Monday, May 01, 2017

Mini Reviews - V

Pied Piper
-          Nevil Shute
This novel is about an elderly English gentleman caught in the middle of German occupation in France, and must return back home. What starts with his generosity in agreeing to take two children from his French hotel to England with him, gradually builds up into something huge – along the way, amidst the tragedies of war, several other children join his band. He continues this arduous journey with patience and compassion that is in his heart, despite his own suffering inflicted by his old age and lack of skill in handling young children and survival training. The group faces severe trials in the war-torn lands, but also receives help from strangers along the way.
It is a beautiful, touching story, told in a simple narrative. However, I found that magic something missing, which so enchanted me in his other books like "Requiem for a Wren" and "On the Beach". I felt that this was not as crisp, and though the characters were endearing and believable, the story had few too many coincidences that stretched the imagination.

English, August
-          Upmanyu Chatterjee
The only feeling I had after finishing it was that of relief. It must be one of the most awful books I read, and I think that it can perhaps only be enjoyed by intellectual snobs or depraved minds (and I suppose nothing says they can't co-exist). I would have abandoned it after the first few pages, had I not finished almost two-thirds of it on an idle weekend when I had nothing else to read, and I was feeling too lazy even to move.
I didn’t like the language used, and didn’t find anything redeemable about the protagonist. I found his thought process repulsive rather than amusing. If that is indeed the way an average Indian male thinks, there is no surprise that the society today is the way it is. The story doesn’t go anywhere, and there is probably not even a single paragraph without a mention of getting stoned, shit or mast*******. I didn’t find it at all witty as it is supposed to be, and if there was any humor, it was rude and sick.

Anne of Green Gables
-          L. M. Montgomery
This is a delightful book about an orphaned Anne, who lands up at the home of an elderly couple who actually intended to adopt a boy. She is a spirited and kind-hearted girl, and her journey of settling into her new home and the community, and making mistakes and learning from them makes for an engaging read.
The language is easier to read than the typical Victorian classics (which are not my cup of tea, by the way). Though I quite liked it (first read in my thirties), I would certainly have enjoyed it much more in my teens.

Sisterhood of Traveling Pants
-          Ann Brashares
Quite an adorable story of friendship and coming-of-age. The pants (a pair of jeans procured from a thrift store) gives four teenage friends strength through the troubled phase of growing up, and forms an unshakable bond between them. Besides the bond of friendship that is of utmost significance at that age, the book also explores other relationships and emotions – love, family, infatuation, pain, kindness.
I wouldn’t say that it is a perfect or a very believable story, but it does portray the turmoil and fears and joys of that age in a realistic manner. It is more of a YA fiction, but I enjoyed it, and I feel that I would have really connected with it in my college years.