Tag Archives: Prose

Something Bright, Then Holes by Maggie Nelson

Something Bright, Then Holes Title: Something Bright, Then Holes
Author: Maggie Nelson
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
ISBN: 978-1593762308
Genre: Poems, Prose
Pages: 96
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

Maggie Nelson is a genius. No really, she actually is. Have no doubt when it comes to this. Her prose and poetry shines and is enchanting to the very last word. I have read close to 3 books by her and I can say with complete confidence that there is no one like her. Sometimes I do not even know if her writing is prose or poetry or a combination of both. Whatever it is, it is glorious and deserves to be read by one and all.

Something Bright, Then Holes is full of empathy. Everything she writes is as a matter of fact. To me that stands out in her writing and the only reason why I love her writing the way I do, beside of course the language. However, you cannot separate the two anyway. Also, this collection cannot be compared to Bluets and you shouldn’t if you have read Bluets. This collection is divided into three parts – a new relationship being embarked on and a polluted waterway in Brooklyn, the second is the aftermath of a paralysing accident that Nelson’s friend goes through and the third is her attempt to get over a failed relationship.

Each section is raw, intense and utterly heartbreaking. It is as though you are being tied to a chair and the person you love the most is walking away from you, and you cannot do anything about it. The collection is unapologetic and she doesn’t put on a brave face – her writing conveys, mostly painfully, what she is going through. Each sentence stands out from the other and lends itself a new voice. Maggie Nelson as usual doesn’t disappoint at all. Everything is satisfactory, even the hurt and the pain, especially the hurt and the pain. Read it. Please be prepared to weep.

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Our World – Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver

Our World - Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver Title: Our World
Author: Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807068809
Genre: Poetry, Prose, Non-Fiction, Photography
Pages: 96
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I had heard of Mary Oliver through Brainpickings.org and I was in love with her poetry. There is something to it, which I cannot attach a word to. I am sure other readers of her poems will agree with what I have to say. However, the book read first in the month was not her book of poems. It was more of a memoir and not quite that. It was a book on her life with her partner of forty years, Molly Malone Cook. “Our World” is the name of the book. The title is so apt, more so when the works of both people are merged, then the result is something so deep, personal and emotional.

Our World - Image 1

“Our World” is a book that demands to be savoured and read in gulps. The photographs shot by Molly and the words provided by Mary are so complimentary that you cannot take one from the other. Molly was Mary’s partner of forty years, as I mentioned before. This book is almost a dedication to her, as she passed away from lung cancer. Mary remembers the moments spent without being too sentimental about them. She remembers their life (funny how two lives when combined become this one singular entity of love and everything hopeful) together and the small and the big things. I think that is life after all – the good life – the life spent together and there is nothing else to it then.

Molly’s photographs talk of reality. They speak to the reader/viewer of simplicity and kindness. They radiate joy. Mary invites us to her most personal aspect – the relationship she shared with Molly. Every face in the photographs is communicated. Every word that Mary writes is enchanting. Not to forget some pieces from Molly’s journal towards the end that leaves a lump in the throat. Read this book just so you can believe in togetherness all over again and if you already do, then it will just reaffirm it for you.

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Book Review: The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

The-Sound-of-Letting-Go Title: The Sound of Letting Go
Author: Stasia Ward Kehoe
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
ISBN: 978-0670015535
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

“The Sound of Letting Go”. I wanted to read the book only because of the title. I did not even go and check the synopsis or the plot. I knew I had to read this book and this is what happens sometimes. You need to read the book.

“The Sound of Letting Go” by Stasia Ward Kehoe is about Daisy, a sixteen year old and her younger brother who is autistic and her parents. So basically, it is about her parents sending her brother to an institution and how Daisy decides to no longer be a good girl. It is almost her form of revenge and getting back at her folks. And then of course enters a young man, Cal, who makes her see things differently.

The character of Daisy is well-etched and yet there are times you cannot help despising her, and very soon you grow to love her as well. That is the way the writer sees it, so be it.

What I loved about the book is the way it is written. It is prose poetry and the writing is exquisite. I know it is an author most of us have not heard of, but now you have and according to me you should read this, if you are interested in young adult fiction. Kehoe’s writing is not complicated at all. It is simple and impacts when it should.

I breezed through the book. It is painfully honest and talks of family dynamics and relationships unlike any other young adult novel I have read in a long time. There is the right balance of plot, characters and what will happen next. To some extent, I also thought that Kehoe had way too much insight in her characters, but that is the only way to write a book.

“The Sound of Letting Go” is a book which is sweet, bitter, sad, happy and sometimes just heart-breaking.

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Book Review: On Tagore: Reading the Poet Today by Amit Chaudhuri

Title: On Tagore: Reading the Poet Today
Author: Amit Chaudhuri
Publisher: Penguin Viking India
ISBN: 978-0-670-08621-4
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 178
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

When you write about Tagore, you take a risk. A major risk at that. It is not easy then to talk about the man and his works over years of writing – plays, prose and poetry and more so to lucidly make sense of what he meant and why. So when I received copy of “On Tagore” by Amit Chaudhuri from Penguin, I was a little skeptical to read it. Why? For the simple reason that I hold Tagore in high regard and didn’t want my semi-god stance to shatter to pieces.

Rabindranath Tagore was quite a radical thinker in his own ways. I would also go a step further and say that he was one of the first writers of the country whose heroines were liberated in their thinking and sometimes action and that said a lot about him as a person. Amit Chaudhuri’s five essays on the writer explore different facets of Tagore – his thoughts, his concerns with the movement, the modernist, the conventional and sometimes the revolutionary. Amit Chaudhuri paints a picture of Tagore like no other and to manage that in less than two hundred pages is something commendable.

Amit Chaudhuri also touches on the topic of what it is like to read Tagore today and what it actually means. He talks of the dichotomy in Tagore’s works and explains it as clearly as possible through Geetanjali, heavily through his prose, a few other poems and his songs. I liked how Mr. Chaudhuri covered almost every aspect of the writer and the relation to modernity and relation to contemporary society.

On Tagore can get to be a dull read for people who aren’t interested in Tagore’s writing or his style. I do not recommend this book to everyone, but definitely to those who are interested in knowing more about Indian Literature’s doyen and his works, should definitely not give this work a miss.

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