i haven’t blogged about books lately, so here are the last four books i read:
the wedding officer by anthony capella
a wonderful, light read. history, romance and food, all in one scrumptious mix. set in italy during wwII, it describes the growing relationship between a british officer tasked with preventing soldiers from marrying italian brides, and an italian woman who cooks for him. i will definitely check out capella for further light reads!
hullabaloo in the guava orchard by kiran desai
another light read, more of a novella than a novel. it was refreshing as a satire of indian society, a nice change from my usual choice of genre, but nothing i would necessarily recommend unless satire and magical realism is your thing. there is no comparison to ‘inheritance of loss’.
calcutta exile by bunny suraiya
i reviewed this book for another blog, check it out here.
the reluctant fundamentalist by mohsin hamid
i no longer recall why, but when this novel first made its debut, i decided i would avoid reading it. i do remember the title putting me off, and i’m sure i had a glib conversation with someone about it, and after that it never made its way to my reading list again. until it was recently gifted to me, in my book drought phase. so i read it, and was pleasantly surprised. the novel is in fact highly engaging and intelligent, and not what you may expect from its title. the only aspect to annoy me slightly was that the entire novel consists of a monologue. but even that is undertaken with great skill by the author. his other books are definitely on my to read list!
“I was, in four and a half years, never an American; I was immediately a New Yorker.”
“I resolved to look about me with an ex-janissary’s gaze.. Seen in this fashion I was struck by how traditional your empire appeared. Armed sentries manned the check post at which I sought entry; being of a suspect race I was quarantined and subjected to additional inspection; once admitted I hired a charioteer who belonged to a serf class lacking the requisite permissions to abide legally and forced therefore to accept work at lower pay; I myself was a form of indentured servant whose right to remain was dependent upon the continued benevolence of my employer.”
“As a society, you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority. And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions of your tantrums..”
“..it is not always possible to restore one’s boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be. Something of us is now outside, and something of the outside is now within us.”