Saturday, 8 September 2007
Monday, 20 August 2007
Monday, 16 July 2007
Thursday, 12 July 2007
Monday, 7 May 2007
With unconventional wit and a wonderfully weird way of looking at things, Augusten Burroughs chronicles his life on the edge after leaving his deeply eccentric foster family. Dry opens in Manhattan, where Augusten has established a life for himself as a high-paid advertising hotshot. But his past haunts him still as he tries to create a grown-up life. Dry is at times howlingly funny, devastatingly moving and, in the end, uplifting. It further establishes Burroughs as one of the most original authors writing today.
Tuesday, 1 May 2007
Thursday, 5 April 2007
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
Disgrace takes as its complex central character 52-year-old English professor David Lurie whose preoccupation with Romantic poetry--and romancing his students--threatens to turn him into a "a moral dinosaur". Called to account by the University for a passionate but brief affair with a student who is ambivalent about his embraces, David refuses to apologise, drawing on poetry before what he regards as political correctness in his claim that his "case rests on the rights of desire." Seeking refuge with his quietly progressive daughter Lucie on her isolated small holding, David finds that the violent dilemmas of the new South Africa are inescapable when the tentative emotional truce between errant father and daughter is ripped apart by a traumatic event that forces Lucie to an appalling disgrace. Pitching the moral code of political correctness against the values of Romantic poetry in its evocation of personal relationships, this novel is skillful--almost cunning--in its exploration of David's refusal to be accountable and his daughter's determination to make her entire life a process of accountability. Their personal dilemmas cast increasingly foreshortened shadows against the rising concerns of the emancipated community, and become a subtle metaphor for the historical unaccountability of one culture to another.
Monday, 26 March 2007
Friday, 9 March 2007
The best I can do is to attempt just reading the book in the accent intended by the writer. From the voice in my head it sounds like I'm reading a lot of Irish/Jamaican literature these days.
Sunday, 4 March 2007
'Kafka on the Shore' by Haruki Murakami
15-year-old Kafka Tamura runs away from home, both to escape his father's oedipal prophecy and to find his long-lost mother and sister. As Kafka flees, so too does Nakata, an elderly simpleton whose quiet life has been upset by a gruesome murder. (A wonderfully endearing character, Nakata has never recovered from the effects of a mysterious World War II incident that left him unable to read or comprehend much, but did give him the power to speak with cats.) What follows is a kind of double odyssey, as Kafka and Nakata are drawn inexorably along their separate but somehow linked paths, groping to understand the roles fate has in store for them. Murakami likes to blur the boundary between the real and the surreal—we are treated to such oddities as fish raining from the sky; a forest-dwelling pair of Imperial Army soldiers who haven't aged since WWII; and a hilarious cameo by fried chicken king Colonel Sanders—but he also writes touchingly about love, loneliness and friendship.
Saturday, 10 February 2007
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Thursday, 18 January 2007
The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto 'Che' Guevara
In January 1952, two young men from Beunos Aires set out to explore South America on 'La Poderosa', the Powerful One: a 500cc Norton. One of them was the twenty three year old Che Guevara.
Written eight years before the Cuban revolution, these are Che's diaries- full of disasters and discoveries, high drama, low comedy and laddish improvisations. During his travels through Argentiina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, Che's main concerns are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found and eho might be around to share it.
Within a decade the whole world would know his name. His trip might have been the adventure of a lifetime - had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure.
Wednesday, 17 January 2007
Tuesday, 16 January 2007
Tuesday, 2 January 2007
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Nikos Kazantzakis' most popular and enduring novel, has its origins in the author's own experiences of mining and harvesting in the Peleponnesus in the 1920s. His swashbuckling hero has its legions of literary fans across the world and his adventures are as exhilarating and havoc-making now as they were on first publication in the 1950s.
Saturday, 16 December 2006
Saturday, 2 December 2006
Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair
Meet Akhilandeshwari, Akhila for short: forty-five and single, an income tax clerk and a woman who has never been allowed to live her own life—always the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the provider. Until the day she gets herself a one-way ticket to the seaside town of Kanyakumari, gloriously alone for the first time in her life and determined to break free of all that her conservative Tamil brahmin life has bound her to.
In the intimate atmosphere of the ladies coupe which she shares with five other women, Akhila gets to know her fellow travellers: Janaki, pampered wife and confused mother; Margaret Shanti, a chemistry teacher married to the poetry of elements and an insensitive tyrant too self-absorbed to recognize her needs; Prabha Devi, the perfect daughter and wife, transformed for life by a glimpse of a swimming pool; fourteen-year-old Sheela, with her ability to perceive what others cannot; and Marikolanthu, whose innocence was destroyed by one night of lust.
As she listens to the women's stories, Akhila is drawn into the most private moments of their lives, seeking in them a solution to the question that has been with her all her life: Can a woman stay single and be happy, or does a woman need a man to feel complete?