Tag Archives: fame

Book Review: Little Known Facts by Christine Sneed

Title: Little Known Facts
Author: Christine Sneed
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
ISBN: 978-1608199587
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

When I received the uncorrected proof of, “Little Known Facts” I did not look at it for a long time before deciding to pick it up and give it a read. “Little Known Facts” is all about the glamour and the glitz of Hollywood and what lies underneath all of that, through one Hollywood family.

I have always wondered about the lives of stars and sometimes starlets as well. Thoughts that cross the mind are: What kind of lives do their families live? Are they always in the shadow of the star and what he or she does? Do they have an existence of their own? Are they also surrounded by the media at all times? This to me holds true across the world, when it comes to the entertainment industry. “Little Known Facts” is all about that. It may not provide answers to all questions but it most certainly is a great romp of a read.

Renn Ivins is one of Hollywood’s most handsome, charismatic, and critically-acclaimed movie stars. He is what they say, “the golden child” (this is purely my perception) and delivers and lives up to that title. He has it all – the ex-wives, the girlfriends and the children. He is doing what a celebrity should and yet there is a side of the man that only his family knows and endures and sometimes also revel in it.

Renn’s grown children, Anna and Will are struggling in their lives, trying to do something on their own, than just being a version of their father. Anna, a medical student is prospering with her academics and has a bright future ahead of her. On the other hand, her personal life and relationships are marred by the exploits of her famous father. Will on the other hand is facing a so-called quarter-life crisis and does not know what to do with his life. They are both willing to use their father’s money but not his influence. Amidst all this Sneed tells a tale of fame and fortune, its rise and downfall and the people involved in its web and how they deal with it on a daily basis.

The book for me had almost everything in most places – wit, empathy, curiosity, and how people behave in front of celebrities and what do they say about them. The story also is about the lies we tell ourselves and how the shadow of a celebrity is so huge that it sometimes takes over an entire family and its existence. The writing is to the dot with an eye for detail, which is the firm premise of the book. Every emotion and the nuance attached with it are beautifully depicted and at the same time the writing is not overbearing.

What I liked the most about the book is the fact that there are a lot of layers to it. “Little Known Facts” is one of those reads that will take you in from the first page and make you keep turning the pages with great speed. I may not re-read it but would definitely recommend it as a onetime read.

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Book Review: The Extras by Kiran Nagarkar

Title: The Extras
Author: Kiran Nagarkar
Publisher: 4th Estate, Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-93-5029-204-4
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 467
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Kiran Nagarkar according to me has somehow always been under the microscopic view of readers and reviewers. May be it has to do with the way he writes and concocts themes and ideas, but one thing is for sure, there is never a dull moment in his books. I got hooked on to his books, like any other teenager (then) with Ravan and Eddie. Ravan and Eddie (though according to me was loosely based on, “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving) was a delight to read. The intricate moments of post-independent India was not hidden. The slums, the chawls, the abuses and the interwoven plots were all there – almost like a nice stew, boiling slowly, served to perfection. Ravan and Eddie was published in 1994 and now after eighteen years, there comes a sequel to it, titled, “The Extras”.

The Extras spans the lives of Ravan and Eddie as adults, in the big bad city of Bombay. I love how the title on the cover reads, “The Extras – Starring Ravan and Eddie”, with a very 70’s film poster like visual. The story of course takes on eighteen years from where it ended in the earlier book. Ravan and Eddie are adults, striving to make something out of them in the big, bad world and aspire to be actors. Bollywood is the seductress and they are easily seduced. Ravan is a taxi driver and Eddie is a bouncer-cum-bartender. They want it all – fame, money, easy rise from their chawl existence to the skyscrapers. At the heart of this, are their complicated love stories. Ravan who is in love with Eddie’s sister (yes that’s the one twist in the tale). Eddie on the other hand has to battle with both families to obtain the love of his life in the Anglo-Indian Belle.

That’s the gist of the story. The writing of course cannot be compared to anything else. Kiran Nagarkar has always been a master of his game. From Seven-Sixes are Forty Three to God’s Little Soldier; post-independence blues has always been at the center of his books (except Cuckold which was a Historical Fiction centered book). He knows the pulse of the city and can describe it beautifully. Nothing has changed much, except for the name of the city and a mall or two springing up in the past couple of years, and Mr. Nagarkar knows how to depict the sadness and claustrophobia in his book.

There are so many funny parts as well in the book – sardonic and dark at most times, and in-your-face funny too. Ravan and Eddie as characters evolve a lot more in this book and their motives are clearer. Nagarkar adds more stories to this one, though their families still remain a part and are always in the background. For me, The Extras was like a roller-coaster ride, full of unknown turns and bends. A definite read for all those who want to know Bombay in its early days.

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