Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Magic moments are like a rabbit out of a hat!

I read two books recently, both whilst travelling to different locations. Jerry Pinto's co-authored book Leela was a simple and very well written biography that brought back the era of my parents; more vividly the lives of my mother and her elder sister. From the few encounters I have had with Mr. Pinto via hearing him on panel discussions, I would not have imagined the quiet sensitivity with which he has been a listener and chronicler of a story told without cloying sentimentality. The crispness of the language makes the book a start to finish read, that is a bit like watching the film Howard's End, of an era long gone and strangely missed by all.

There are times through the book that the name dropping is a little over powering; but forgivable considering these were the people whom she encountered. The jibe at Arundati Roy however seemed rather unworthy within a narrative that appeared to desire precisely not to become a playground of petty score settling. Was it perhaps Jerry Pinto's desire to settle scores that brought that innocuous tit-bit of the cuddly toys being more protected by Ms. Roy than human rights....? Whatever the reason it stains the quality of the story and  placed a doubt for me about the objectivity of perception both by the subject and her co-author. A great pity indeed to an otherwise delightful book.

The Pinto boy intrigues me....

I have bought EM and the big HOOM by the same author. It has a photo of the author writing in long hand with a happy grin plastered on his face. The book has a beautiful feel in ones hand: with blue edged pages and a cover illustration that is evocative, it has a rich red hard cover that gives it an old worldly elegance I love. Part of the pleasure of reading is often these strange details. The preface has already seduced my interest and so I shall take Mr. Pinto to bed with me tonight!

Something tells me I am slowly becoming a fan!!

I went to Rani Dharker's book release at Crosswords Baroda some months ago, and bought a copy of her new novel. Anurima makes for a very pleasant quick read for those who have lived in Baroda since the sixties. Almost all the characters in the narrative are very clearly recognisable. It is a clever attempt to accommodate her memories into a fictional story, but what occurs is that far too much personal descriptiveness is revealed so that the actual identities of these real people she has cast her characters from, become easily traceable to a local audience. How ethical this is becomes a subjective moral dilemma for me. Well written and otherwise tightly structured, Rani Dharker weaves the mystery within the tale and recounts the fabled legends of royal stories of stolen pearls and secret dalliances with quite a flair. The end however subscribes to the typical formula of a mills and boon romance with a tame "happily ever after" sweetness that seems misplaced. The book could have done well by leaving some things to be unstated and imagined.  But definitely worth taking as a light read on a trip.

In the pages of books that I read, I press flowers.....

Do you do that too?

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