Saturday, 17 November 2018

#BookReview ; The Man Who Saved India by Hindol Sengupta

Sardar Vallabhai Patel saved India. He illuminated Indian politics with pragmatic and sensible ideas of nation-building at a time when his contemporaries were unable or unwilling to shed the romantic lens. The very shape of India that we recognize today was stitched together by Patel, the Iron Man of India. The Man Who Saved India unravels the personality of one of the greatest men in Indian contemporary history.

The Man Who Saved India is a historical non-fiction book about Sardar Patel written by Hindol Sengupta & published by Penguin Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The author has written 8 books & has won several prestigious awards for them. He has been a journalist at the Indian editions of Fortune Magazine, Bloomberg TV, CNBC & CNN. He is editor-at-large for Fortune India.

The story obviously revolves around Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India. The book is divided into 11 chapters, each chapter depicting a different aspect of Sardar’s life. The chapters are preceded by an introduction where the author sets up the tone for the book. Unfortunately in India we don’t get to know about our freedom fighters a lot, except some prominent names like Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, etc & precisely for that same reason this book is indeed a necessary addition to the Indian literature. Do get this book to know about a personality without whom the idea of India is incomplete,
When India got independent it was indeed a different time, with so many different religions & ethnicities it was quite obvious that there will be some conflict added to that was partition which divided the country into two. The second most prominent problem for independent India was the existence of so many princely states, it was Sardar who took the charge of their integration & as we know that he indeed did it using his diplomatic tactics & when necessary some force. I believe this book is a tribute to that great man, someone who just wanted to work for the country but wasn’t interested in gaining any kind of fame. The language used is as simple as it could be, the cover & title are on point too. Though I think there could’ve been some trimming in some parts to reduce the size of the book. A must have well researched book. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

#BookReview ; A Horse Walks Into A Bar by David Grossman

The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian falling apart on stage; an act of disintegration, a man crumbling, as a matter of choice, before their eyes. They could get up and leave, or boo and whistle and drive him from the stage, if they were not so drawn to glimpse his personal hell. Dovaleh G, a veteran stand-up comic – charming, erratic, repellent – exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.
A Horse Walks into a Bar is a shocking and breathtaking read. Betrayals between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt demanding redress. Flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovaleh G provokes both revulsion and empathy from an audience that doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry – and all this in the presence of a former childhood friend who is trying to understand why he’s been summoned to this performance.

A Horse Walks Into A Bar is a translated book written originally in Hebrew by David Grossman & translated into English by Jessica Cohen & published by Random House. He is a bestselling author whose books have been translated in 36 languages.  He is the recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the 2010 Frankfurt Peace Prize.

The story revolves around a middle aged standup comedian Dovaleh Greenstein who is performing at a club in Netanya where he had invited (or pleaded) his childhood friend, a retired judge Avishai Lazar who is also the narrator of this book to come and attend his show. The standup piece starts like any other with its highs and lows, he engages the audience and keeps them interested which shows his experience but as the performance proceeds, there’s definitely something different about some of the ‘jokes’ he makes which actually leaves the audience perplexed as to whether laugh on them or not. As Dovaleh slowly unravels his true self on the stage and the trauma he had endured, it leaves people dumbfounded. Get this book here,
I had read in an article that most of the stand up comics have experienced some kind of trauma or are depressed themselves and reading the blurb I had made up my mind that this story also would wander around the same topic & the famous quote “the show must go on” but I was wrong, its much more than that. The plot starts slow & drags itself further to the point that I lost the will to read it any further but as it had been awarded the Man Booker International Award my curiosity helped me complete this book. The book picks up its pace quite slowly but when it does, the story ultimately shakes you to the core. Even though I understand this style of writing but I have never been a fan of dragging the story. I definitely won’t miss commending the translator for doing such an amazing job. A story of pain, loss & turmoil. Surely should be read.