Showing posts from November, 2011
The Paris WifePaula McLainIt must be difficult to be married to an artist. First, there is the screwed up, tortured mind to deal with – no artist worth his or her salt is normal, we all know. Then there is the bohemian lifestyle that seems to be de rigueur. And topping it all is the gargantuan ego warring with crushing self-doubt, both of which need such sensitive handling. Why would anyone subject oneself to a life of such complexity?Hadley Richardson is a normal girl living her youth in early 20th century America. She is living with her sister and her husband after losing a father to suicide, another sister to an accident and a mother to illness. Hadley is waiting for her life to bloom, waiting for adventure, waiting for the dance to start. She visits some friends in big city Chicago one weekend and meets the man who will change her life – a twenty year old Ernest Hemingway, tall, handsome, brimming with ambition, charming beyond resistance. “..he seemed to do happiness all the way …
Julian BarnesThank God for the Booker. I would never have attempted reading Barnes if he hadn’t won the prize for The Sense of An Ending. And reading him has given me so much of pleasure in the last few days.The Sense of An Ending is quite a gem. It is a meditation on the illusory nature of time and memory, told by Tony Webster as he reflects on a life mildly lived, or so he thinks. As he delves into the depths of his memory, he realises how memory can play tricks, and that reality is often so distant from what memory serves up. Adrian, Alex and Tony are school friends in days when “we imagined ourselves as being kept in some kind of holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives. And when that moment came, our lives – and time itself – would speed up.” He reflects on those early days of precocious youth when the fear was that “Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature. Look at our parents – were they stuff of Literature?” Adrian is the cleverer, more seriously philosophical of…

By Haruki Murakami

1Q84 is vintage Alice-in-Wonderland Murakami. It is also a love story and a thriller. It kept me enthralled through much of its large number of pages and when it was over, there was that bit of regret that always accompanies the end of an engaging book.Aomame and Tengo are the lonely boy and lonely girl who meet and part when they are ten years old and from then on carry a part of each other with them as they go about their not-so-ordinary lives. It takes twenty years before a shift in the time-space continuum get them to start looking for each other. It is 1984, not yet Orwellian, but Aomame goes under a freeway and comes out into a shifted world that she names 1Q84. There are two moons in this world, policemen’s uniforms are changed and they carry more sophisticated weapons. There are cults and cult leaders who hear voices from Little People and have sex with pre-pubescent girls. There are alter egos and sex through mediums (not a new concept in Murakami novels…