress Themselves, And Finally Break Free

Brinda Charry’s The Hottest Day of the Year (2001) opens with the narrator, 11-year-old Nithya, finding Sudha hanging by the neck from the ceiling. Hottest Day then rewinds a few months to tell the story from the beginning. The book unfolds over six months of 1986 in Thiruninravur, near Chennai. Nithya is from Bangalore; her […]

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Book review Environment

Richard Powers’s The Overstory Is an Unflinching Examination of Nine Humans’ Fight for Forests

The Overstory (2018) won the 2019 Pulitzer for fiction, and for good reason. This is the most ambitious novel I’ve ever read, possibly also the best-written. Almost every sentence is perfect: such that the very occasional slightly-imperfect sentence stands out. The prose is both sparely poetic, and dense with distilled meaning – inviting slow savouring, […]

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Book review

Three Book Reviews

Parables for the Theatre: Two Plays by Brecht In college I’d heard of Brecht’s penchant for theatre that broke the fourth wall; a decade later, this two-play volume I read this month was the first Brecht I read. My experience reading drama is limited. I’ve read the classical Athenians, and some Plautus; Shakespeare, and a […]

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Book review

Shakespeare’s Sonnets: the TL;DR version. Love, art, and mortality.

Always wanted to read Shakespeare’s Sonnets, but never had the time? Fear not. I impersonate Shakespeare to tell you the story of sonnets’ love triangle. The Poet, the Fair Youth, and the Dark Lady. I bolster my summary with ample quotations, and attempts at humour. The Sonnets explore every facet of desire: yearning, sexual desire, jealousy (of rival lovers and of rival poets), love-madness and insomnia, tranquil admiration, breakup and reconciliation.

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Artists & Scientists Book review

Guest Post: Book Review: Milan Kundera’s *The Joke*

Today, guest blogger Gunah Saketh Parimi reviews Milan Kundera’s The Joke. Gunah reviews books at Instagram, which is how we met.

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Book review

The Sellout (2015) is Incisive and Relentless, But Falls Short of Greatness

The first third of The Sellout’s 288 pages is hilarious. After that, Beatty recycles himself… I would’ve enjoyed getting to know Foy Cheshire, the leader of the faux-intellectuals and the book’s chief antagonist. As it is, Foy remains a theatre-mask… The Sellout is excellent, but not great. Mesmerised by its brilliantly coloured flat characters, it the novel misses opportunities to humanise its characters.

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Book review Politics

Newspeak And Nationalism: Are We Living In 1984’s Dystopia?

1984 predicts the charismatic authoritarians, bigoted nationalists, and media-suppressing demagogues who lead the world today.

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Book review

Analog/Virtual And Other Simulations of Your Future

Analog/Virtual would have been a better book had it kept its sights strained on the human, with a focus narrower and deeper. As it stands, it is a passable book with some interesting concepts, glimmers of insight, and competent storytelling.

Categories
Book review Politics

A Passage to India Argues Powerfully Against Orientalism and Imperialism

In this book review published at Qrius, I revisit E. M. Forster’s best-known novel. A Passage to India demolishes the racism that sustains imperialism; the novel exemplifies the power of literature to catalyse social progress