Archive for the ‘India-Pakistan’ Category
Above All Things is the story of George Mallory’s third and final attempt to conquer Mount Everest. I am no mountain climber but those who climb and “conquer” mountains have always fascinated me as does the process these mountaineers undergo to make a successful climb. Years ago I read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, and then Simon Mawer’s The Fall and I was hooked. To me, Everest has always been the “Big One.” Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, its peak rising more than 29,000 feet. Back in the early 20th century it was a mountain that had defeated and/or killed all who attempted to scale her. Mallory and his team had made two attempts and failed. Unfortunately, today more than 3,500 people have successfully climbed the 29,029 ft. mountain and more than a tenth of that number scaled the peak just over the past year. On one day alone in 2012, 234 climbers reached the peak, (a bit crowded)….leaving their “junk” all over the mountain….
January 6, 2014
¬∑ Judi Clark ¬∑ No Comments
Tags: 1920s, Adventure, Real Event Fiction, Real People Fiction ¬∑ Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, India-Pakistan, Literary, Reading Guide, World Lit
When does the heartfelt convictions of one solitary man negate the jointly held consensus of the rest of any civic society?
That is the question posed at the center of Aravind Adiga‚Äôs audacious new novel, an impressive and propulsive examination of the struggle for a slice of prime Mumbai real estate. It is a worthy follow-up to Adiga‚Äôs Booker Prize novel, WHITE TIGER, as he goes back to the well to explore the changing face of a rapidly growing India.
The core of this exotic fusion of mainstream and literary fiction is defined by the eponymous title– displacement, exclusion, alienation, and even expulsion. The exquisite, poetic first chapter thrusts the reader immediately into a remote setting in Kathmandu 2006, where American cardiologist, Peter Scanlon and his seventeen-year-old daughter, Alex, face a guerilla death squad in the Himalayas. The reader is instantly spellbound with the story, where survival and danger coalesce in a taut, tense thriller that examines contrasts in exile: spirituality within human suffering, inner peace outside of war, and prosperity beyond pestilence.
The title of this book alone drew me in; that and I‚Äôm partial to books about India. This is a fine book on many levels and I was not disappointed. It‚Äôs a multigenerational novel, a great love story, a cross-cultural learning experience, and a book about yearning, hope, loss, money and betrayal. It captures the big themes of life and does a great job of keeping the reader turning the pages.
The story starts out in 1907 when Amulya takes his family from Calcutta to Songarh, a small town on the edge of the jungle. He has a wife and two grown sons, along with one daughter-in law. He builds a house in the middle of nowhere. There are no other houses nearby except for one belonging to an English couple across the street. There is dirt, mud, the screech of monkies and not much else. Kananbala, Amulya‚Äôs wife, gradually loses her sanity from the loneliness and utters irrelevant profanities at the oddest times. Amulya confines Kananbala to her room so as to avoid embarrassment. There she languishes, for the most part alone and lonely. She takes to watching the comings and goings of the English couple across the street and is witness to a murder. Her interpretation of what she sees has a fascinating outcome.
The amazingly versatile Gruber has done it again, filling us armchair adventurers with knowledge as well as thrills and making the outlandish plausible.
This time he leaves behind themes of previous books ‚Äď the diabolical intricacies of the art world (The Forgery of Venus), Shakespearean intrigue (The Book of Air and Shadows), Cuban Santeria (The Jimmy Paz trilogy) – to take on the intrigues of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Before you start groaning, let me say that those who find the whole muddle a hopeless quagmire will gain greater understanding and those who prefer their political thrillers in black and white should look elsewhere.
Manu Joseph‚Äôs debut book is seriously good ‚Äď a wickedly funny, surprisingly warm and stunningly stylish satire that strikes its target over and over again, taking the reader along for a rollicking ride.
The book SERIOUS MEN introduces us to two equally willful men with runaway egos: Arvind Acharya, a bigger-than-life astrophysicist at the prestigious Institute of Theory and Research, a would-be Nobel candidate who is rumored to have been banned from the Vatican for whispering something untoward in the pope‚Äôs ear. The other is his personal assistant, Ayyan Mani, a Dalit (or ‚Äúuntouchable‚ÄĚ) who is ‚Äúsmarter than the average bear‚ÄĚ (in this case, the average Dalit) with an IQ of 148.