Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has been getting mixed reviews. And there are some reviews where the author is blasted, but doesn’t look like the reviewer has read the book. With the plethora of reviews giving all the details of the plot, characters, editing, fiction, non-fiction, anger, nothing much is left to imagination.
I had read The God of Small Things (GOST) atleast a decade ago and I had forgotten how good Arundhati Roy, the writer is. I was reading an excerpt of her story in the book ‘Where the Rain is Born’ and am amazed at her use of words. She paints a vivid picture with her minimal words. I think I should read this book again. But here are a few lines for you to sample and decide on. She writes so beautifully, I have put in multiple lines. It was difficult for me to choose the best lines. Continue reading
A non-fiction book is perceived as boring, just facts explained in a dry manner. So, I was not sure what I had signed for when I agreed to review ‘Kissing the Demons’ by Amrita Kumar. It is a self help book for Creative Writing. Its directly mentioned in the tagline as ‘The Creative Writer’s Handbook’. It pulled me in with its first two lines. I instinctively knew I would love this book. Here are it’s first two lines.
Among all the miseries heaped upon my generation was a fat squat book with a shiny red faux leather cover titled High School English Grammar and Composition. It was the stuff of nightmares and it was authored by two men, Wren and Martin, who for some inexplicable reason I imagined as Laurel and Hardy with bowler hats and walking sticks.
During my school days, I did not own one while our English teacher used to spew the virtues of the book. I borrowed it for a few days from a friend to understand what it is. A decade or so later, as soon as my son reached school, I promptly bought a Wren and Martin for him. Alas! it laid there unused for years till I gave it away to another child.
Women have always pulled down other women. Personally, never seen men do such things. The world would have been a much different place if we were more united and supportive of each other.
The lines below are from the book ‘Pyre’ from one of my favourite authors, Perumal Murugan. The hero, Kumaresan elopes with Saroja and has an inter-caste marriage. A newly married couple full of dreams and love go to live in Kumaresan’s village. But Kumaresan’s old mother Marayi is not happy about it. First, it is an inter-caste marriage, second she is from a city and doesn’t understand village life of farming and third, there was no dowry. Marayi feels Saroja is as useless as a pretty picture hanging on a wall. She is just good to look at.
One of the visiting women gossiped, ‘As soon as he got a wife, he made an enclosure for her to bathe in. All these days, he had a mother. She never got a private spot like this.’
‘Can a mother and wife ever be equal?’ retorted another woman.
The book is translated from Tamil (Tamizh) by Aniruddhan Vasudevan. He had also translated Perumal’s award-winning book Madhurobaagaan into English. Perumal’s writing is rich with regional accents and simple in its narration but complex in highlighting the nuances of mundane lives. Have you read his books?
Here’s an excellent way to show how ruthless a character is. These words are said by one of the craziest characters in the book known as Mad Dog. He is a drug dealer. And he is saying these to his best friend who he is “recruiting” into the “business”. The book is ‘On the Run’ by Izai Amorim.
“It’s not personal. I like you. But business is business. You should know two things. One, I won’t take a bullet for you. Two, I won’t let you fuck up my business.’