Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I picked up this book at a bookshop in Calcutta (sorry, Kolkata) when I was there a weekend back for a friend's marriage.

The marriage went well; I finished reading Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup there and I began reading A Spot of Bother on the flight back. I picked it up incidentally with Satya, who bought Umberto Eco's In the Name of the Rose. We were both waiting for "Twilight New Moon" to start and had a few hours to kill, so we each bought a book and sat in Barista waiting for our show timings. We had to get on the metro and get back home as well. Yes, the Empire Theatre it was.

But I digress.

So in this book, George is going to suffer a nervous breakdown and is slowly losing his mind. His daughter will embark on a second marriage with a man she may or may not love, his wife is having an affair with an ex-colleague and his son is an out of the closet homosexual.

I don't know why they said this book was funny - I really only liked the last few chapters. They were really quite funny, particularly the marriage scene. The rest of the book was a bit scary and there was one chapter where I had to put the book down - I was so worried for George. In the end, all went okay - I shouldn't give away the ending though.

I don't think this will be made into a movie. It isn't that bad a book to read though. 3/5 overall I'd say.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Six suspects by Vikas Swarup

The second of Swarup's books, this one is following on from the radical success of Q&A. Funnily enough I had reviewed Q&A for my local journal, and it was an interesting read. The film I thought was a good adaptation, with the necessary twists and turns that the big screen requires.

Six Suspects makes for a fast read. The ending isn't too great though, so I warn you in advance. You'll get caught up in the characters, but I thought that towards the middle it became a bit too dragging. I read this book standing in the queue while boarding my Indigo flight to Kolkata, so you can imagine how much concentration the book really requires. I think that it's one of those books you can read on the trainride/metro ride to work.

It's a sad commentary though on our times. Here politicians run rampant, a murderer goes free for lack of evidence and the world of tinsel town gets exposed for its murky worst. There is a Onge tribesperson who comes up from the Andamans only to have a glimpse of the sad state of affairs on the mainland, which the author calls "India". Made me think, what is the Andamans all about then?

Not too much is made of the life of the Onge on the island though. It seemed like all the new generation did was drink and make merry, with the old customs slowly disappearing. The corrupt nature of the welfare people was also brought out.

All in all, an interesting read. I recommend it to one and all. On a scale of one to five, I'd give it a three.

I think I'll stick to my Salman Rushdie. Though in the interim I'll finish a few more novels first. I find that Rushdie takes me a long time to finish.