Monday, November 01, 2010
Stories: he told me five
Some books you can't put down. Others, I try to get through coz I prefer not to leave a book halfway. Not successful every time (Red Badge of Courage, I give up....for now). Since there is no TV yet at home, and I haven't even been connected to the Internet until very recently, I have been honing my unpacking skills and then, reading.
Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandra is a lovely read. Perhaps more so since I hail from Bombay. Each individual story is well-rounded, holistic and forms the perfect story circle; no loose ends, but some ironic conclusions. I love how well he develops his characters. They stay etched in your mind well after you have put the book down. e.g. Kshitij, Sartaj, Dolly, Shaila, and Shanti.
Vikram tells us five stories. Each story is a one word title, e.g. Shanti (peace), Shakti (strength) etc. and is a story being told by one man on five different evenings.
All the stories are a very easy read, not filled with fancy words that for some prove that a writer is really good. The words are simple but carefully chosen, the stories, very well thought-out, and the sprinkling of Hindi really makes me like it much more. "Wah Mr. Chandra, aap kahaniya acche likhthe hain".
One of the criteria of a good book for me is when I get excited as I am walking home, or when I am actually happy about the imminently long tube ride, and I see a vacant blue cushioned seat! I can't wait to tune out, and jump into the world of characters far beyond the chook chook of the train.
Now, I'm onto exploring Miriam, Rasheed, Jalil, Laila and many more in a Thousand Splendid Suns, and the book sits right in front me. Such a tease. But for today, I'll meet you all my Afghani friends in a bit. Restraint is critical when to-do's need to become done's.
What have you been reading lately?
Today I'm humming: Cheek to Cheek - Jane Monheit version