Tag Archives: indian authors

Classics Club Reading #3: A Suitable Boy

Published / by Elizabeth / Leave a Comment

So I have started to read this 1348 pages long book – A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth for the Classics Club Challenge.

A Suitable Boy is set in India during the post-Independence era and revolves around the family of Mrs Rupa Mehra. A suitable groom is required for Lata – the youngest daughter of Mrs Mehra.

I have read 100 pages of this huge book and I am truly delighted. There is something charming about stories from the post-Independence era. Remember Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. (If you have not read it, do read it)

I am not keeping a target date to read this one. I will slowly read it with my morning/evening tea.There is not much option as this is too heavy to carry around. So A Suitable Boy is going to find a temporary place on my dining table, which means I expect a bit of curry stains, food particles, tea stains etc. But what good it will do if it remains on my book shelf in a good condition?

I bought this as a used book. If ever you plan to buy this book, see if you can find a lighter version. I really wish Amazon will publish a Kindle version of this one. I would go ahead and buy it unless it is exorbitantly priced.

So is there anyone who would like to read A Suitable Boy along with me ? If yes, do let me know through comments.

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Family Life by Akhil Sharma

Published / by Elizabeth / Leave a Comment

Family life by akhil sharmaLiterary Awards

Folio Prize for Fiction (2015)

Family Life found a place in my reading list when I read a few raving reviews about it on few of my favorite book blogs . I was determined to track down a copy and read it when I get a chance. There were innumerable occasions when I almost bought a copy, but then restrained myself from buying it at the last moment.

Family Life reminded me of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake about Indian immigrants in America but the similarity between them ends there. Family Life is about two brothers Birju and Ajay who emigrated to America in their childhood with their Indian parents. I read it assuming it to be a work of fiction, but I learned later that this story is actually inspired by the author’s own life.

3 minutes is a time that passes away so fast that we don’t even bother to keep a check on it in our daily existence, but that time became crucial for the Sharmas. 3 minutes is what it takes to overturn the Sharmas’ happy existence in America to a nightmare, when Birju laid in the bottom of a swimming pool unconscious after he hit his head in a diving accident. That incident left Birju brain damaged leaving his family to deal with the situation along with its financial and emotional repercussions.

Family Life is a tough novel to read and it would have been tougher to write. I am not surprised that it took Akhil almost 12 years to put this in shape considering the depth of the subject. This is a well written novel, but I did have some initial issues with the writing style. I was surprised by this experience because I had read that this book is engrossing from Page 1.

Family life is Ajay’s narration about the life before and after Birju’s accident, the whole book is written from his perspective – his honest thoughts about life before and after Birju’s accident. There are no heavily emotion laden words in this narration, Ajay mostly sticks to plain facts and leaves the rest to the reader.The character feels more realistic because Ajay is far from the innocent brother ignored by parents due to the invalid brother.

I wanted to love this book, but it never happened. But then when you start thinking of the story and the writing, I can clearly understand why this book was such a popular one. The premise of the story is too raw and disturbing and there is a stream of unending sorrows. Akhil Sharma handles all of them beautifully and makes this book a good read.

Family Life is depressing and I will give it 3.75/5,but I highly recommend that you read before you ignore it.

Rating: 3.75/5
First published April 7th 2014

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Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan

Published / by Elizabeth / Leave a Comment

Sherlock Holmes, The Missing YEars Japan by Vasudev Murthy

It’s 1893. King Kamehameha III of Hawaii declares Sovereignty Restoration Day … Tension grows between China and Japan over Korea … The Bengal Famine worsens … A brilliant scientist in Calcutta challenges the system … The senior priest at Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji temple is found dead in mysterious circumstances. Dr John H. Watson receives a strange letter from Yokohama. Then the quiet, distinguished Mr. Hashimoto is murdered inside a closed room on a voyage from Liverpool to Bombay. In the opium dens of Shanghai and in the back alleys of Tokyo, sinister men hatch evil plots. Professor Moriarty stalks the world, drawing up a map for worldwide dominion. Only one man can outwit the diabolical Professor Moriarty. Only one man can save the world. Has Sherlock Holmes survived the Reichenbach Falls? In a seriocomic novel that radically ups the ante, Sherlock Holmes and Watson find their match in more than one man (or indeed, woman) as a clock inexorably ticks. History, mystery, romance, conspiracies, knife-edge tension; a train in Russia, roadside crime in Alexandria, an upset stomach in Bombay, careening through Cambodia, nasty people in China, monks in Japan–here’s a thrilling global chase that will leave you breathless (occasionally with laughter) as the Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years series begins.

Sherlock Holmes – The Missing Years in Japan is a fan fiction and Vasudev Murthy is a great fan and it is pretty evident when you read this book. This is my first experience with fan fiction and I read this book out of sheer curiosity. I wanted to see how someone can develop a character which is loved by so many people around the world. I should say that the experience was quite pleasant.

This book is all about how Sherlock and Watson manages to travel from London to Japan in the midst of very dangerous situations. Professor Moriarty who is responsible for Sherlock’s alleged death in the Reichenbach falls have become quite powerful and will do anything to see that Sherlock and Watson does not reach their destinations.

I think writing fan fiction is tough because the author has a tough job to keep up with the original writing style, characters etc.Vasudev Murthy has done a good job in imitating the style by Arthur Conan Doyle, but the lack of any particular mystery robs the reader to see the problem solving and analytical skill of Sherlock that is usually exhibited in the original works. I found this to be a negative point because I got bit bored reading about the long and dangerous journey they made. Too many characters and that too with Japanese names made my reading difficult. It was quite tough to remember and recollect who each character was.

Overall this was a pleasant read, but I will recommend this to you only if you are a die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan and likes fan fiction. Otherwise you should just go back and read the original. Nothing can beat them!

What do you think of fan fiction?

Rating: 3.5/5
Source: eARC from Netgallety
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Release: Mar 10 2015

Note: I received a digital copy of this book for review consideration.

Scion of Ikshvaku - Amish Tripathi

Amish Tripathi’s Ram Chandra Series

Published / by Elizabeth / 1 Comment on Amish Tripathi’s Ram Chandra Series

Last few weeks, Amish Tripathi got many people around here excited by announcing a contest to guess the theme of his next book series. There were twitter/facebook contests for guessing the theme with #WhatsNextAmish hashtag.

I was not paying much attention to it though I had read the first two books of the Shiva Trilogy and liked them. I skipped the third because of its sheer size and people who read it commented it that it could have been 200 pages shorter.

Things changed when Westland Publishers sent a mail asking if I want to get involved in the Mystery Box Challenge associated with Amish’s new book. And I said an yes. I received the parcel last week at my office, but I had taken few days leave due to fever and the contest was over by the time I opened the parcel.

Nishita had already posted a unboxing video and I was pretty clueless looking at it.

The box is a solid wooden box with some decorations and with few golden and silver strokes. I loved the lock of the box.

Amish Tripathi's Ram Chandra Series - Scion of Ikshvaku

When I opened the box, it contained a vial of mud-like substance ( I think it is fine mud), a scroll with secret clue to guess about the new book series and the promotional letter from Westland Publishers.

Amish Tripathi's Ram Chandra Series - Scion of Ikshvaku Promotion
Below you can find the picture of the scroll containing the secret clue about the book. Since the book and the series title has been already announced, I am not going into much details. It looks like different people got different clues.

Amish Tripathi's Ram Chandra Series - Scion of Ikshvaku- promotion clue

So did someone guess the series correctly? Did someone win any of the contests? I think the first book will take few months to be released – around October 2015 and it looks like it is going to be a 4-5 book series. I think Amish has the potential to gain more popularity if he plays his game carefully. I thought that Shiva Trilogy could have been better with a better editor. I hope he takes his books a little more seriously this time.

Read my review of the first book of Shiva Trilogy below. Guess I missed writing the review for the second one :)

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi : Book Review