By: Salman Rushdie
Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.
This book has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read since last summer. I’ve heard of Salman Rushdie long before that and of his books but I never bothered picking one of his works up until last summer. This book in particular has gotten a lot of attention, winning the Man Booker and then winning the Best of Bookers just a few years ago. I also wanted to read it because I heard it was really the book to turn to showcasing India. Having seen the recent state of my TBR list, I decided to take the book up with me to res and read it.
Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve done a review, lol. To be honest, I haven’t been reading as much as usual (which makes sense since I’m on exchange, don’t have a lot of English books on me, and have far too many other things preoccupying my time for the past month and a bit). But at last, a review (albeit a somewhat short one?)!
By: Dan Simmons
On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens–at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world–hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever . Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?
This book has been on my want-to-read list for quite a while actually. I was in desperate need of something this one time I was out waiting for an appointment and ended up picking this book up because unlike in North America, it’s in mass bound paperback form here (though it looks like it’s coming out in mass paperback over there soon too). The plot and setting intrigued me especially as I’ve written some of the books written by both Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.
I’ve been meaning to make post a couple of reviews from a couple of books I’ve read recently but have been too busy with things offline. And because I’m gearing up and wrapping up a number of things before I go off on vacation next week, I’m just going to post them all in this entry (albeit really briefly).
- Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger
- Christopher Reich’s Rules of Betrayal & Rules of Vengeance
- Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited
- Lev Grossman’s The Magicians
- Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated
The Forgotten Garden
By: Kate Morton
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book-a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-fi rst birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled.
It’s funny because the reason I learned of this novel was because I kept seeing it at Costco whenever I go with my mum. Reading the premise for the first time, I wasn’t so sure about it. So I put it back down. The next time I was there, I saw it again, thought about it some more and the decided not to again. Third time was the charm because I started reading a few pages and decided it was interesting enough to follow through. And I’m glad I did read it because it was much more interesting than I initially thought and apparently a lot of people over at GoodReads, both on my flist and from looking at the reviews, gave it good reviews. Spoilers ahead!
By: Ian McEwan
On a chilly February day two old friends meet in the throng outside a crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly’s lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence — Clive as Britain’s most successful modern composer, Vernon as editor of the broadsheet The Judge. But gorgeous, feisty Molly had other lovers too, notably Julian Garmony, the Foreign Secretary, a notorious right-winger poised to be the next prime minister. What happens in the aftermath of her funeral has a profound and shocking effect on all her lovers’ lives, and erupts in the most purely enjoyable fiction Ian McEwan has ever written.
This book has been on my want-to-read list for a very long time, probably around the time that I finished reading his book Atonement (which I absolutely loved to pieces; you can read my highly spoilerish review over here). I finally got my hands on it last week and read it last night; it’s a slim volume and I decided not to try updating my website layout so I just delved into the novel in one go. Spoilers ahoy!