Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

This book was recommended by my sister and as always I just had to buy it and read it. This book brings alive the life in Afghanistan in your mind and you will almost start smelling the kababs when Khaled talks about them. Well atleast I did because I was hungry when I read that part:D:D and I ended up eating at a Mediterrenean place that week. The friendship of Amir and Hassan is unique. Though they are inseparable, the class difference and its reflection in their releationship is very palpable. The struggle that Amir and his father undergo on their move to America is pretty much what any individual would experience when forcefully uprooted from their life and re-establised in an alien country. I feel that friendships made in one's childhood are much stronger that those that you develop later in life. That's probably because you long for those innocent days of your childhood once you grow up and when you are a kid there is no selfish motive behind your friendship. Some people I know might argue otherwise saying that friendships you make when you grow up are based on a deeper understanding. The inherent violence in the day-to-day life described by Khaled is something that I found a little chilling. For example the description of the games that Amir and Hassan play be it stringing dragon flies or burning up ants by holding them under a magnifying glass with the scorching sun above, the macabre picture painted by the words describing the killing of the animal for religious sacrifice and many others. Almost everyone would identify with Amir's incessant desire to please his father. Many a times I wished that the urdu words were translated at the bottom of the page. Most of them have explanations right after but some don't. All in all, I learnt a lot about life in Afghanistan, the Taliban and a lot m0re about human nature and child psychology thanx to this book. I mostly do the reading on the train everyday on my way to and from work and a few of the days I went back home with sad thoughts about what I had read. It is great to read such thought provoking books once in a while as it makes you thankful for the life you have and the luxury and ppleasures you enjoy.

I started writing this review midway through the book because I realized that most times I forget to pen down a lot of stuff that I thought of while reading the book. So writing the review while you are still reading the book seemed like a good idea to me. This might seem a little vague when one reads it 'coz there are a couple of sentences written everyday and they might not all gel as well together as they should. But I do believe that this way I will end up saying more than I would otherwise. So, this is definitely what I wish to continue with the rest of my books.

Comments and views welcome from anyone who's read this book.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This Side of Married - Rachel Pastan

This book as been slated as a modern day Pride and Prejudice. Shameful as it is, I haven't read the original by Jane Austen. However, I do know what the story goes like and it was easy to see that similarities exist. It is the story of three sisters, each as different from each other as day and night. This is not too hard to understand given that we are three sisters in my family who are quite different from each other too. The focus is on Isabel's life which is falling apart but she manages to pick it up pretty soon and get going. The mother is forever concerned about the girls getting married/having kids which is typical. The father doesn't have much of a role to play. Some of the chapters ended rather abruptly and I was left feeling like the author had something more to say but her words were deleted by an editor or something. I liked the frank and straight forward demeanor of Simon. A decent book but don't expect too much.