Daily Archives: July 18, 2012

Book Review: I, Rama: Age of Seers: Book 1 by Ravi Venu

Title: I, Rama: Age of Seers: Book 1
Author: Ravi Venu
Publisher: Cratus Media
ISBN: 978-0615582504
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 264
Source: BlogAdda
Rating: 1/5

If there is one book I would recommend you guys not to read, then that would be, “I, Rama: Age of Seers: Book 1” by Ravi Venu. Normally I like books for at least one element or the other. I believe that the author has something to provide to the readers, however I could not say the same for this book. There was also one other fact: I could not finish the book. I read almost seventy-five percent of it and then gave up. I do not like not finishing books; however I could not finish this one.

I, Rama is the first book in a trilogy (I think) written from Rama’s perspective. While the basic plot is intriguing, the book does not live up to the mystery and drama. We all know the story of Rama – the exiled prince, of how he was exiled, of how his wife Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, the demon king.

We are aware of the trials and tribulations undertaken by Rama and the monkey army to save Sita. Kaikeyi has been shown in a different light (twist in the tale) – a warrior princess with immense strength of character. The story is told in flashback mode with Rama narrating it to Lava and Kusha. Rama is the crowned king and has been ruling the kingdom for some time now. This is his story, as experienced by him.

I could not find anything that held my attention in the book for long. The writing was predictable. The situations sometimes more so. The idea however is excellent. The story had a lot of potential. Having Rama to present his side of the story, but then again, for me the detailing is written in a manner that bored me. I could not connect with the book. Maybe the book was written, considering there are so many books based on mythological characters that are doing the rounds anyway. However, it doesn’t live up to them or in that genre. It just seems forced and not up to the mark.

The writing was fluid initially, but that also lost ground at some point in the book. It jumped too soon and I as a reader could not keep pace with it. The characters were well-etched and yet did not seem to have a voice of their own. Their thoughts and emotions seem forced and too clichéd at times. I think the book might do well in the mass market, considering it is a story of Rama, and that is interesting enough for readers to pick it up. This is also a trilogy, I think. I would not recommend this book for sure to anyone. In a long time, a book did not work for me. Not even as a fast read.

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An Interview with Azad Essa

From: Bookslive.co.za

So after reading, “The Moslems are Coming”, I was so intrigued by what must have gone on in the author’s head while writing this book, that I had to interview Azad Essa, the writer. Here is a short interview with him. Hope you enjoy it.

1. How did, “The Moslems are Coming” happen?

After being published in South Africa as ‘Zuma’s Bastard’ – I was keen to get the book into the South Asian market, especially the Indian market. So much of the book had India written all over it and crucially, it wasn’t a fluffy look at India so I thought it would be of interest to at least a couple of folks on the subcontinent – so to speak. Fortunately, the editors at HarperCollins India loved the idea and decided to bring it over.

2.Why such a title? It definitely results in some stares and discussions. Was it intended?

We were definitely looking for a punchy title. After all, it is not as though the book is about cookies and cream. We wanted the cover, the title to represent, and to be as much a part of the discussion as the material inside it. We wanted people to look, and look again, because it is also the nature of the content.

3.South Africa and India. The similarities? Differences?

It is difficult to compare countries but let’s give it a shot.

Both South Africa and India have iconic histories that have inspired far beyond their backyard. Both share diverse populations, a number of languages and divisive histories.

Today India and South Africa are important powerhouses in their respective regions. Both are bullies in their regions as they lobby to become big bullies on the global scene – You bully Bangladeshis, we bully Zimbabweans. It is easy because the world likes your call centers and our gold mines.

There are also the security issues. You have jihadists planting bombs every now and then, and smug Delhi boys have begun molesting unsuspecting girls with disturbing regularity. On our side of the globe, we carjackings, murders and one of the highest incidences of rape in the world.

Also, both governments seem to have low expectations of their electorate – and so corruption and mismanagement is par for the course – and this is unlikely to rescind.

Hah, now we seem like long-lost cousins!

But to be fair, South Africa is home to 50 million people and we can’t seem to get it right. Meeting the expectations of 1.2 billion must pose some serious logistical issues for your management…

4. Your literary influences…

Hesse, Fanon, Foucault, Sontag, (Tom) Eaton, Herge’s Tintin and my father’s letters to newspaper editors.

5. Azad as a writer…

Anarchic, moody, disorganised and violent.

6. Azad the person…

Rather pleasant, most of the time.

7. What do you think of the so-called modern India?

Fascinating, really. There is an Indian type of modernity that is pacy, prosperous, bafflingly in its intensity but extremely exclusive and isolating. Surely modernity is more than another excuse to amass personal wealth, shop in decadent malls and fuel an insatiable thirst to consume the same products dressed up with an Indian flavour?

Modernity is also about designing the future with an emphasis on raising the standards of living, including health, housing and education for as many people as possible in improving human dignity. It just feels that India, like South Africa, would do well to take a step back and decide what type of modernity it desired before it plunged right in and pretended that the Maharaja Mac burger was anything different to a Big Mac…

You can read my review of the book here