REVIEW: RAINWATER

Author: Sandra Brown

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

256 pages

Sometimes you read a book that completely changes the way you think, the way you would normally think. You come a cross a book which effortlessly describes every emotion, every situation in a way you had never imagined. Sandra Brown in her rather unusual novel has given her readers a taste of what it is like to survive in a time where economic depression, prejudice and racial discrimination have had people kill themselves. Rainwater is a book that teaches life lessons learnt the hard way. I have not read any of Sandra Brown’s novels and since it was my first, I was quite intrigued.

The year is 1934 and Ella who is a single mother works day in and out to take care of her ten year old son, Solly. Ella runs a boarding house, earning as much as she can to ensure her son, an autistic child, lives a hassle free life. The behavior and abnormality of Solly is misunderstood since the story is dated back to 1930s where handicaps and oddity were not known of. Solly’s demeanor becomes uncontrollable and there comes a point where you would want to reach out to Ella and help her in any way you can.

Mr.Rainwater is a boarder who comes to stay at Ella’s house. Much to the readers bewilderment, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and does not have enough time in his hands. It is amazing how Sandra Brown has pictured Mr.Rainwater’s impeccable character in her readers minds. His arrival also marks the beginning of an untold mystery. Even with an illness, he shows great courage and grandeur. In no time, he manages to develop an unnatural bond with Solly. A bond that only the two of them can understand. Ella, surprised by Solly’s show of affection towards Mr.Rainwater comes to realize that there is something about him that is very powerful. They start sharing an intimacy that is unknown to them. Solly, if I may say, unites the two. The other characters have an important part to play and add a sense of closure to the story.

Time does not favor them, situations backfire and you will see the characters struggling through circumstances. Although the ending is extremely shocking and uncalled for, I would definitely recommend reading this piece of fiction. It is not always that you pick up a book which keeps you glued till the very end. I, for once, enjoyed reading every page. It is a perfect blend of  a love story with captivating drama, life events illustrating hazards and cruel dispositions of the earlier time. Highly enthralling and equally devastating, Rainwater is a must read.Image

REVIEW: AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED

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Author: Khaled Hosseini

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Rating: 4/5

“A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.” 

Reviewing a book written by an author as brilliant as Khaled Hosseini is nothing but narrowing down his hard work and his contributions to storytelling. I really do not intend on judging or giving my views on how he writes or what he should have written. I have been an ardent fan of his work ever since I read ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and no matter what happens I can never forget the experience it gave me. There is an extreme sadness in his work. Everything he writes has an emotional element strongly attached to it that is forever engraved in your heart and you can’t do anything about it. It decides to just stick with you throughout. You don’t read his books because you like to read. You read because you want to and the world will only seem less cruel after you have read his book. If you haven’t read his previous book ‘A thousand Splendid Suns’, I’d recommend you to read it first before you put your hands on his latest novel.

The minute I got hold of the book, I knew I was going to get addicted to it. The story starts with a story.  The tale of Abdullah and Pari who were caught in the web of unforeseen circumstances, forced to live their lives without each other. In this novel, the relationship of a brother and sister has been beautifully narrated. The world seems to crash for Abdullah when his little sister is adopted by a childless albeit wealthy couple. The fear, anguish and anger that Abdullah undergoes when he is separated by his sister will make you cringe. He cries but there isn’t anyone to hear him.  Pari was nurtured by him, brought up by him and had in the course of time become an inseparable part of his life. Fate, as you may say, had other plans (I somehow wanted to read more of Abdullah and Pari’s childhood).  The author has tried to merge in the stories of many other people who were associated with the main characters in different ways. The storyline seemed to go a little hay wire but then it regained its force. Since Khaled Hosseini is a wizard when it comes to writing, one realizes that the words have been written effortlessly. You traverse through different journeys, experience varying emotions and ponder and think and are finally left in awe.

“Gone.
Vanished.
Nothing left.
Nothing said.” 

Half way through the book, you forget about Abdullah and Pari. This doesn’t last much longer as Khaled Hosseini manages to grab your attention to a point where you are completely hooked to the book. The characters are many but their lifestyles are surprisingly very different. You wanderlust to various parts of the world; Afghanistan, Paris and the United States.  From my personal experience I can say that you will have to unwillingly do some other work to get your mind off this book for some time.  In contrast to the popular notion, this book was not as heart breaking as his earlier work but it did leave a very strong impact. It was more of a roller coaster journey having its ups and downs and finally reaching a static point. You are thrilled by the ride and yet you want to try it one more time. That’s Khaled Hosseini for you; He makes his readers hungry. His ingenuity and skill is what makes it worthy of being read.

 

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.”
  • “The finger cut, to save the hand.”
  • “It was the kind of love that, sooner or later, cornered you into a choice: either you tore free or you stayed and withstood its rigor even as it squeezed you into something smaller than yourself.”
  • “You say you felt a presence, but I only sensed an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like a patient who cannot tell the doctor where it hurts; only that it does.”

REVIEW : The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

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Author : Steig Larrson

Genre : Crime/Thriller/Mystery

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. The girl with Dragon Tattoo is one such thrilling novel.To be honest i was  awestruck after I  read this MILLENNIUM TRILOGY , a crime novel by the late author and journalist STEIG LARSSON (Also, now a popular movie) . The book is highly complex , engrossing and equally frustrating because every time one mystery is solved another just crops up and leaves you wondering and wanting for more. For those of you who are planning on reading this book , there’s one advice that i would like to give.  : DO NOT GET DISAPPOINTED after reading a few pages because this book does require a lot of patience for starters. I almost put this book down so many times due to  lengthy expositions and too many details about too many characters but, and this is a big BUT, once i finished reading 45% of the book , i simply couldn’t put this book down.

The story starts when Mikael Blomkvist, the editor of an investigative financial magazine called Millennium is found guilty of libel by a Swedish court for the article he published about a shady financier. The dense back story on Blomkvist’s predicament unfortunately slowed down the narrative to the point that I began to wonder whether the book may have been overhyped. But twenty pages into the novel when the intriguing Lisbeth Salander is introduced, the story takes off like a rocket.

Disgraced and derided by the Swedish press , Blomkvist takes a temporary leave of absence from Millennium.Out of work, he is hired (enticed actually) by Eric Vanger of the venerable Vanger Corp to investigate a cold case that happened thirty years before: the disappearance of sixteen-year-old Harriet Vanger, the likely heir to the Vanger fortune. Blomkvist accepts the job and searches for an assistant to help him with his research.

Enter punk-haired and severely underdeveloped Lisbeth Salander (yes, the girl with the dragon tattoo, among her other body art), a mistrustful, anti-social, and oft-violent twenty-five-year-old woman who has been declared mentally incompetent by the state and placed under guardianship of a state-appointed lawyer. What the government doesn’t know is that Salander is highly intelligent, a kind of wonder girl, who secretly works as an investigative researcher for the biggest security firm in Sweden. Through his unthreatening wiles, Blomkvist is able to earn Salander’s trust and the two of them embark on an investigative journey that uncovers a sinister Vanger family history that eventually endangers both their lives.

This novel describes the life of a very VERY special investigator agent.
She has no sort of past high school education but has the intellect and writing skills of anyone with post college education. The name, Lisbeth Salander. one of the most interesting characters brought to the written world. She is not your typical girl, she’s a lanky young adult with an edgy style impossible to not define from miles away. She comes across as someone who needs to be attended with help, but once you get passed all the judgement and her reasoning, you begin to connect and understand her life almost like a good friend. Not only does it discuss about Salander and her life, but it also incorporates the case she has been set to do. The best part about this book is that it connects her life and Salander’s past experience with her job so much. Definitely , A GIRL OF MANY THOUGHTS.

The story that unfolds is as dark and cold as Sweden itself, but will never, for one moment, bore or cease to surprise you. There is a lot of sex and violence, often combined in graphic prose. Even outside of the main plot, Salandar’s story is a dark, intriguing enigma in itself.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is highly recommended for the reader who likes smart, complex puzzles and unusual, complex characters. You won’t quickly forget Blomkvist or Salandar.I didn’t and i often think about these characters.

Luckily, we also have The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet’s Nest.