Tuesday, May 26, 2009

'The White Tiger'- Aravind Adiga

Rating: 9/10

I've been waiting to read this book for about 5 months. Not at all kidding. Every time I went to the library, the book would have been already taken. This happened week after week and my Mum told me she'd buy the book for me if I wanted it that badly. But I still insisted on waiting.

Ironically enough, after India's general elections, when I'm actually feeling hopefully and optimistic about how the country will progress from here, I end up with this book. The librarian had called my phone and told me he had the book waiting for me. I got it and woah, does it send optimism and hope for a Gilchristesque six!

My first feeling after I finished the book was one of confusion. Reading through Adiga's Booker winning novel is a journey of emotions- predominantly anger, some times helplessness and at points, humiliation. The White Tiger is a story of two Indias as seen through the eyes of Balram Halwai, a slum dweller turned servant/driver turned murderer. Halwai's story is just a foil for Adiga to delve into what he actually wants to talk about: his opinions about India and all of India's successes.

It's an angry book. I can see that the writer is burning with anger, humiliation perhaps and helplessness- the same emotions that haunted me when I read this book. But with a generous dose of sarcasm, cold humour, Adiga tells you everything about the two Indias- the India for the rich and the India for the poor. And the mighty gap that lies in between. And the desperate attempts made by those in the Darkness to reach the Light. The book moves fast( I finished it in two days) and is much better than the last Indian book which won the Booker, Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss

Every line of the book hits you right in the gut. It raps your conscience and tells you just exactly what you never admitted or let yourself acknowledge.Slumdog Millionaire was just a teaser. The White Tiger is the real deal. The book is most painful to read because you know the stuff in this book actually happens, at one point or the other! All of the things that while being read infuriate you, actually happen.

It's a scary thought- that acceptance. But what put me off, is the entire negativism of the book. Oh well, that was intended. But India's had some successes too. "At what cost?" , I can hear Adiga asking. This book is a brutal, raw, cold read and intended to be so. It'll probably make you think for ages and ages and ages......Oh yes, there is a lot that needs to be done. And The White Tiger is the wake-up call.

Adiga sure is a writer to watch out for!

Friday, May 22, 2009

'The Associate' - John Grisham


I confess that despite trying for more than 5 days to complete the book, I couldn't go past page 372 out of 484 pages. Easily one of Grisham's worst books in recent times. When I saw the blurb itself which said that this novel was "reminiscent of The Firm", my suspicions were aroused. I mean, since when did an author himself start claiming that one book would be a re-hashed version of another?

And boy was I so right. All the characters in this pathetic excuse of a novel( Yes, I said it) are annoying.And for God's sake Grisham stop repeating things!! He takes 300 pages to set up the non-existent plot! Grisham goes on about the important things like the dinner Kyle McAvoy( the hero) is planning to have, the reason for the family feuds..stuff that do not matter to the godforsaken plot.

Anyway, here's my letter to John Grisham.

Dear Mr. Grisham,

1. If you are bored and suddenly feel like you have to write a book, I suggest you don't try re-working one of your own books.

2. Why on Earth are you recounting the same story of McAvoy's 'offense' in as many different, ridiculous ways as possible?

3. It doesn't matter what your lead characters eat or wear. So, kindly stop harping on it..and turn to more important details.

4. Speaking of which, I think you forgot something. WHERE is the plot?

Still wanting my time back,
An irate former fan

Recommended for: Nobody. Save your precious time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Schedule

After lots of discussion and scheduling, we have the action plan. Of course, subject to changes, as and when required =)

Sense and Sensibility
(1811)--Discussion begins June 15
Pride and Prejudice (1813)--Discussion begins July 15
Mansfield Park (1814)--Discussion begins August 15
Emma (1815)--Discussion begins September 15
Persuasion (1817)--Discussion begins October 15
Northanger Abbey( 1817)--Discussion begins November 15

We also have another member, who'll drop in by the discussions and share her views, since she's a major Austen addict too. The more the merrier =)

We have planned to maintain a diary of events for as long as this book club goes and updating this blog is one way of doing that. It will be great when we look back at all that went into this and how much we loved it and learned from it. It'll be fun to let the world know of our experiments.

We're getting ready for the Austenian experience. And like Diane said "When our lives start mirroring our stories I will freak" I can't wait ;)

After all, the whole point is:


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