It's been long time post coming. And all relevance of movie-reviewing (refer last post) having been lost, I shall continue with opinionating (yes, yes I invent words) on the plethora of books I have read of late.

First I finished Cat and Mouse by Gunter Grass. He is an artist of detail, with something as seemingly inconsequential as a vulgar Adam's apple being likened to a sly, stealthy game of....Cat and Mouse! Unfocussed on the story-telling, Grass recounts events. And whether or not one is supposed to read between the lines can be removed to discretion because reading this work is all about translating. From powerful words to vivid pictures.

Then I started and finished not one, but two Harry Potters (I remain an unabashed fan). Yes, The Deathly Hallows and The Half-Blood Prince (again). In fact I have read those two so many times over the past month that my sibling and I have been reduced to discussing the loopholes (oh and they are a few!!) in the plot in excruciating detail. For one, why do the ruddy wizards mess up when donning muggle clothes when clearly that's what you are wearing often enough throughout your school life in Hogwarts? Or maybe I have succumbed to the bad habit of mixing books with movies. Maybe.
For two (SPOILER ALERT) why o why does Narcissa Malfoy lie to Voldemort that Harry is dead. I mean if it was the victory celebration that would have taken her to the Hogwarts grounds, that would have happened anyway had she betrayed his thumping heartbeat. Voldemort wouldn't have waited long to kill poor, defenseless Harry. Unless Narcissa knew the curse would rebound. Did she?

Ramblings apart, I continued with Snow by Orhan Pamuk. Before this I had read My Name is Red by the same author and the deviation from the ornate style that he adopts in that is strikingly obvious. But I liked Snow very, very much. They geometry the protagonist discovers in every unique snowflake is confirmed almost immediately to an emotion, a phase he himself is experiencing with a sensitive (yet often aggressive) description. And the story telling is convincing; based in Kars, Turkey inhabited by the much glamourised religious fanatics, the staunch liberals who disavow all such impulses, and the ones stuck in between.

Then the following week I completed The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan and The Squabble by Nikolai Gogol. The Bonesetter's Daughter was a decent read. Compelling and swift. I found the descriptions weak, yet the story of Chinese immigrants in The U.S. was again, cogent.

However, my favourite was Gogol. He is an indiscriminate artist of description. Vivid detailing that infuses electric life into the most inanimate objects. Lovely. Although I was detached from my enthusiastic attraction for a moment when Gogol (like Kundera and Pamuk) insisted on connecting the story to his self , by introducing networks with the characters or some such (Kundera does it in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and justifies it (most implicitly) by announcing kitsch as the foundation of any and every art.) But I grew to understand the cardinal nature of story-telling. Oh well, I suppose I will live.

But seriously, Gogol comes with a golden star and three smiley faces.


surajsharma said...

hari puttar aside, it's nice to see you back in the reading room once again. one of my all time favorite Gogol books is "dead souls", one of the most awesome books ever btw, beats any Dostoevsky novel any day (except crime and punishment, that shit was RAD!!) wish i had enough time (or space) here to talk about kundera or the concept of kitsch.

Joseph Conrad, you should totally be checking him out if you liked Gogol. Begin with "Heart of darkness" or "Under western eyes".

and keep reading. =)

99% Bachelor said...

I like this one. Really very good quotes. gr8 effort. keep doing..

Karmic Incense said...

Baby you're coming to where I am, aren't you??
Fervently praying that at least you apply. I could do with some over-rated sanity in here

MISSquoted** said...

surajsharma: I shall keep. Finished The remains of the day. Finishing The last mughal. Will finish (i hope!) Of human bondage.

99% bachelor: erm, felt weird to type that out but gee thanks!

karmic incense: baby! NOT in public...

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

What about 'Volver'?

MISSquoted** said...

arthur quiller couch: I didn't read Volver you know.