Daily Archives: March 11, 2018

The Job of the Wasp by Colin Winnette

The Job of the Wasp by Colin Winnette Title: The Job of the Wasp
Author: Colin Winnette
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
ISBN: 978-1593766801
Genre: Coming of Age, Gothic, Ghosts
Pages: 208
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

An unnamed narrator shows up at a mysterious facility for orphaned boys. The world is strange, eerie and everything seems to be sinister, even the Headmaster. He hears whispers at night. His classmates are volatile and always angry and for some reason, the Headmaster is sending him cryptic messages to confess. But confess about what? What is going on? And then beware, because the corpses start showing up.

This is the plot, to put it loosely of “The Job of the Wasp”. I have just given you the gist. There is so much more to this book that perhaps cannot be put into words. This is such a dark book that for most of the time I found myself jumping in my skin as I was reading it late into the night. I have always found myself strangely attracted to ghost stories, even though I can’t sleep a wink after reading them.

“The Job of the Wasp” will make you paranoid even if you aren’t that person. There are layers of what’s happening and why and though you think you have it all figured, the book takes a sharp turn and leaves you breathless. The writing is in the atmosphere – from the facility to its surroundings to the dark characters, Winnette’s skills just show us the chaos of the world and what goes on in people’s hearts.

The book is so many things – surreal, entertaining, witty, and so bizarre, that it not only takes you by surprise but also leaves you gobsmacked and wanting more and more. I wish I could put the brilliance of this novel in more words, however, all I can say is that you have to get up, go to the nearest bookstore, and pick this up. Don’t drop it till you are done reading it.

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi Title: Call Me Zebra
Author: Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0544944602
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

Once in a while, there comes a book that infuses literature and life so brilliantly that you can’t help but reread it the minute you are done with it. That is what happened to me when I just finished reading, “Call Me Zebra” by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi. I had to reread it. To experience the prose again, the beauty and sadness of it and to find comfort in the fact that there are people who seek refuge in literature, just like me.

22-year-old Zebra is the last one standing in the long line of “Autodidacts, Anarchists, Atheists” of a family exiled from early ‘90s Iran. Years after her family’s harrowing and long-winding escape, alone in New York (after her father’s death; her mother died while they were escaping), Zebra decides to retrace her family’s dislocation and compose a grand manifesto on what really is literature.

I cannot stop gushing about the book. Yes, it did take me some time to get into it but when I did, it was a breeze. It was like going on a road trip with a friend and being privy to their life and secrets. There is wit and absurdity and love (some sort of love) with Ludo Bembo. There is a strange obsession with death, art, history and life. Oloomi has drawn a character so rich, with all her flaws and character strengths that you cannot help but fall in love with Zebra.

Ludo and Zebra’s love is eccentric. It is the kind of love you want and don’t want. You might yearn for it and then think about not wanting it. I loved when that happened to me while reading this book. “Call Me Zebra” breaks all form in terms of writing, inner monologues, character and above all the way a story is to be read and savoured.