Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good Books

Some books which I am itching to Own:

The Mahabharata: A Modern Rendering, Vol 1 (Paperback) by Ramesh Menon (Author)

Noorjahan, empress of Mughal India by by Ellison Banks

The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Rethinking the Mahabharata by Alf Hiltebeitel

Next Door stories by Jahnavi Barua

The Immortals by Amit Chaudhari

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

The Mahabharata by Meera Uberoi

The women of the Mahabharata by Badrinath Chaturvedi

Radheya (Hindi): Period Novel on Mahabharata's Karna by Ranjit Desai

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Reading Lolita In Tehran by Azar Nafisi

The Wet Nurse by Mahasweta Devi

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

Dreams Die Young By C.V. Murali

Why I assassinated Mahatma Gandhi

Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

‘The Kite Runner’ is a fabulous book and also a wonderful movie.
I read the book about 3 years back. I was member of this library from where you could borrow a couple of books, read and then return for some other books. When I read the back cover, I found it intriguing. So, I just picked it up.

It was a ‘difficult’ book to read – not in language or expression but in content, in the emotions that it evoked. It left me with a heavy heart. It was like Shashi Deshpande’s books. When you are done, you would feel as if you have lived the book. Just like in Deshpande’s books, the feelings are described so clearly that you end up living those yourself; and eventually you end up ‘living’ the book. So, when the book gets over, you feel empty for sometime.

The basic plot is that of two friends - Amir and Hassan but beyond the surface, this book addresses a lot of political, sociological and emotional issues. Amir’s dad is a rich guy and Hassan’s father works at Amir’s home. But there is deep friendship between the two. Hassan – from supposedly a low caste - is so devoted to Amir that he would do anything for his sake. The book is about how he puts himself at stake and faces deep humiliation, for Amir. 

Amir is not so brave. He carries the guilt of knowing what Hassan goes through and not doing anything about it. 

Both get separated due to political turmoil and family situations, but eventually Amir risks his life to save Hassan’s son and pays the dues of friendship, at the end.
Don’t want to be a spoiler, so no matter how much I want to write the story here, I would control myself.

The movie was beautiful. There is an effortless translation of book into the movie. I could not stop myself from crying for Hassan and feeling deep sense of injustice in knowing that he only did the right thing, yet he lost his life. 

The movie also reminded how an Afghan used to be reminiscent of “Kabulliwalah” – the big-hearted pathan; unlike today, where people look at an Afghan with suspicion. It is also sad to look at the deteriorated condition of life there, abject injustice in the name of religion. When the world is progressing toward growth and development, Talibans support regressive culture and clearly favour stone age! It is even difficult to imagine life for them. 

Watch the movie (and read the book) for its sensitivity and beautiful portrayal of human emotions and friendship. It is every bit worth it.