Loner (ARC) By Teddy Wayne Review

Disclaimer: I received my DRM protected copy from Netgalley for free of cost in exchange of an honest review so here it is as promised.

Format of review:

  1.  Thoughts
  2. Who I would recommend it to
  3. Product details (Amazon)

 

Image result for Loner Teddy wayne cover

David Alan Federman has Athazagoraphobia: he fears that he will be forgotten. So introverted was he that upon hearing that he was the sole Harvard bound student from the class, his peers were caught by surprise.

It is important to note that his classmates were not taken aback because he wasn’t academically gifted, rather it was since he never expressed himself to an extent which allowed his peers to evaluate his traits fully.

To paint a picture of his mind, one would only need to take a look at his University Application that was unconventially titled “SDRAWKCAB” which is backwards but only  spelled backwards!

In his mind, it is possible to view the world through a linguistic mirror and challenge fundamental assumptions about the nature of things by asking questions like “why is it an apple and not elppa?”

Unfortunately, the friendship, appreciation, and social status that David was craving for all throughout his highschool life and assumed he would have in Harvard were not readily made available to him in his freshman year of University.

As a result, much of the novel revolves around how he struggles to cope with that identity vacuum which the reader is made aware of previously when David tells us how his yearbook picture for senior year had the caption “Ambition: Fill in later”.

Steven Zenger David’s gregarious roommate who is passionate about Physics helps us realize how David isn’t particularly enthused about any major at the time of enrollment and that he hasn’t set out an academic plan for himself to abide by which adds a touch of uncertainty to the whole experience.

Furthermore, when David tries to interact with two athletic individuals -who are at Harvard for sports- during orientation and fails to impress them with his linguistic mirroring of names both he and the reader realize that some social hierarchies remain regardless of whether it is secondary or tertiary education.

Having said that, one of the most intriguing aspects of the narration is how the Point of view switches/focalization from first person to second person in an unreliable manner whenever David wishes to describe Veronica Morgan Wells -the girl he wishes to court- to the audience.

VMW (Notice how V can be mirrored or inverted to look like M or W) as we can call her in short can do no wrong in the eyes of David who sees in her all the qualities he would love to have and as such she is his gateway into the coveted world of socialites.

To achieve just this, he takes it upon himself to win the affections of Sara who is none other than VMW’s room mate just so he can be closer to VMW. In a way, he gives up a prospective perfectly good life with Sara just so he can check the boxes and rise up the ranks with VMW,  something which is telling of his need to feel accepted in the highest stratum of society.

However, just like David, VMW harbors secrets of her own, and while the novel chronicles the downward spiral of David’s moral fiber it does also evoke a sense of empathy if not shred of pity for the final “reversal and recognition” that occurs.

Put bluntly, Loner is about obsession. Obsession with credentials, social validation, power, and class which all manifest in a person. This is one boy’s arduous journey to find himself or what’s left of it by the end of the process and just how much he is willing to manipulate others to get there.

In retrospect it is painful to watch on as David naively hopes that somewhere in the core of her being VMW is just like him in the sense that  despite appearances both share an inner loneliness of unfathomable magnitude in spite of differences in class and social circles. Being comfortable with our core misery is a form of happiness but David fails to do that as he reaches out for the stars and grabs intangible light which he cannot hold on to.

In the same vein, while on the topic of “personhood” at which point do we surrender our right to moral consideration from a moral community? The readers will face this question as David’s manipulative behavior makes it increasingly difficult to empathize with him when he in turn is given a taste of his own medicine.

With that in mind, the 244 page read is immersive and does describe the Harvard experience well and helps us suspend disbelief through SAT-tier diction which is concomitant of a SAT toppers mind.

That aside, Loner makes us introspect and reflect on how man the “social animal” can move away from an intersubjective state only to be deadlocked in solipsism where the only pain that exists is our own… something that stops us from empathizing with others and understanding them… something David struggles with and perhaps the center of his woes!

Is David irredeemable? Did he attend Harvard for all the wrong reasons? Is blaming the institute and not the society that makes it possible for such instances to occur the right thing to do? Your answers can be found in the book and I recommend you to find them in your own way.

My review: 4/5

Pros:

  • Fantastic diction befitting of a Harvard student
  • Part of being a writer is knowing what to leave out and Ted does this excellently
  • Compelling protagonist who reacts to alienation in a way that is unforgettable
  • Makes us question whether our beings are inherently social or not
  • class distinctions and gender politics were brought up

Cons:

  • To many he may fail to evoke pity or fear instead disgusting them
  • It’s not easy to walk in David’s shoes, at best we can wear only one
  • “You” is lost on readers if they don’t pay close attention to it
  • He strikes us as the kind of guy who we wouldn’t feel to excited to be friends with

I would recommend this book to:

People who feel like they need to be in particular social circles to fulfill their esteem needs and eventually reach self actualization. I also recommend you read about honne and tatamae.

Image result for honne tatemae

If being part of a circle doesn’t feel natural to you, ask yourself why that is. Don’t  be afraid to be yourself by yourself without any externalities like peer pressure weighing down on you!

We don’t choose our race, class, religion, blood group, hair colour, e.t.c upon birth… but we can choose who to surround ourselves with … being happy is an inward power of the soul 🙂

Product Details(Amazon):

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 13, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1501107895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501107894
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounce

 

ARC Review (NetGalley): The Yin & Yang Of Climate Crisis

 

Review:

Brendan Kelly goes beyond the typical notion of climate change and synthesizes Chinese Medicine with Planetary well being which is ground breaking to say the least.

Being a debater I’ve often had to face motions related to the environment and had difficulty during cross-currents, but never in my life have I read a book that adds so many layers and dimensions of thought to the concept, its nuance is beyond words.

For those who are passionate about personal health, as well as climate change this book has a transformative potential like no other!

I don’t only give it 5 stars, it deserves 5 supernovas for its illuminating nature.

Synopses(Amazon)

The first book to marry western environmentalism with Chinese medicine, The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis illustrates the many ways that our personal well-being and climate health are vitally connected. Brendan Kelly demonstrates that crises such as melting ice caps, dying forests, and devastating floods are symptoms of deeper issues, both within us as individuals and within our culture. Informed by Kelly’s experience as a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, this passionate discussion reveals that the current life-threatening severity of climate change speaks to the level of imbalance that exists in the people and institutions responsible for the crisis. Considering issues such as loss of life from increasingly severe storms, stress on farmers from rapidly changing weather, and increasing rates of disease, this book goes on to present hopeful, deep-reaching personal and societal remedies to treat the underlying causes of climate change and to restore our own health.

The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis blends the external focus of environmentalism–western science, policy issues, regulations–with the internal focus of Chinese medicine–personal health, balancing Qi, diet–to present a holistic view of our interrelationship with the planet. Kelly provides a deeper look at how we’ve gotten to this place of climate destabilization and ways to treat both the symptoms and their root causes. Looking through the lens of Chinese medicine, we are better able to understand that the severity of climate destabilization speaks to deeper philosophical and spiritual issues and provides an opportunity to address our own personal and collective imbalances. With his unique perspective and far-reaching perceptions, Kelly encourages us to translate the reality of our warming planet into an opportunity to ask bigger and deeper questions, including who we are, what we’re here to do, and what promotes health and healing.

Product Details (Amazon):

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583949518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583949511
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces

ARC (NetGalley) Review: I Saw An Invisible Lion Today

 

Description:

Quatrain? What kind of train is that? Actually, it’s a poem! Quatrains are poems with patterns of rhyming words. Award-winning author Brian P. Cleary explains how quatrains work—and shows some of the many ways they can be written.

I Saw an Invisible Lion Today is packed with poems on subjects ranging from grandmothers to muzaloos to make you giggle and howl. And when you’ve finished reading, you can try your hand at writing your own poems!

Product Details (Amazon):

 

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Series: Poetry Adventures
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467797316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467797313
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces

 

Review:

Whether or not the Invisible Lion in question is Aslan remains unknown, however, what I do know is that this anthology is clear cut and precise which makes it easy to fathom for children who have not been introduced to the poetic form known as Quatrains.

Not only does Brian P. Cleary clearly illustrate what a Quatrain is, he explores this concept by demonstrating it through various Quatrains of his own making which have different rhyme schemes such as ABCB, AABB, and ABAB. Moreover, he goes as far as to mention that Quatrains can be standalone stanzas or an entire poem in itself.

Furthermore, the contents of this collection of assorted poems are brought to life owing to the adept hand of the illustrator Richard Watson.  I couldn’t think of a better way to broach Quatrains to a layman.

Not to mention, at the conclusion of the book, Brian leaves lots of helpful references to further explore the subject matter and develop a knack for it. I do imagine this will be a helpful handbook in a classroom setting for those charting waters in Quatrains for the first time at an early age.

With this in mind, I do highly recommend this anthology to those in search of an anthology which will serve the dual role of teacher and text.

Rating:

Justification: Ideal for the target audience.

ARC (NetGalley) Review: Leave This Song Behind

 

Description: 

 It’s been 10 years since the last book in the Teen Ink series Written in the Dirt was published. Now, a whole new batch of teen writers has emerged with their own unique voices. Leave This Song Behind features the best poetry submitted by those writers to Teen Ink over the last five years.

The pieces in this book were chosen because they were so powerful that they stood out from the rest. Teen Ink editors took a deep look into each poem’s strengths then divided Leave This Song Behind into seven sections based on the poetic techniques or qualities that moved them most. Vivid sensory details made some poems shine; others caught their attention with simple, sparse language. Still others were chosen because of their thoughtful use of form; compelling stories; strong figurative language; unexpected connections and wit; and fresh writing about familiar topics.

Dig in and let these brave young voices capture your heart and mind with their passion, their pain, and their amazing poetry!

Product Details (Amazon): 

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (April 26, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757318967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757318962
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces

 

Review:

‘Leave This Song Behind’ is an inspired anthology containing at its heart an impressively diverse spectrum of poems. I’d go as far as to wager that there’s something in it for everyone.

For me ‘Write What You Know’ and ‘Fractions’ struck a chord. I could immediately identify with the poetic persona of ‘Write What You Know’ because I too have been struggling for the last year or so with my Pure Mathematics & Statistics class. To put it simply: Mathematics is not my strong suit. I’ve invested countless hours day in day out, week after week, and still flunked the class. As you can imagine the reaction from my academic supervisor and peers was all but understanding, as a result of which their image of me has diminished greatly.

Be that as it may, the academic year as a whole has been fulfilling. I’ve gained ground in debating, Model UN, as well as power point presentations to say nothing of how much I’ve improved in interpersonal relations. As a whole the poem sends the message ‘Stick to what you’re good at and don’t dwell on the things you can’t do’ which is advice that can be appreciated by people of all ages.

With this in mind, when one feels like the poetic persona of ‘Fractions’ that is to say “One third of a person” at 3 AM in the night, the positive mindset embodied within ‘Write What You Know’ can be of use.

In a word, it will be hard to “Leave This Song Behind” as it has had an impact on me that is rather difficult to put into words, but it is always a nice feeling to see the youth invigorated and given an opportunity to voice themselves.

Rating:

 

ARC Review (NetGalley): The Path

 

Synopses

For the first time an award-winning Harvard professor shares his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today.

Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard?

It’s because the course challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish. This is why Professor Michael Puett says to his students, “The encounter with these ideas will change your life.” As one of them told his collaborator, author Christine Gross-Loh, “You can open yourself up to possibilities you never imagined were even possible.”

These astonishing teachings emerged two thousand years ago through the work of a succession of Chinese scholars exploring how humans can improve themselves and their society. And what are these counterintuitive ideas? Good relationships come not from being sincere and authentic, but from the rituals we perform within them. Influence comes not from wielding power but from holding back. Excellence comes from what we choose to do, not our natural abilities. A good life emerges not from planning it out, but through training ourselves to respond well to small moments. Transformation comes not from looking within for a true self, but from creating conditions that produce new possibilities.

In other words, The Path upends everything we are told about how to lead a good life. Above all, unlike most books on the subject, its most radical idea is that there is no path to follow in the first place—just a journey we create anew at every moment by seeing and doing things differently.

Sometimes voices from the past can offer possibilities for thinking afresh about the future.

A note from the publisher:
To read relevant passages from the original works of Chinese philosophy, see our free ebookConfucius, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi: Selected Passages, available on Kindle, Nook, and the iBook Store and at Books.SimonandSchuster.com.

Product Details (Amazon):

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476777837
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476777832
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

Review:

Life is what happens to us while we are busy making other plans. It’s all very easy to be caught up in formulating plans to actually realize that we may be trapped in our way of thinking. Michael Puett’s The Path is nothing short of an revelation that turned my perception of what it means to live a good life on its head.

Do we not, after all, fall into patterns of behavior that are repeated throughout our lives? Do we not allow labels or what we make of ourselves at a particular point in time to limit our capability to be so much more? Should we in fact seek out who we “really” are based on an arbitrary assumption that there is a true self and that we cannot change that inner self? The answers to these questions and more are answered in the book.

I speak from experience when I say that I have often been labelled as “temperamental”. Fortunately, I knew that just because I exhibited such traits during one phase of my life did not necessitate that I would remain as such throughout the entirety of my existence.

In the same vein, ‘The Path’ outlines how we are susceptible to be content with who we see ourselves as, consequently stagnating our personalities which stop positive change from occurring.

Additionally, the importance of rituals and role playing which enable us to explore other sides of our multi faceted personalities as well as how that can improve our character is broached in ‘The Path’.

Be that as it may, ‘The Path’ also explores the nature of the world. Have we become complacent? Is the world Capricious? Through the works of Mencius, and Confucius these questions are addressed. What is more, Lao Tzu along with his contemporaries which include Mozi are also broached.

 For readers of the poet Robert Frost, this is a “Path” that would genuinely make all the difference so seize the opportunity and give it a read seeing that it will help broaden the way you perceive everything from your day to day interactions with others to what it truly means to hone one’s emotional responses so as to bring out the best in oneself as well as others.

Rating:

At best you’ll be much more perceptive of the way things work… at worst you’ll be much better at interacting with others in various social settings.

 

 

 

ARC (NetGalley) Review: Zen Master Poems

 

Synopses: 

A tour-de-force work by one of America’s most celebrated contemporary poets.

Frisbees, Johnny Cash, and lonely railroad crossings: All coexist with Zen Buddhism’s traditional imagery of cherry blossoms and mountain landscapes in Zen Master Poems. This collection of one-page readings, meditations, admonitions and observations evokes calm, reflection and humor for readers and seekers on every path.

Zen Master Poems is from Dick Allen, author of eight acclaimed poetry volumes — and the 2010-2015 Connecticut Poet Laureate. Allen gives full expression to his lifetime interest in Zen Buddhism for the first time here.

Although accessible for readers of all traditions, Zen Master Poems also contains elements that will challenge those already familiar with Buddhist literature. The poems are alternately serious and whimsical, seamlessly blending East with West.

Featuring titles like a “Cat Named Zen” and images like Jack Kerouac watching lightning strike, these lovely and mysterious poems are sure to stick with you. While it pays tribute to Han-Shan’s famous Cold Mountain Poems, the voice here is truly Allen’s own.

Product Details (Amazon):

  • Series: New Wisdom Poems (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (August 23, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161429299X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1614292999
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

 

Review:

First and foremost, the reader ought to take note of the ensō on the cover of the anthology. In Zen Buddhism it represents the beauty of imperfection which can be conflated with the concept of  wabi-sabi.

Equally important is “The obstacle is the path” which is a Zen proverb that potential readers may have come across. So for those that may at first be unsure of how to proceed with interpreting the Zen Master Poems, worry not, for the beauty of Zen lies in its simplicity which becomes clear when the mind stops forming overt connections between unconnected dots.

“Simply, Simply, Simply.”, Henry David Thoreau was known to say. Declutter your thoughts. Think not of yourself as a “bag of skin and bones”, or that you were “born into this world”, see yourself as an entity that is a reflection of its environment and in the words of Dick Allen a “beautiful disguise”. Allow this shift in mindset to take place and it is possible to live simply and think deeply.

With that being said, there are allusions in the poems which open the door to further exploration of the subject matter. For instance Alan Watts who remarked “Reality is a rorschach ink blot”, and a man known to spread eastern ideas to an western audience was mentioned in a poem.

Furthermore, Hanshan too was alluded to. Note that the master of the cold mountain himself said that Zen is not in the poems but in the mind.

“the ten thousand things are all reflections
the moon originally has no light”
Han-shan

In a way one particular poem “The Secret Is To Leap” reminded me of Keat’s ‘Negative Capability’ which is the key ingredient to success of many acclaimed poets. According to Keats: Negative Capability is the state of mind when man is capable of being in uncertainties, delving into mysteries, weighing doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

Zen teaches us to ask good questions, but it also extols the importance of realizing that it’s not about “because” but that it “just is”… that we should focus on the “what” rather than on the “why”…

Keeping all of this under close consideration, Dick Allen has done a phenomenal job of noting down his observations and turning them into food for thought for a mind starved of simplicity. Whether or not the reader will find the bird making calligraphy in the sky or Zen Master Kyong Ho’s “the tree with no shadow” remains yet to be seen, but not knowing something is what makes the act of discovery all the more fulfilling and that is to say nothing of the power of the idea that everything we require is rooted in the present and we need not wait any longer to partake in its splendor which may be simpler than it appears if the way of the zen cat is to be believed.

Rating:

 

 

 

ARC (NetGalley) Review: Movie Game

“Delay of reaction is the unseen movie of this life”- Katatonia

 

Synopsis: 

It’s been three years since Joe’s father vanished. Now seventeen, he is unaware that government agents are watching him in case his dad makes contact. Joe is too distracted by his secret girlfriend, midnight swims in the pools of strangers, free drinks from his buddies at the movie game and the glamorous college student, Felicity. But his movie-esque existence and addiction to fiction is set to collide with a heavy dose of reality this summer when he discovers everything is not what it seems: His secret girlfriend wants to be the real thing. His college fling may have ulterior motives. And the government agents want co-operation to catch his missing father. All this and the three-year-old death of Joe’s first girlfriend Alice are going to cause him to face some dark truths. It’s no longer a movie game. This is his life, and he wants to win.

Product Details(Amazon):

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Picture (15 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0993061303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0993061301
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm

Review:

Are you the kind of person who appreciates irony? Have you ever wanted to read a book about a cinephile who holds books in low esteem? Not to mention that the boy in question imagines his life as a movie plot and views the world through an IMAX lens whereas in reality he’s a protagonist in a novel with the story being printed on pages in place of being streamed on Netflix! It doesn’t get more meta than that.

Additionally, the theme of escapism is broached early on. Do we watch movies to see ourselves in the characters as they struggle to succeed or to detach ourselves from a harsh reality? Is it procrastination or indulging in some greater meaning or art form that we fail to stay in touch with in our day to day lives…

To put it simply this book is like an eagle sailing in increasingly widening gyres while being buffeted by wind. Just when you think it’s going to fall short, it comes full circle. While it does succeed in resembling the thrilling structure of a movie plot, at the same time it retains the vital touch with reality needed for the audience to glimpse human moments from Joe.

I give this book a four star dragonball.

Things it could have done better: The movie references were actually pretty neat, however, not every reader will be able to appreciate it to the fullest. For the layman, a lot of googling is necessary. Footnotes pointing the reader in the right direction about the references would be helpful.

 

ARC (NetGalley) Review: A Scarlet Letter Manga Classics Edition

Synopsis:

  • A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tragic saga of Puritan America.
  • Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

Product Details (Amazon):

  • Series: Manga Classics
  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Udon Entertainment (March 31, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1927925339
  • ISBN-13: 978-1927925331
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces

Review:

The first thing that caught my eye about this ARC was that I had to read last page to first page! Yes you read that right. Manga follows the custom of being read from right to left, so what may appear to us as the last page in fact is the first page.

With that being said, the portrayal of the characters was convincing. Arthur Dimmesdale is shown characteristically with an air of melancholy about him and his speeches brimmed with pathos. Furthermore, Rev. Dimmesdale kept clutching his robes where it had closest proximity to his heart. This characterized him rightfully to show that something was amiss and troubling his heart.

Dr. Chillingworth on the other hand was shown with shrewd-narrow eyes and a snake aura. In Christian symbolism I believe snakes denote Satan himself. The manga artist’s choice of rendition seems to indicate that Chillingworth had succumbed to his darker side in his path of vengeance.

Hester Prynn is shown as a beautiful and determined woman. The scarlet letter or “A” that she wears owing to her adultery… soon symbolizes her “ableness” as a seamstress, and later on after she assists her fellow townsfolk the A transforms into “Angelic” as testified by Arthur Dimmesdale himself. Her decision to settle at the edge of town can possibly indicate that while she wants nothing to do with society, she doesn’t want to forsake it altogether as well.

Then there’s Pearl, with her wild nature, and elfish appearance. In the original Pearl had elements of magic  in her, which was an anti-thesis to the cold hard and rigid life that the puritans had come to lead.

As for the Puritan townsfolk, they appeared to be a bigoted group of reactionaries who treated sin like it was the last vestiges of bubonic plague. Their biggest failing was that they did not use the context to pass judgement but instead generalized their dealings with sinners. In Hester’s case, she had been married off to a scholar old enough to be her grandfather and someone who was said to have died at sea with no one reporting him to be alive for 2 years. If she fell in love with someone else during that time then that is not in itself a sin.

The manga’s version just like the original novel questions whether or not Hester was the true sinner or of it was Dr. Roger Chillingworth for failing to understand the circumstances that led to Hester’s folly and forgiving her, and if Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale was to blame for letting Hester Prynne take all of the blame and be a bulls eye for social stigma for several years.

Keeping all of this in mind, the manga takes a classic and turns it into a format which can be picked up and finished in a matter of hours (1 hr 15 mins in my case)  and it does this without losing the sophistication of the original. I hope to see more from the manga classics series in due time and process.

Book Review: The Kite Runner

This month all of the contributors of PWC are writing about Kite Runner so I pitched in.

Prestigious Writers' Club

The first question I tend to ask myself when reading a book is,

“What special significance does the title have?” 

Note that Amir the main character was a Kite FIGHTER. Hassan his servant on the other hand was a Kite RUNNER, and a pivotal moment in the book which changed everything and set things in motion like a domino effect occurred when Hassan chased after a kite to retrieve it for Amir.

Hence, just from the choice of title we can infer that much of the plot centers around Hassan and in turn he helps shape the course of the book significantly directly as well as indirectly.

This is later evinced when Amir relates how his guilt has been haunting him owing to the way he treated Hassan even though he had full knowledge about the lengths Hassan had gone to help him.

By the same token, Amir initially set…

View original post 587 more words

ARC (Penguin’s First To Read) Review: And After Many Days

And after many days I finished reading this book 

Synopsis:

An unforgettable debut novel about a boy who goes missing, a family that is torn apart, and a nation on the brink

During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages, and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.
In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious Company, who found oil on their land and will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds towards its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for.
And After Many Days introduces Ile’s spellbinding ability to tightly weave together personal and political loss until, inevitably, the two threads become nearly indistinguishable. It is a masterful story of childhood, of the delicate, complex balance between the powerful and the powerless, and a searing portrait of a community as the old order gives way to the new.

Product Details (Amazon):

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tim Duggan Books (February 16, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101903147
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101903148
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces

Review:

Being a member of Generation Z I have a short attention span, but “And After Many Days” reminded me of what’s so great about literature. It takes the struggle of men and women in trying times, of families struggling to to make it through the hour much less the day, of a nation that is going through an internal tug of war and makes it oh-so compelling in terms of scope and story telling.

My own nation Bangladesh, went through a war in 1971 and my grandfather’s younger brother was a freedom fighter named Assad Zaman who went missing in action when our own country men -turncoats- turned on us and executed him during a mission. There is a monument dedicated to him named “Assad Gate” in khorki Jessore his hometown. To be clear the monument serves as a grim reminder of the sacrifices that were made and acts as a tangible narration of the idea of freedom and indicates that the nation was built on selflessness and a meta identity which supersedes the necessity for only furthering the agenda of individuals.

Much in the same way, this book calls to mind once again that there have been and continue to be struggles all around the globe and that we should not be removed from those fights in terms of moral support because they too are people fighting to survive against oppressive regimes as well as opportunistic corporations deeming it high time to turn a profit.

Rating: 4.

Verdict: The jury -various aspects of my personality- decided that the book had reasonable pacing and layered plot structure but instead of sticking to one solid messaged it had several diluted messages. Just my opinion.