Who doesn’t like travelling? Who doesn’t like travelling in the greens? Who would refuse to have a peek in the World’s largest Delta? The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh explores the journey of a Bengali-American cetologist, Piyali Roy who embarks on a journey to conduct a research on the Orcaella Dolphins inhabiting the Sundarbans. On her way to Sundarbans, she comes across Kanai, a businessman who offers her to visit his place Lushibari and later becomes her translator. Along with Fokir, a native fisherman, Piyali traverses the forests, bãdhs, rivers, mohona, villages of the dazzling archipelago. It is a story painted and sparkled with adventure and history, separations and unseparations, happiness and unhappiness, told and untold truth, inevitability of life and death.
Will Piyali be successful in her research?
Is she going to leave the Sundarbans empty-handed?
Will this journey bring about a change in the lives of other characters as well?
You may write me down in history
With your bitter twisted lies
You may trod me in the very dust
But still like dust, I’ll rise
An epistolary novel which touches the hearts of its readers right from the first chapter is none other than The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Set in the Southern American territory crammed between the wars, it is a story of a young, black, poor girl Celie who is married by her father to an old man whose children from his first wife are as monstrous as him. Only one person has been important to her, her sister Nettie, who is untraceable. Throughout her life she considers to be submissive to all the demands of a society dominated by men, whites and religion. But as we know, nothing lasts forever, we change, our lives change.
Will Celie ever be able to meet Nettie again?
What is it that is going to change?
Who would help in bringing about this change?
It is a poignant tale eluding the themes of racism, sexism, submissiveness, love,confused sexuality, individuality which has won the Pulitzer Prize. It is written from the perspective of an illiterate girl who is unaware of the prejudices she has been subjected to. You will feel sad for the girl, your heart will ache when you read those words which bespeaks pain and suffering but no idea about why such suffering and pain has been hurled upon her. Alice Walker’s penmanship is beyond my appreciation, I stand nowhere to appreciate a writing as artful as this.
“There is so much we don’t understand. And so much unhappiness comes because of that.”
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
A book which brings back India’s most renowned epic Mahabharata in its subtlest and beautiful manner is none other than The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. For the first time Mahabharata is viewed from the eyes of a woman, the heroine which stirs the plot of the epic and traverses the paths of her life dominated and run by men.Each chapter carries a different meaning and the sentiments of Draupadi, also known as Panchaali. Each page elucidates how she felt about the events happening around her and with her, each word is going to touch your heart and arouse the feelings of sympathy, love for a character whose value has often been redundant in the original text.
With the use of simple yet meaningful language Banerjee has re-created the magnificence of the epic. A story of a girl born to a royal family and fated to have five husbands and be the cause of the Great War.
Will the prophecy take its course?
Honestly, prior knowledge of the epic is not mandatory. You may still be able to understand the story without any hesitation(I, myself, had little idea about this epic. In spite of having little understanding, I didn’t face any hassle). If you aren’t an Indian, you might face a little difficulty with the pronunciations of the characters’ names. However, that shouldn’t stop you from reading a book as great as this.
A book which startled people to such an extent that many countries took to ban its publication immediately. Yes, it is none other than Vladimir Nabokov‘s Lolita. A story of a writer Humbert Humbert who moves to America and comes across a young lass, Lolita(pronouned as LU-Lee-TA not LO-Lee-TA). He is drawn to her physically and will go to any extent to possess her and keep her to himself.
Would Lolita, a young girl, give herself to an old man who is of her father’s age?
Would Humbert be successful in his crime to destroy the life of a child?
What is the reason behind’s Humbert’s paedophilic nature?
It’s a book written from the perspective of a paedophile who is aware of his crime and not a victimised individual. Many believe it was originally written in Russian but it is not true as Nabokov had written this book in English. If one is familiar with French, it might be useful as a lot of french phrases have been used in the penmanship. However, it wouldn’t be a problem for people who aren’t aware of the french language as you’ll understand what he is trying to narrate( I do not know french, it wasn’t very problematic). Honestly, I liked Part 1 of the novel, Part 2 will bore you as it is crammed with unnecessary descriptions without slightest movement in the story.
I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art.
Very few classics makes you laugh through its narrative, very few books reflect the intricacies of a certain age group no matter in which period you read; such is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger. The story begins with a young lad, Holden Caulfield , briefing about his tedious, irritating hostel life. Finally, he decides on escaping from this diurnal boredom and envisages on a journey filled with adventure reflecting the myriad aspects of life.
Where shall he reach?
What shall become of him?
Whom shall he discover in the field of rye?
You would surely fall in love with the sarcastic narrative and the use of simple, everyday language. The images portrayed are stupendous and relevant to the context. Lastly, you would shut the book with a smile on your face and a sense of something new germinating within you.