Stories about novel

The Cuckoo’s Calling: Good under Robert Galbraith, excellent under JK Rowling

The Cuckoo’s Calling by author Robert Galbraith was doing an average business. Since April, 1500 copies had been sold, until it was leaked that the crime novel was actually written by none other than the queen herself, JK Rowling (JKR)! The leak propelled the novel to number one and reprints were ordered. Her fans (including me) was ecstatic and did all that we could to get our hands on The Cuckoo’s Calling. As it turned out, the book didn’t disappoint at all. However, JK Rowling has expressed her anger because she didn’t want her false identity as Robert Galbraith to be leaked to ...

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Inferno: Another addictive read by Dan Brown

With a Bourne Identity meets Dante meets Harris Tweed thriller, Dan Brown is back with a bang with his new novel, Inferno. With it we again meet the erudite Harvard symbolist Robert Langdon. Much was speculated before Inferno hit the shelves, including whether the book would be about Da Vinci’s long lost masterpiece in Florence, but the speculations have now been laid to rest. Warning: some spoiler ahead. Robert Langdon in this story finds himself in a Florence hospital with no recollection of how he got there. He only has a laser pointer that reveals renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli’s depiction of medieval ...

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Spoiler alert: The Casual Vacancy: Rowling shines again

JK Rowling has done it again. Her new novel The Casual Vacancy is a magnificently written piece of literature and one, which will be hotly debated in the coming months. Its language is salacious, its prose is incisive and its delivery is forceful. By writing The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling has made it clear that her range is not limited to writing fantasy novels only. The Casual Vacancy is the story of a little, apparently peaceful, English village of Pagford, whose façade of calm and serenity actually conceals an ongoing war between its inhabitants. The novel begins with the death of ...

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The best thing about an identity crisis

Exactly one year ago, on the very night I wrote this, I remember not being able to sleep. Such nights were common then. I would twist and turn for over five hours, lying in bed until finally, sleep would come. During those waking hours spent in bed I would cry. My anxiety attacks were so severe that I would fear I may die during the sleepless struggle. I knew I was on the precipice of a full-on identity crisis. In retrospect, I wonder now why I never bothered telling any family member or friend what was going on. Maybe, it was because I ...

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Cliches and curry: Writing fiction in Pakistan

As an aspiring novelist, I have found it increasingly important to understand the literary merits of contemporary fiction in Pakistan. This entailed a thorough investigation of genre, themes, stylistic elements and above all, the implementation of creative ideas. The purpose of examining these features is not to understand what standard is expected or what is being read. On the contrary, the intention of this exercise is for novelists to determine how this standard and readership can be diversified through their literary contribution. The challenge I began writing a novel when I was  seventeen. After two years of constant labour, I set the manuscript ...

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Imitating art

I was at the Karachi airport, waiting, and then from the blessed corner of the lounge where several rosaries were placed on a long prayer mat the azan was called. I welcomed it as an omen that the departure of my flight was about to be announced. But this azan too did not herald the awaited prize. No announcement followed. Depressed, I remarked that this was the third azan I had heard being called while I sat in the same seat. “Just the third?” the passenger sitting next to me asked. “It is the fifth I have heard. That is how ...

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Never let me go: A film that asks questions

Yesterday was the first day of the 54th BFI London Film Festival-and what a start it has proven to be. The opening night gala of Never Let Me Go, a film by Mark Romanek (acclaimed director of One Hour Photo) does not fail to impress. The film has a talented, young, British cast led by Keira Knightley (The Duchess 2008), Carey Mulligan (An Education 2009) and Andrew Garfield (The Social Network 2010). Based on the Booker Prize shortlisted novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go is a dystopian drama set in an alternative world, in which a ‘National ...

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Shobhaa has her day

Feisty, clever and – at times – abrasive, Shobhaa De has penned a plethora of electrifying books which, in their unorthodox appeal, have astounded critics and readers alike. The shock value of her work is as rich as her thoughtful renderings of Bombay, Bollywood, child-rearing, marriage and national pride. And yet, her writings have always been viewed skeptically on account of their sheer originality. On the other extreme, the element of subversion that is dominant in her work has always made one wary of her. It is this incongruous treatment of her novels that has baffled me ever since I ...

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Milan Kundera: high peaks, deep chasm

Who’d have expected an author’s fortunes in Hardywood to fluctuate so much with a single novel-screening? In the past, popular authors have been dumped unceremoniously, but has there ever been an author who, in a single novel-screening, has impressed the viewers greatly, and then, only a few hundred or so pages later been discarded with unspeakable disgust? Indeed a high peak, and then a deep chasm. Milan Kundera’s novel “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” was the first translation screening in Hardywood; in that sense, his debut was historic: Hardywood has always been hesitant in allowing translated novels, believing that in ...

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Hardywood: Aldous Huxley takes on Tolkien

“Hardywood is an imaginary world which developed in Hari Balasubramanian’s head when he was a child. In time, this world, predominantly inspired by comics and books and populated by fictional characters, came to encompass all his activities and interests. These pieces are written by journalists residing in Hardywood.The Hardywood committee announced the list of candidates who shall stand for the President’s post. However, the list, according to the committee, is really a tentative expression of its thoughts; it is likely that the list may change: additions and deletions can be made at any time. These were the precise words of ...

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