Tag Archives: #fiction

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

I am totally besotted with anything Enid Blyton. And even within her huge body of works, the Magic Faraway Tree is one of my favorites since this also falls under one of my favorite genres – fantasy. Enchanted Wood is the beginning of the series. For me, fantasy is about the wonder in discovering the new worlds. This being the first book is the one where we discover the Faraway Tree, the folks who live on it and the magic associated with it. Of course, the wonder remains throughout this series because new lands keep coming on top of the Faraway Tree. So throughout the series, there are new lands to discover. That way for a reread, these stories kind of lose their value once you know what land.

Shatranj Ke Khiladi by Munshi Premchand – Book Review

शतरंज के खिलाड़ी मुंशी प्रेमचंद द्वारा लिखित एक लघुकथा है जिसमे एक बार फिर उन्होंने पाठकों के समक्ष समाज का एक आइना प्रस्तुत किया है। इस पुस्तक में १९ स्वी सदी के अवध के उस पक्ष का चित्रण किया गया है जब नवाबों से लेकर आम नागरिक तक  विलासिता में लीन थे। शासन विभाग में, साहित्य क्षेत्र में, सामाजिक अवस्था में, कला कौशल में, उद्योग धंधों में, आहार व्यवहार में सर्वत्र विलासिता व्याप्त हो रही थी। जीवन के प्रत्येक विभाग में आमोद प्रमोद का वास था। सभी की आँखों में विलासिता का मद छाया हुआ था। संसार में क्या हो रहा है, इसकी किसी को ख़बर न थी। बटेर लड़ रहे हैं। तीतरों की लड़ाई के लिए पाली बदली  जा रही है। कहीं चौसर बिछी हुई है; पौ-बारह का शोर मचा हुआ है। कहीं शतरंज का घोर संग्राम छिड़ा हुआ है। और इसी विलासिता के मद में अंधी लखनऊ नगरी देख ही नहीं पाई कब अंग्रजों ने अवध पर कब्जा कर लिया।

Selected Stories by W.W. Jacobs – Book Review

Synopsis:

The Masterpieces of World Fiction series brings together the best-loved short stories by the great masters of the genre – from Chekov and Maupassant, Kipling and Wilde, to O. Henry and Saki and Tolstoy and Conrad. Thoughtfully compiled by the bestselling author Terry O’ Brien, this series is a great way for readers to revisit old favourites and for introducing literary masterpieces to newer, younger readers.

Book Review:

‘The Monkey’s Paw’ is the story for which W. W. Jacobs is famous the world over. The story has been translated into a number of languages, has been filmed and adapted for the stage numerous times. The story is about the danger of wishing. I had read the story once when I was a child and was scared to the bone. It’s an eerie story and I was getting Goosebumps while reading it this time also.

This one is a slim collection of about 140 pages containing 11 short stories where only a handful (three to be precise) are horror stories. Most of the other stories are humorous and/or are about life at sea.

Rest of the stories, other than ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ are average or maybe I had very high expectations from them.

The language is simple and easy to follow. As the blurb says, Jacobs often brilliantly employed the vernacular of the East End of London in his writing. And this is quite visible throughout the book.

A satisfying and quick read though no other story in this collection touches the heights of ‘The Monkey’s Paw’.

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – Book Review

Synopsis:

A retelling of the timeless Indian epic, the Mahabharata with a modern twist The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half-history, half-myth, and wholly magical; narrated by Panchali, the wife of the five Pandava brothers, we are finally given a woman’s take on the timeless tale that is the Mahabharata Tracing Panchali’s life from fiery birth and lonely childhood, where her beloved brother is her only true companion; through her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna; to marriage, motherhood and Panchali’s secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands’ most dangerous enemy. The Palace of Illusions is a deeply human novel about a woman born into a man’s world, a world of warriors, gods and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

Anamika by Soorina Desai – Book Review

Synopsis:

Life perhaps has no story to tell. This book is about birth, a search for an identity, intense emotion, illusion, disillusion,acceptance, death and a personal definition of eternity. All pieced together for us to look back and see that we managed because we survived from moment to moment.

Even an ordinary life has one extraordinary chapter of love in it. This is Anamika’s tale of a pure but forbidden love, set in newly independent India, an era when romance had a different meaning and the language of romance had a different allure. Perhaps the content of this book is for everybody who has been ruled by the heart, lost a lover without losing love, asked questions to God but found answers within, and embraced life knowing it can be enjoyed only in small doses.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen – Book Review

Synopsis:

“The Secret of Pembrooke Park”, a finalist for a 2015 Minnesota Book Award, is the story of Abigail Foster, who shifts to an old manor only to find later that the manor is full of mysteries.

Abigail Foster is the elder daughter of Foster family and is always ready to walk an extra mile and accept challenges to keep her family happy. Her father’s bad investment compels them to look for downsizing their home with a smaller one in the country. Abigail considers herself responsible for the crisis that engulfed their family because she had advised her father to make the investment. Due to the misfortune, they lost everything including their house in London and place in the society. The task of shifting to a country house is not so easy as it seemed because it became difficult for them to find a property that could suffice their requirement. What added more to their misery was the prices of the new properties that were not affordable for them.

Gora by Rabindranath Tagore – Book Review

Synopsis:

Gora, the protagonist, is a very staunch follower of Hinduism and has very high regards for his religion. He is not only a strong advocate of his religion but practices Hinduism thorough strict austerity and conviction. He is a very good orator and the leadership qualities are imbibed in him naturally. At heart, he is very optimist who dreams about ideal Bharatvarsha, a prosperous and happy India that can only be achieved when all castes and classes are united under the large umbrella of Hinduism. Gora is highly patriotic and sympathetic by nature who can not stand injustice and inhuman treatment done by the upper society towards the poor and downtrodden. The impelling attitude of Gora makes him seem like a violent and arrogant person.

The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark – Book Review

Synopsis:

Set against the backdrop of a country which is going through a political, social restructure and is trying to recover from the pain and anguish of partition and war, The Sandalwood Tree is a tale of two love stories that are ninety years apart.

1947, the year when India became independent and got freedom from British rule, is witnessing several social and political changes. It is the year of Britain’s withdrawal from the country after 200 years. While the political parties of Independent India are taking control, the country is also rife with violence and is going through a time of civil unrest.

Datta by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay – Book Review

Synopsis:

Datta is one of the most popular novels by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay. It is a romantic novel set in Victorian Bengal with a backdrop of Bengali society fragmented into Hindu and Brahmo (Brahma Samaj). The main story revolves around the relationship between an affluent Brahmo woman and a brilliant but indigent young Hindu.

Datta means a girl whose marriage has been committed with a particular boy by her parents / guardians to that boy’s parents / guardians. In short, Datta (literally meaning ‘given’) stands for betrothed (female).

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – Book Review

Synopsis:

Featured among one of the top 10 Fictions of the Millennium(1901 – 2000), Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is one my most favourite novels. It tells the story of a young, unnamed protagonist who works as a companion with a rich American lady and comes to Monte Carlo with her, where she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome, older gentleman. She marries Maxim de Winter and comes to ‘Manderley’ as the second Mrs. De Winter with him.

It is well known that Maxim’s widely adored wife Rebecca, had recently drowned at sea and he loved his wife very much and after her death, is shattered completely. The protagonist, due to the circumstances in her life, lacks self-confidence and after coming to Manderley after her marriage, finds it very difficult to cope with the new life style and the expectations that the people have from Mrs. De Winter. She also faces a painful struggle against the aura of Rebecca, Maxim’s first wife, that still prevails at each and every corner of the house and the country. Maxim’s new wife is constantly compared to Rebecca, who was loved and admired by all.