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Abhishek Ram


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sundancekid_79's Timeline

Reviewed Inheritance of Loss, The - Kiran Desai

Dec 21, 2006 05:18 PM 2998 Views

From the moment I began the first chapter until I reached the final page, this book never ceased to fascinate me. The book itself is full of contradictions, both to itself and what is normally characterized as quality literature. The setting, to begin with, is exotic, the time period less so, gi...Read more

Commented on Like-it-or-Not's review

Dec 21, 2006 05:07 PM

From the moment I began the first chapter until I reached the final page, this book never ceased to fascinate me. The book itself is full of contradictions, both to itself and what is normally characterized as quality literature. The setting, to begin with, is exotic, the time period less so, given ...the recent return of violence in that region and among the Nepalise people, and the characters most familiar to anyone. The novel is constructed around fairly usual types of characters- the alcoholics, the hopeful youths, the wizened, aging adults, even the light, friendly characters. The difference is in Desai's exploration of each character type, and no fluffy skimming over of any individual is permitted. The choppier, more scattered style can be a bit too 'new age' for some of us more used to the classical prose style, but the change is refreshing and adds to the depth of characterization. Not to give away the entire novel or anything, but the most unique quality of this novel is not realized until the very end. The novel ends with everyone being worse off than they were in the beginning. Ideals have been lost irrevocably, youth has beeen compromised, and all that was gained has been lost, coupled with the additional loss of dignity. By the ending, I promise that the dismal nature of the title will strike a chord and complete the meaning of the book. Depressing, yes, but also a frighteningly compelling idea. The only further recommendation I have to anyone even remotely interested in picking this novel up: please, read it in a place devoid of distraction and be willing to dedicate some attention to it. I advise this merely because a) the prose is stock-piled with those 'eternal truths' and pieces of worthy wisdom for all living beings and b) once you get into it, there is no way you will willingly put it down. I finished it in a matter of days, while keeping a life, and was annoyed at any distraction that made me have to re-read something.Read More

Commented on Like-it-or-Not's review

Dec 21, 2006 05:06 PM

Cho Oyu, a crumbling old house in the foothills of the Himalayas is home to the main characters of Kiran Desai's Booker shortlisted The Inheritance of Loss. Sai is bundled off to convent boarding school when her parents leave India to take part in the Soviet space programme, and is orphaned when... they meet an untimely death under the wheels of a Moscow bus. The only relative she has left is her grandfather, Jemubhai. The former judge has totally withdrawn from life, investing all his emotional energy in his dog, Mutt. Sai's presence in the house serves to break down the barriers the sour old man has built up against weight of deeply shaming memories. The judge's cook, a poor man grown old before his time, becomes the closest thing to family that Sai has. Yet he too nurses an anguish - his son Biju has left for America in the hope of a better life, and all that binds them is a fragile chain of letters. Sai is hungry for tenderness and falls in love with her physics tutor Gyan, a young Nepalese boy, but when the two find themselves on opposite sides of a bitter racial conflict the reader is kept wondering whether they will be able to summon enough maturity to weather their differences. The situation is made more complicated when a rag-tag band of Gorka National Liberation Front guerillas come to the house to look for the judge's old hunting rifles, and it is clear that Sai and her grandfather have been betrayed. The Inheritance of Loss dips backwards and forwards in time, combines several different narrative threads and moves between three continents. It's a very ambitious novel. Nevertheless, Desai manages to steer it away from being overly complex and bitty by providing a strong thematic link between the various subplots. The novel explores the Indian obsession with the move overseas in the hope of a better life elsewhere, and the uneasy compromises it forces. Desai chronicles two journeys abroad which cleverly echo each other. Read More

Reviewed Hours, The - Michael Cunnigham

Jan 04, 2005 12:40 PM 5952 Views

(Updated Jan 04, 2005 12:40 PM)

Michael Cunningham has written a beautiful modern version of Virginia Woolf's classic ''Mrs. Dalloway,'' managing to capture the complexities of the original and add a few of his own. Clarissa Vaughn begins her day searching for flowers for a party she will throw to celebrate an award her wri...Read more

Reviewed Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

Jan 04, 2005 12:22 PM 6527 Views

(Updated Jan 04, 2005 12:22 PM)

In Frank McCourt's childhood memoir, Angela's Ashes, the writing so clearly depicts his emotions from his past that is amazing what great detail is captivated in his memory. As the story progresses, young Frank grows into an older, wiser, more mature, and more responsible young man. He works har...Read more

Reviewed Dream Of The Unified Field, The - Jorie Graham

Jan 04, 2005 12:13 PM 4575 Views

(Updated Jan 04, 2005 12:13 PM)

Perhaps the most common indictment made about any of Graham's works is that they are too philosophical and complex--so complex that they distance themselves from the common reader (''reader,'' these days, meaning someone who expects to understand a poem on the first or second reading). But it...Read more

Reviewed Heat And Dust - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Jan 04, 2005 12:08 PM 24705 Views

(Updated Jan 04, 2005 12:08 PM)

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's powerful and beautifully written novel of an ''outrageous'' Anglo-Indian romance in 1920s Khatm and Satipur, Heat and Dust,won the Booker Prize in 1983. The author has crafted parallel tales of two young women, distantly related and separated by two generations. Anne, the ...Read more

Reviewed God Of Small Things, The - Arundhati Roy

Jan 04, 2005 10:27 AM 1657 Views

(Updated Jan 04, 2005 10:27 AM)

I remember an unusually well-read American friend of mine telling me that this book has been a revealation to him about the qualities of indo-english writers and also the complex and broad cultural spectrum of India the country. That was an year ago in LA. And immediately after that, another cha...Read more

Reviewed Amsterdam - Ian McEwan

Jan 04, 2005 09:35 AM 6626 Views

(Updated Jan 04, 2005 09:35 AM)

The pivotal plot in ''Amsterdam'', not much critically examined by other reviewers here, is a story about two not really successful people at the midlife crisis where settling for less becomes life's main burden, both self indulgent (a musician/composer and a newspaper editor) conspire to murder...Read more

Reviewed English Patient, The - Michael Ondaatje

Jan 04, 2005 09:32 AM 5248 Views

(Updated Jan 04, 2005 09:32 AM)

The cover copy of my version of ''The English Patient'' indicates that the book within is ''A rare and spellbinding web of dreams.'' Even though I'm not sure what that means, strangely, I agree. Ondaatje's language is lyrical enough to transport one to his dream world, a world of half-glimpsed c...Read more

Reviewed Rent - Jonathan Larson

Jan 03, 2005 05:43 PM 3922 Views

(Updated Jan 03, 2005 05:43 PM)

This book can only be described as beautiful. It's content, the pictures, everything is a true dedication to the work of Jonathan Larson. The book begins as a biography to the creator of Rent, Jonathan Larson and his original vision of the play and of life itself. Reading his story was quite ...Read more

Reviewed God : A Biography - Jack Miles

Jan 03, 2005 05:36 PM 5495 Views

(Updated Jan 03, 2005 05:36 PM)

When I first heard about God: A Biography, I was put off by what I considered a ''cutesy'' title. Mentally, I catalogued the book with efforts along the lines of ''Conversations with God'' or even ''The Celestine Prophecy,'' pop-theology that sought to gain a mass readership through some kind of...Read more

Reviewed Half a Life - V S Naipaul

Jan 03, 2005 05:28 PM 3621 Views

(Updated Jan 03, 2005 05:28 PM)

The title of V.S. Naipaul's new novel refers to the beginning of the revolution by the guerilla fighters his main character, Wllie Chandran, meets in India. It also seems to refer to the magic seeds that can produce a raceless society through miscegenation. In either case, the story does not hol...Read more

Reviewed House For Mr Biswas, A - V S Naipaul

Jan 03, 2005 05:26 PM 5857 Views

(Updated Jan 03, 2005 05:26 PM)

V. S. Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas is an exotic novel. He writes about Indians in Trinidad; his acute observations and fantastic skill at capturing each element of human life and emotion makes this novel endearing, lasting, rich, eternal. Having grown up with a desire to write myself, I f...Read more

Reviewed Five Point Someone - Chetan Bhagat

Dec 30, 2004 04:01 PM 2318 Views

(Updated Dec 30, 2004 04:03 PM)

Five reasons why Hari, Ryan and Alok's lives are in a complete mess: They've messed up their grades big time. Alok and Ryan can't stop bickering with each other. Hari is smitten with Neha who happens to be Prof. Cherian's daughter. As IITians, they're expected to conquer the world, s...Read more