Daily Archives: March 29, 2018

Let’s No One Get Hurt by Jon Pineda

Let's No One Get Hurt by Jon PinedaTitle: Let’s No One Get Hurt
Author: Jon Pineda
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 978-0374185244
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4  Stars

Sometimes I really wish some books did not have to be this violent – physically, emotionally or mentally. But I also think sometimes we need to show that violence for what the world is and art does imitate life after all. “Let’s No One Get Hurt” is so redemptive and yet somehow seemed so dark as it progressed. The writing is raw, visceral and yet so tender in so many places that you can almost sense the attachment between the young girl and the three men she lives with. We after all make our own home, where we find it.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl lives in an abandoned boathouse with her father – a disgraced college professor and two other men, deep in the American South. All four live on the margins and make do with what they can. There is a sense of weird kind of family but each of them looks after the other and are slowly but surely making sense of the world as days go by.

Enter: Mason Boyd who is also known as “Main Boy” and whose father has purchased the property Pearl and her family are squatting, putting him in a position of power between the two kids, leading to dynamics changing that Pearl never thought of.

The writing is very poetic, to the point of it being poetic-prose and feels very satisfying most of the time. Yet the nagging thought of something bad will happen which keeps haunting the reader. Pearl and her makeshift family (those characters are something else, trust me I can only urge you to read the book to know them better) has been thought of so beautifully, even if the moments of tenderness and grace are not so much, you learn to sit patiently for them to come.

“Let’s No One Get Hurt” captures the essence of power, violence and redemption wonderfully and with parallel stories and layers to the larger narrative. It is a book that will break your heart mostly but will let you heal yourself. A lot of you might think that there is nothing new about it, but you have to read it to believe what Pineda has created – a stunning portrait of loss, love and turmoil in the South.

 

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi AdeyemiTitle: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
ISBN: 978-1509871353
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 544
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5  Stars

Hands down one of the best fantasy I have read in recent times, and by that, I mean in the last fifteen years or so! Children of Blood and Bone is the first part of a series and let me tell you that I just couldn’t get enough of it. While the regular tropes of any high-fantasy exist, it is also an intelligent book and doesn’t spoon-feed the reader at any point of time in the narrative. You must make the effort to read carefully and connect the dots.

The book starts off instantly. There is no build-up as such because Adeyemi has so much to say. I wish I could do justice to the book with this review. I shall try. There are layers and sub-layers in the narrative, with the focal point being magic and how to get it back. The African culture is seeped within in the story so strongly that it is so refreshing to read about it as you go along. Their gods, their way of life, their myths are integrated beautifully by Adeyemi in this tale of the revival of Orïshan magic.

Zélie remembers the time when Orïsha was full of magic – the entire land, and when different clans ruled and each of them had their role to play. And one night, all the magic disappeared. The plot then is to bring back magic to a land without hope and now ruled by a tyrant monarch. As the plot unravels, we see Zélie coping with her doubts when it comes to magic and its revival and more than anything else the one thing she should not be doing and ends up doing anyway.

Adeyemi’s writing is so good. She captures the much-needed gender and social injustices that should be talked about. The oppressed and the oppressor are captured in the most humane way possible with magic lurking in every corner of the page. “Children of Blood and Bone” moves so fast that sometimes you must stop and catch your breath. The characters are varied and not one-dimensional at all. The writing like I said before, is stunning and I for one cannot wait for the second book, which will be a long time coming. A must must read!

 

 

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday Title: Asymmetry
Author: Lisa Halliday
Publisher: Granta
ISBN: 9781783783601
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 275
Source: Publisher
Rating:

This isn’t a plot-driven book. To me, “Asymmetry” was more character-driven (or so I would like to believe) which worked wonderfully when I read it. Yes, some parts did seem disjointed and irrelevant initially, but it all fell into place by the second half of the book and I could see the mirrors within mirrors and more clues staring in my face as I devoured this read. Also, might I add that this isn’t a mystery or thriller. It just is. The worlds are parallel and yet Halliday beautifully manages to blend these worlds, and show us that we are after all connected one way or the other.

“Asymmetry” is told in three sections. The first one titled “Folly” is about Alice, a young American editor and her relationship with the much older writer Ezra Blazer (whose characterization is spot on, in my opinion). The second part takes place at Heathrow airport, where Amar, an economist on his way to Kurdistan is detained at the airport with seemingly no reason. And right at the end, after years have passed by, Ezra reappears mulling on life, love, and loss.

What is the connection between these people? Is there any at all? Why is this story so bizarre and will it even make any sense? I was asking myself these questions a lot, till it all started falling into place and it became more playful than investigative. Halliday conjures characters and situations that take time to wind your head around, but when you do, reading this book is then an adventure, a joyride almost.

At the same time, let me also add that “Asymmetry” is a book about a lot of things that will make you uncomfortable as well (maybe it is intended to and more so in the second half), so be prepared. One can’t be prepared while reading this book. Anything can step out of its pages and shock or surprise you.