Tag Archives: hachette books

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 978-1408709726
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

I knew exactly what I was getting into as I started reading “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng. I had read her first book two years ago called “Everything I Never Told You” and couldn’t wait to start her new one. I can for sure say that I enjoyed “Little Fires Everywhere” a lot more (sorry for that Celeste, though I also enjoyed your debut novel a lot as well). The prose, the description and more than that how life in America is when it comes to consumerism and parenthood at some point mingling together is brilliantly depicted in this novel of dysfunctional families, twisted minds and family ties.

“Little Fires Everywhere” begins with a house burnt down in a closely tight-knit planned community where nothing of this sort would be dreamed of happening by its residents. The idea of well-gated community called Shaker Heights, Ohio, circa 1997 says a lot about the Utopia and unwelcome change and how all if it disrupts the Richardson family’s seemingly happy life, when Mia (a charismatic artist) and her shy fifteen-year old daughter Pearl, move to the town as tenants in the house Mrs. Richardson inherited from her parents.

This triggers events – mainly the differences in their lifestyles and also what is the attitude of the Richardsons when old family friends on theirs decide to adopt a Chinese-American baby – that would one day lead to the Richardson’s own house burning. I am not giving away anything, don’t worry, but all I can say is that this book kept me up longer than I intended those two nights it took me to finish it.

Celeste Ng has this amazing quality of going easy on the reader mostly and then out of nowhere, she shows you the cracks in relationships, the changes as people interact with each other and how explosive it all is under a calm surface. I loved the writing. It is fast and yet bringing out the details of every character – the Richardson family (mother, father and four teenage children), Mia and Pearl (who I loved as the book moved along) and also the other couple – every detail, every sentence is in place when it comes to “Little Fires Everywhere”. The title is so layered – depicting the fires within and the ones that we see. The ones we also feel but deny and move along in life. If you have to read one book this October (while there is still time), make it this one.

 

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After the Crash by Michel Bussi

After the Crash by Michel Bussi Title: After the Crash
Author: Michel Bussi
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group, Hachette
Genre: Thriller, Literary Thriller
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

“After the Crash” by Michel Bussi is one thriller you simply have to read this year. Let me write this review a little differently this time. I will give you 10 reasons to read this book and please, please, please read it for sure:

1. A thriller that will have you turn the pages faster than you can gasp for air. You would have to gasp for breath because every page guarantees a twist that you would not have seen coming.
2. There are stories within stories and who does not like a book like that must not be left out there on the bookshelf. It deserves a place in your library and for you to read it and be stunned by the ending.
3. It is about a single survivor of a plane crash and the investigation that carries on for twenty years in France and Turkey.
4. The book is so fast that you will finish it in one sitting. If not, then you will consider doing that for sure.
5. It is very clever. The writing is intricate and it is very detailed which is needed for a book of this nature.
6. The book makes you feel for the character which to me rarely happens in thrillers and this is quite a unique reason to read this one.
7. Two families are battling it out for twenty years over the custody of a child. So how do you work out who she is? This story is set in the days before the DNA testing. There, another reason – an edge of the seat thriller for sure.
8. The story is only driven by characters and some amazing thrills and a couple of chills along the way
9. The scenes of the crash and its aftermath and the break-neck speed at which the plot moves
10. All in all a read that will not disappoint for sure

These are my 10 reasons why you should read the book. Go for it! Order it now.

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Book Review: A Flawed God by Arjun Shekhar

Title: A Flawed God
Author: Arjun Shekhar
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 978-93-5009-057-2
Genre: Fiction
PP: 284 pages
Price: Rs. 250
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Let me be very honest at the onset and let you know that A Flawed God  may not be everyone’s cup-of-tea book. It certainly wasn’t the kind of book that I would have read and yet as I did, I found myself embroiled and taken in to the plot. That according to me is one of the signs of great writing – the plot engages you after a point of time and that credit I will only attribute to the writer, but obviously.

A Flawed God is literally about a flawed god, well not so literal and yet it is about The Corporate World – the world which most of us live and breathe and experience and also get fed up of very soon. We all have the protagonist Sanchit Mishra a.k.a. Sancho in us, who wants to take the bull by its horns (as the back-cover reads). The book is about Sancho and how one fine morning he receives an anonymous invitation from the mysterious Progress in Work Collective. What is the invitation about? To join The Collective. And as Sancho gets involved in this, he discovvers an almost underground group of super-heroes who are out to revolutionize the business world and the idols need to be brought down, well in this case, one idol – The Bull, in short, The Share Market.

We all need lives that are exciting and demand more out of us and Sancho is no different. With The Collective his purpose becomes clear and what he intends to do. I will not give away more of the plot. There is a lot for the reader to read here and I don’t want to spoil it. However, having said that let me also add that the book comes through and hits you hard without any pretences. It is ahout Sancho and his colleague Pause Daniels (again the play of words is brilliantly done), and I also love the contrast of Sancho and Don Quixote so to say, if you read clearly, it becomes more lucid. Both of them are trying hard to maintain their own and that’s where the story unveils itself – almost like a Russian Doll. A highly recommended read.

Third Best by Arjun Rao

I remember how I used to shudder at the thought of being sent to a “boarding school” when I was young. I would do something bratty and my parents would threaten me with the usual, “We will send you far away from home”. Little did I know at that time, what that would have felt like, had I been sent away. Sadly I was not – there were all false threats anyway which I soon came to realize.

As I grew up and so did my social circle so to say, I envied friends and colleagues alike who had had the boarding school experience. The night escapades and the encounters with teachers at odd-hours or the fear of getting caught and not waking up on time and many such incidents I would sadly only hear of from them, having never experienced them myself.

And then a book arrived on these experiences right in my hand to read and review – Third Best by K.V. Arjun Rao, published by Hachette India. “Third Best” is one of those reads that everyone would connect with – it is but after all about school and of those days gone by. We leave school with a sense of sadness and then remember it with a sense of nostalgia; however school memories are the only ones that are more etched than the others, as we traverse through life and its improbabilities.

Third Best centres around the story of boarders on board – set in the fictional Shore Mount School (based and conceptualized after The Lawrence School where the author studied and The Doon School, where the author now teaches), the small lies sometimes told and the heartaches, the chores and the nicknames and the teachers with their eccentricities and quirks, and not to forget the bullies and the bullying which is a part and parcel of school, I guess.

Though Nirvan is the protagonist of the book, the story revolves around the lives of his friends Faraz, Gautam, Adi and Billy as well. While Gautam is the noisy and obnoxious being, who doesn’t get frazzled by the bullies, Faraz is the most sophisticated of the lot, with his ideals and morals strongly set.

Third Best makes you want to relive the school days. It touches upon the expectations of parents’ vis-à-vis what the children want to do (and no, this is not a run-down theme, no matter how many times repeated). It is about shaping one’s thoughts and mind so to say amidst all the pressure and expectations.

The book is real and it speaks with you at ease. It is like a friend who you can discuss memories with and which will remain for a long time to come. After reading the book, there was this sudden surge of emotions in me that made me want to contact my school friends, no matter where they were and find out more about their lives. Third Best will make you want to go back to school for sure. Read it for its capacity to transport you to another world that you were once a part of.

Third Best; Rao, Arjun; Hachette India; Rs. 295

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s novel Second Glance impressed me enormously. Vanishing Acts can also boast fascinating characters, stylish writing and a cleverly constructed plot, this time using the forms of courtroom drama, prison novel, and love triangle. Or maybe triangle isn’t quite the right word – except that any polygon, however complex, can be broken down into triangles.

Vanishing Acts is yet another well told tale by Jodi Picoult, who is a master at character development. Once again telling the story through first person accounts of the main characters, she weaves together a family drama centered on a “kidnapping” that had occurred 28 years earlier.

Delia Hopkins is an expert at finding missing persons, with the help of a Search and Rescue bloodhound named Greta. She never suspects that she is also a missing person herself, until police come to her house to arrest her father for having kidnapped her twenty-eight years earlier. She learns that his real name is Charles Matthews, not Andrew Hopkins – and that the mother she thought long dead is still alive.

Delia calls her two best friends for help – Eric, her fiancé and the father of her four-year-old daughter Sophie, and their oldest friend, Fitz. Eric agrees, despite his better judgment, to defend Delia’s father; Fitz, a reporter, is sent to Arizona to cover Andrew’s trial as part of a series of `Strange but True’ stories. Eric inadvertently alienates the judge, who sets Andrew’s bail at two million dollars. While Andrew learns how to survive in the violent world of an Arizona jail, Delia, Eric and Fitz go looking for Delia’s mother, Elise, and Delia’s forgotten past. Delia discovers that she and Eric have yet one more thing in common – both of their mothers were hopeless alcoholics, too often too drunk to properly care for their children. And like her, her mother had two men in her life.

Because Eric has also been an alcoholic since his teens, and is now too scared even to drink coffee because of the buzz, Delia becomes even more convinced that her father made the right choice by taking her away from her home. Acting within the law might have been disastrous: in the 1970s, Eric reminds the court, custody was almost always awarded to the mother, no matter how poor a parent she might be. The prosecution, however, casts doubt on Andrew’s version of events, and soon the whole case hinges on unreliable and unverifiable memories. 

Vanishing Acts is a superbly suspenseful courtroom drama with plenty of twists, as well as an unusual love story. But most importantly, it’s a well-written story that transcends the restrictions of genres and marketing categories because of Picoult’s remarkable gift for creating wonderfully well-rounded and multi-layered characters.

The plot tends to get complex, because it is. The characters speak to you like they are supposed to. The book remains in your thoughts longer than you think it would. All in all, it is one of those books that you cannot seem to forget easy. Picoult uses several different voices which lead the reader to, in pieces, discover the history of the family tragedy. Once again, Picoult makes us think about complex issues and even our own history while weaving a story that is so captivating you can’t put the book down.

Vanishing Acts; Picoult, Jodi; Hodder and Stoughton; Hachette Books; Rs. 295