Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reviews of two books by writer friends

This has been a long time coming, but here it is anyway.

I read two books by two writer friends recently.

"Tell a Thousand Lies" by Rasana Atreya.

Nominated for the "Tibor Jones South Asia prize,"  this novel tells us about Pullamma, a dark-skinned girl whose only dream is to get married and have a municipal water connection.  But fate has other things in store for her, as she becomes a pawn in a crooked politician's power games.

Filled with wit, and astute observations about life, this novel is quite unputdownable.  The characters are very well-etched, and I can imagine how difficult it must be to maintain the integrity of a character's identity through a full-length novel, but Rasana has done it.

I think the success of a novel depends on how well you identify and root for the protagonist, and how memorable the other characters are.  So considering all that, I would call this novel a success.

There are twists and turns at every point, and it can keep you turning the pages.  Sometimes you wonder whether such events can really happen, but yes, such things indeed do happen.

There were some parts which I felt was repetitive - especially during emotional scenes where a particular feeling was stressed and re-stressed.  But for all you know, that might very well be the reason it worked to engage the reader in the problems of the characters in the story.  I know how fine a balance it is, to get the right effect, and if you consider all that, then Rasana has done a good job.

Looking forward to her next books :)

"Leap in a Blue Moon" by Ishwar Vedam.

This is a children's book in which the author has woven a story about a girl who is learning about idioms, and then lands up in a place where idioms come to life.  If there is a woman with a green thumb, she really has a green thumb.  And the long arm of the law is really an all-seeing, great long arm which raps law-breakers (oh how I wish we had something like that in real life!)

I think it is a fabulous idea, great imagination too. The story itself is an exciting adventure, with a very satisfying conclusion.  The language is good, clear, but not affected - just right for everybody, not only kids.

The dreamlike quality of the story affected me - even after I stopped reading for a while in the middle, I would keep thinking about it while going about my work.

The negatives - I would have gone in for much tighter editing - I think the reading experience would have been nicer if the book had been a few pages smaller.  The dialogues - in some places I felt that it could have flown more naturally. 

But worth a read.  A good gift for a young friend.


austere said...

Cognrats Rasana and Ishwar...

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