Tag Archives: anger

The Gods Lie. by Kaori Ozaki

Title: The Gods Lie.
Author: Kaori Ozaki
Publisher: Vertical Comics
ISBN: 978-1942993360
Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Pages: 216
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

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This was the first book read this month and it has stuck and how. I never thought a Manga could leave me all emotional and almost in tears, but this one did and in the most wondrous way. “The Gods Lie” is about everything I think, as you are growing-up, it is also more than just a coming of age tale and yet the innocence and charm of the book isn’t gone at all, no matter how dire the circumstances. There is always some hope and light at the end of the tunnel and maybe that is why I could connect with this read.

Natsuru Nanao is a 6th grader who lives with his mom, loves soccer and isn’t what you’d call the popular kid in school or maybe he is. Enter Rio Suzumura and the both of them have an unlikely friendship, given how different they are. The soccer coach changes and Natsuru hates the new coach (there are several instances) and decides to not to go soccer camp. In all of this, he ends up staying over at Rio’s house with her kid brother. He does find it strange to see these two children living alone but then secrets start tumbling out of the closet – including a dark one which will test his love for Rio.

That in short is the plot of the book. It is a coming-of-age story for sure but there is so much more to it – the harsh realities of modern life, how one just hangs on to hope no matter what, and of course the bittersweetness of first love. It is a short-read. There is not much dialogue but I think when you are dealing this strongly with emotions, the need for dialogues doesn’t really arise. At the same time, you are vested in the story of Natsuru and Rio, that you just want it all to be fine for them. That to me is the power of a great book. When it engages you to this extent. I can’t recommend this book enough. Do read it.

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Book Review: The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick

Title: The Shawl
Author: Cynthia Ozick
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 978-0-679-72926-7
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 70
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick is one of those books that will not let go once you have read it. It is a collection of two inter-linked stories and the impact they will have on any reader is heart-wrenching and stupendous.

The Shawl consists of two stories, “The Shawl” and “Rosa”. The title story is of a woman named Rosa and the death of her child Magda in a concentration camp, at the hands of a guard, due to her niece Stella. The second story – shows the appearance of Rosa, thirty years later in a Miami Hotel as a madwoman and scavenger, remembering what she can of her child.

In both these stories, the shawl is a key element, binding them and reflecting on the times lived – before and after. The Shawl grabs your attention from page one and doesn’t let go. Ozick also beautifully represents the immigrant element through English as a Second Language medium in the second story. She also looks at the complexities of language, class and identity in the Jewish community through these stories.

What I found most amazing was the fact that so much could be said in a mere seventy page book. Sometimes one doesn’t need more words to express the emotion. Rosa is a bitter, psychologically fractured and a woman who doesn’t need anything from anyone. She just wants to be left alone to her madness and that doesn’t seem to happen.

Cynthia Ozick’s writing shines on every page. The book is not an easy read, considering the subject; however Ms. Ozick does not shy away from describing the period of horror, and its impact, even thirty years on. In essence, it is so true, that experiences never let go and Rosa is a befitting example of this.

The Shawl is not a read for the faint-hearted. Like I said Ozick doesn’t mince her words. She is direct. The book makes you wonder: Does the past really leave you or not? The book is just an exquisite tale of human suffering. A cautious read. I recommend it only to those who are interested in something like this.

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With or Without You by Partha Sarathi Basu

I have always enjoyed the Penguin “Metro Reads” series. They are fast paced, racy and short. They get over even before you have started reading them and at some level they do not intellectualize which I love in books at times. It started with “Dreams in Prussian Blue” to “Love Over Coffee” and now “With Or Without you” by Partha Sarathi Basu. Penguin’s Metro Reads have been great till now for me and here goes another review…

The corporate world is brutal and we are all aware of it. From eons and centuries things have not been easy when it boils down to a corporate setting. Every corporate executive is ruled by goals – personal, professional and organizational. The vicious tactics often used to achieve them lie hidden behind a facade of bonhomie and gentility.

“With or Without You” by Partha Sarathi Basu rips apart the veils to reveal the murky underbelly of corporate life. You move through raw ambition, convenient suspension of integrity, deceit, smear campaigns as executives relentlessly march towards their constantly changing goals. Woven into the fabric of a fast paced story, the well crafted characters are instantly identifiable with people from real life.

What is the story about though?

It is about blinding politics in an office environment and how things, situations and words have the capacity to go awry and change people. It is about how people are compromising their values because of that single promotion that superficially means so much and yet is so elusive till you let go of something cherished and loved.

Aarav the protagonist of the book will not stop at anything. He will do anything to get to the top (supposedly tagged in every organization I have ever worked with). He will betray his friends who are also his colleagues. He will turn the one without scruples. He will cheat on his wife with the foxy Sonali, who is only but using him. Aarav does things that will make you cringe – for instance leaving his wife alone in the middle of a romantic trip to London, without any regrets – and all for what? To get to the top.

There are elements in the book that keep you glued to the book – for instance what is Sonali up to? What does she want from Aarav? And that is not known till the end of the book. The other characters like Raika and Rishav not only add to the story but also further propel it. What I personally loved about the book was that I could so relate to it at every level – the politics at work to the emotions one goes through to the games that you don’t want to play and yet at some level we all do.

For those with years in industry, the story-line is like déjà vu. For the newcomers, it is an eye-opener to the real world  – one that is never taught in B Schools.

You can also visit the author’s website on: www.parthasarathibasu.com

With or Without You; Basu, Partha Sarathi; Penguin India; Metro Reads; Rs. 150; Available from Flipkart