Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Immersive, fascinating and heart-riveting; Sarah Moss successfully ticks off all three boxes in her 150 paged compact book.

It is a story of a family of three and a group of archaeological students who are on an Iron Age re-enactment trip to Northumberland. Reading about the woods and the camp feels quite atmospheric but gives you the dreads when you read about Sophie’s dad and the actions he pulls out on his wife and daughter, the extent he is willing to go for the sake of the field trip. In the undercurrent of the Iron Age, the book talks about domestic abuse, feminist mindset and British Politics.

I don’t know how best to describe a book which is so complete in itself, tight knit and yet giving us such important points to think of. Interesting food for thought I’d say. For a tiny little book this is, it is powerful, sharp and elegant. It made me fall in love with it over days of pondering over. I knew I had liked it but the intensity of how much and why came clearly later. Moss’s writing style is peculiar with no direct dialogues between characters. She knows how to hit the bulls eye with her insightful and tense way around words. Plot driven with strong characters, the only option left for you is to hurtle along and let out a sigh of relief at the end.

I straightaway recommend this one because no amount of words can describe the magnanimity of this power packed bomb. Pick it up to discover it yourself.

My rating:

Friday, 21 June 2019

My Sister,the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I had jumped on to this book with great interest because obviously- @womensprize shortlistee, gaining so much hype and a very intriguing title; it had everything which is required to pull a reader towards it. But, I was not spell bound particularly and there were little things which contributed to my underwhelming experience.

Ayoola, the younger sister is a serial killer and Korede, the elder one who is a nurse does up all the cleaning after.While I loved how there were emotions, which we rarely find in a mystery thriller I thought the plot lost track focussing on irrelevant details rather than the main story. While I liked the sibling love, both of them having each other’s back it made me furious how it was always Korede who was the scapegoat and the morally wrong Ayoola got away every time and with everything she wanted which ticked me off. While I liked how it combined the crime fiction and simultaneously dealt with feminism,sexism and misogynistic attitude, I wanted more details and insights into the killings, the sole history of the knife and its possession didn’t work for me. And lastly, while I do understand what must have made it secure a position in the women’s prize shortlist I still truly felt that there are more worthy crime fiction novels out there.

I’d still recommend this one because it does have some unusual elements which are not found in crime fiction books.This review could count in the #unpopularopinion because it didn’t make me go “wow” and I was ripped off the “edge of the seat” thrill.

My rating:

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The House of Clay and Water- Faiqa Mansab

You know how there are songs which easily become ear worms? The House of clay and water felt like that song which hasn’t left my mind yet and I keep revisiting its chords and beats. Faiqa Mansab writes about love with such poignance, leaving you content and unsatisfied at the same time. Never had I imagined the extent of
love so much and so deep.

The story is primarily about three people-Nida,Sasha and Bhaangi; two women and a hijra(hermaphrodite) who seek love in their own different ways.Nida through spirit, Sasha through body and Bhaangi through God. Reading about these characters gave me a heart ache and all the while I was rooting for them, for something hopeful to happen next. Nida’s pain of mourning her daughter in a distressing marriage, Bhaangi’s constant calls to God to answer his questions about his identity and Sasha’s rebellious nature, a daughter Zoya craving for love and attention from her mother, all this and more was heartbreaking and yet so beautifully written. A sublime combination.

The prose is lyrical with philosophical reflections throughout. It is impressive to see our protagonists shake the foundation and break the rules set by the society and bask in the definition of love which is not authorised. It talks of how a patriarchal system can ruin lives and what it costs to break the shackles and revolt,even if it is for love. It shows how as a society we cannot be accommodating enough,accepting some people and leaving the rest to suffer. A very commendable debut from the author, written with so much poise and skill, one can only be in awe of it. The text is so immersive you only wish there were a few more pages to devour.

Simply beautiful. Must read.

My rating:


Saturday, 15 June 2019

The Moment of Lift-Melinda Gates

It is always said-when you empower a women you empower a society. Do we really see this happening? At times we do when we come across examples where women work as allies and uplift each other for betterment, but to the several incidents of oppression, abuse and harassments we can never turn a blind eye, how much we try. The recent rave being the abortion debate which took flight sometime back.The Moment of lift by Melinda Gates is that ray of hope towards lifting women in the society and aiming for it to be more progressive for women and children, so the girl child doesn’t have to go through what her mother’s plight was, once upon a time.

Reading about Melinda’s personal experiences and stories from her home, her workplace or her struggle with creating a work environment for female colleagues which they deserved was enlightening. The book is brimmed with the philanthropy and social causes their foundation has looked upon and succeeded in materialising. A lot of them were so shocking to know.The stories from India and the work done here caught my special attention and it simply surprised me. I was so unaware of it until I read this book.

You can almost mirror yourself when Melinda talks about how gender equality starts first at home, her decisions with her pregnancy because it is “her” right over her body first, how we shy away but eventually must come out of the shadow of our spouse and her musings over her professional journey as an individual,as a woman. These were the sparks which ignited the motives and actions their foundation eventually took around the globe to break the walls surrounding women and helped them take their first step towards empowerment primarily giving them charge over their own body.

If you are ever in a mood to read about positive construction of world for women, lift this book up.

My rating:

Thank you to the publisher- Panmacmillan for the review copy. #gifted

Friday, 14 June 2019

Things I don’t want to know-Deborah Levy

Deborah Levy had me floored with her first of the three part memoir in writing and womanhood. The more I say,the less it would mean.I found myself flipping back to my favourite parts once I had finished the book,they were so impactful. It is incredibly well written.Levy’s word play was what I enjoyed the most.It passed across a powerful message leaving the reader astounded with her capability to keep her content light and fierce at the same time.

This little work of perfection(for me) is said to be the response to George Orwell’s “Why I write”,a 1946 essay.Levy picks her chapter headings from Orwell’s book which he says are categories of writing and are found in varying degrees amongst writers.She elaborates on them in her own magnificent way.While Orwell’s style is more serious and piercing her’s pierces us in a more joyous manner.This mini-memoir or essay by Levy oscillates between three countries-Majorca,South Africa and England.She talks about voicing out,her depression(without naming it),feminism and writing as a whole with such ease, gravity and entertainment,together.Not only do I recommend this to budding writers but to everyone who have a knack for good prose and insightfulness. Reading “Why I write” would prove to be only better before picking up Levy but this blue book sure is a powerful standalone. Reading both would just enhance your perspective towards both these stupendous writers. Re-iterating,this one just left me amazed by the propensity of words, writing, style, content and motive.

Putting down the last para from the book which I loved and she nails:

“That spring in Majorca, when life was hard and I simply could not see where there was to get to,it occurred to me that where I had to get to was the socket.Even more useful to a writer than a room of her own is an extension lead and a variety of adaptors for Europe,Asia and Africa.”

It had all the things I wanted to know about my new found favourite author. Whole heartedly recommend. I am reading the “yellow” part of the memoir- "Cost of Living" soon.

My rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5(generous 5! Hah!)

Goa- A new revelation. All credits to this dainty place- Literati Bookshop Café   The ceiling-high bookshelves I was in Goa last m...