Well, here I am back after a longish break (mostly spent waiting for the muse to come knocking at my door) and boy have I been gypped. One hyped book and one hyped movie later, I am definitely wiser.
I read the NAMESAKE and could barely get through it - Boring, trite, insipid. INTERPRETER OF MALADIES (Lahiri's debut novel) was infinitely better. Nonetheless I hopped across for the movie hoping Irfan and Tabu could breathe some new life into a jaded theme. Big mistake. Though on a positive note, the acting and direction is smashing.
While the Namesake proved vaguely entertaining, I cannot get over the fact why pseudo intellects gush over Amitava Ghosh. Sure, he is learned and sure, he can clump together a mean description of the Sunderbans or erstwhile
My second venture into Ghosh territory ‘THE GLASS PALACE’ was as disappointing as ‘HUNGRY TIDE’. (Post on that here). Giving credit where credit is due, Ghosh is amazingly lyrical and is brilliant when it comes to transcribing history or describing a place, but he fumbles ineptly with the plot and characters. The book begins evocatively enough - slowly and alluringly, but midway Ghosh hits the fast forward button and what could have been an engrossing novel becomes instead a bland narrative. There is definitely something wrong with a book if one has to struggle and I mean really struggle to complete it.
For the record I gave up on PALACE after page 374 but that didn't stop me from sneaking a peek at the last page (ah…an urge I have withheld for nearly a decade) where I came across the most bizarre love-making scene ever. Do they have an award for that, along with the Bad Sex in fiction award? ‘Rajkumar discovers Uma’s dentures are clamped within his, staring in round eyed befuddlement at the pink jaws that were protruding out of his own – Uma leant forward and fastened her mouth on her own teeth and they shut their eyes….’
I have nothing against love-making at all ages, but do you have to shed your dignity along with your clothes? Actually you do, but that is besides the point and anyhow that wasn't my crib about the book.
Books Worth Reading
Re-read THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA (Hemingway) after more than a decade. A book that left no impact on me as a kid, moved me to tears as an adult. Ditto DEATH OF A SALESMAN though minus the tears (Arthur Miller). Also got my hands on an antique edition of WALDEN (Thoreau) - The author lived for two years in a self-made cottage by a pond to prove a point – You can live simply by shrugging off materialism and dependence on others. Um…but he ‘borrowed an axe’ to construct the house and I think the land was borrowed as well. Well, it's the thought that counts:)