Loot

Loot1LOOT and other Stories

by Nadine Gordimer | 237 Pages | Genre: Short Stories| Publisher: bloomsbury | Year: 2004 | Rating: 9/10

Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer explores tragedy and opportunity through the lives of a town’s survivors of an earthquake through the story ‘Loot’, which has the most lyrical narrative among the rest. Loot explores the greed and avarice of people when the ocean bed is bare with treasures, and people are ready to go to extremes to possess others memories. In the end the story takes on a political undertone setting the mood for the entire collection of stories.

My most favorite story in the collection is ‘The Generation Gap’, a sexual allegory of romance and responsibilities, youth and age. It has four grown-up children srambling the lives after their father end the relationship of 42 years and leaves their mother for another woman their age. What follows is an upheaval of the dynamics of their old life; familiar roles and definitions are changed, relationship lines are redrawn. I liked its almost-detached reportage quality of narration, an outsider’s view of a very personal matter, and  that the story never declines into melodrama despite its very nature.

The other stories that I truly enjoyed are ‘Karma’ and ‘Look-Alikes’. This uncomfortably beautiful and wittingly startling book is ‘My Read of the Week’.

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The Art of the Infinite

books“We commonly think of ourselves as little and lost in the infinite stretches of time and space, so that it comes as a shock when the French poet Baudelaire speaks of ‘cradling our infinite on the finite seas’. Really? Is it ourself, our mind or spirit, that is infinity’s proper home? Or might the infinite be neither out there nor in here but only in language, a pretty conceit of poetry?”   – Robert Kaplan & Ellen Kaplan, The Art of the Infinite: Our Lost Language of Numbers

The Kaplans have brought out the beauty of math through an engaging mix of history, philosophy, science and lyrical prose, equations, geometric projections, exposition and explanation of a unique range of topics from Alcibiades  to Godel to Gauss.

Being a lover of numbers, this delightful book ‘The art of the infinite’ is my ‘Read of the Week’.

The Sisters Brothers

9781847083180“Come with me into the world and reclaim your independence. You stand to gain so much, and riches are the least of it.”
– Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers
This books made me laugh with its adroit humor and cringe at the same time. Delightful. The story is narrated by Eli Sisters, a hired killer on the American west coast in 1851, around the time of the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada mountains. However Eli barely gives the American landscape a glance, and people met along the way are simple figures in his moral drama. Nor does Eli have any larger philosophical or socio-historical insights to offer for the century this story is set in. This hilariously anti-heroic and relentlessly compelling novel is my “Read of the Week”.

The Tiger’s Wife

8366403When your fight has purpose—to free you from something, to interfere on the behalf of an innocent—it has a hope of finality. When the fight is about unraveling—when it is about your name, the places to which your blood is anchored, the attachment of your name to some landmark or event—there is nothing but hate, and the long, slow progression of people who feed on it and are fed it, meticulously, by the ones who come before them. Then the fight is endless, and comes in waves and waves, but always retains its capacity to surprise those who hope against it.”
― Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife

This novel full of historic and human complexities of Balkans through its principal narrator, Natalia Stefanovic, a young doctor who lives with her mother, grandmother and grandfather in an unnamed Balkan city early in the 21st century, is my “Read of the Week”.

American Gods

113767203What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.” ― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

 

This dark, poetic and thrilling novel across an American landscape is my “Read of the Week”.

River of Smoke

150px-River_of_smoke“Opium is like the wind or the tides: it is outside my power to affect its course. A man is neither good nor evil because he sails his ship upon the wind. It is his conduct towards those around him – his friends, his family, his servants – by which he must be judged”

– Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke

‘River of Smoke’, a brilliant historical fiction set in late 19th century China is my “Read of the week”.

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