Saturday, March 14, 2009

The tiger, The duality, The waves, The murder

This March, I am determined to finish reading seven books, having nothing else, or almost nothing else to do!

So, after reading 'The Kite Runner', I began with 'The White Tiger', written by Aravind Adiga and winner of last year's Man Booker Prize. Its about how Balram Halwai, a rickshaw-puller's son from a remote village of India, climbs the ladder of success. But,this success is not the kind of one which we watch in most movies or what we dream of. This success is entirely propelled by corruption, both of the Indian political system as well as of Balram himself. In fact, its the miserable political situation around Balram that makes him corrupted. Balram narrates his story in a letter to a Chinese Premier , who is supposed to be visiting India shortly. He tells the Premier that whatever information about India's democracy will be given to him by the Indian Prime Minister by means of a booklet during his visit, is not true. The ways in which certain magazines tell us how to become an entrepreneur in seven days, are actually not going to bring success.Balram knows India's "democracy" and he also knows how to become an entrepreneur in seven days, but through totally different means. So, over a period of seven nights, Balram tells the Premier how he became an entrepreneur in Bangalore. With every passing night, we slowly proceed from Balram's backward village life to his life as a driver in the village to his life as a driver in the capital city of Delhi and finally as an entrepreneur in the technological hub of Bangalore. The idea of the author to present him as a driver is very good because that's how Balram easily gets to know all the places where his employer goes and the kind of people he meets. He observes the city and its people very well and gets to know more from the other old drivers.

The way the author presents the story is , I think , his greatest achievement .A lot can be written about Inida's corruption and the futility of democracy if the people are illiterate.Among such writings, only those can be hailed as good which have something new in them. In the case of 'The White Tiger', that novelty lies in its presentation. But, its has its follies and of them is that the suspense of the story is lost at a much earlier stage because of Balram's confession of what he did eight months later. As he confessed his crime so early during those seven nights, the drama leading up to his crime didn't seem so interesting and the things depicting his inner conflict became bland. But, this crime is the most important incident of the novel and because of a fault in its narration, I did doubt whether the novel was worthy of the Booker Prize or not.

The other stories which I finished reading during the past week are 'The Strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde' and 'The Merry Men' by R.L.Stevenson. The first one is, of course, brilliant and the second one is not bad either. Everyone knows all about the first one. The second one deals with the adventures of a man on a dangerous islet while trying to find a treasure which had been present inside a ship that had been wrecked by the sea waves near the islet. These destructive sea waves are themselves 'the Merry Men' and they can rise to a height of fifty metres. Though the story is mostly dominated by long descriptions of the islet,the waves and the situation around each time the man goes to find the treasure, its pretty engaging.

Besides these, I also read 'Murder on the Orient Express' by Agatha Christie . Now, this is only the first time that I read one of Christie's works and I am afraid I didn't like it much. The story was very good and everything was in order but the ending was so poor. It lacked that final magical touch of a Sherlock Holmes story where all the clues and all the facts fit so wonderfully into one another. Somehow, Hercule Poirot didn't impress me as much as Sherlock Holmes.But, I am sure that Christie's other works are better than this , otherwise she would not have been such a popular author. So, I intend to read more of her books in future.


Sujoy Bhattacharjee said...

Interesting post title and choice of books. It is funny really that there are few people who like both Agatha Christie and A.C Doyle.

Exams over I presume :)

B. O'Hemian said...

Interesting that you didn't like "Murder on the Orient Express". I am afraid, it is one of the best of Hercule Poirot! Maybe you should try "Death on the Nile" or "Evil under the Sun".

SPIRITed! said...

I shall march to Crossword AS SOON as my boards end. Yesh.

~ Deeps ~ said...

good title....well orient express is one of the best of hercule poirot.......keep reading :)

Dhrubo said...

Christie Christie all the way. Read some Marple and see if you like it.

newsgroups said...

I am afraid I never will like adult books. During my teenager-years I could not make the jump and, although I have tried several times again over the years, they still don’t appeal to me. I guess, I am stuck at Enid Blyton.
So, I cannot say much when it comes to adult books. But I *can* say something about Christie:
Among the Blyton-fans the books of Christie are considered as the adult-variant of Blyton’s Mystery-series (Fatty and co.). And some Blyton fans are also fans of Christie. So I think that when you have liked the Fatty-books, you also might like Christie books.
So I think it’s good that you will give it more chances.
Oh, please don’t throw my own point back to me, advising me to try start reading adult books with Christie! :-)

Butterfly said...

I can't say right now that I actually like all A.C.Doyle's works and hate all of Agatha Christie's because I have read only this one by Christie.

Yeah, exams are over and results are out too. New session begins next Monday. :-)

Alright, next time, I'll buy these books suggested by you.:-)

Of course, you should march!

Hmmm...lokks like Orient Express is a popular book. Anyway, I didn't like it. But, as I said, I'll try more books by Christie.:-)

Marple? Well,ok!:-)

Don't worry. I am not going to throw your point back at you. As you like reading, I think you should read only those books which you like, whether they are "adult" or "children" books.:-)

newsgroups said...

Hi Butterfly!
How were your exam-results?
Good luck in the new school-year!

Woodsmoke said...

I cannot believe I didn't see this post earlier. Well-written of course. Now my two-bit.

White Tiger falls under the category of literary fiction wherein books such as those by Christie come under what is called trade publishing. While in the first the craft of writing the book, it's language, etc. are of importance, in the second, it is the plot. So while it is a perfectly fair assessment on your part as a reader that Adiga shouldn't have revealed the plot, in a book like his, the crime is not the main point that he is making. That's what sets him apart from books of trade publishing that follow a formulaic arc: introduction of characters, rising action, point of crisis, then resolution. Their language is predictable whereas in works such as Adiga's, words are far more polished and often, they might serve greater purpose than what seems evident at first glance.

Finally, congratulations on your brilliant result yet again. You continue to make all of us so so so proud.

Love and ping ping,