Stories about novels

‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’ and ‘Judas’: Two riveting masterpieces from Israel to the world

‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’ by David Grossman Dov Greenstein, the stand-up comedian at the centre of David Grossman’s quirky and ravishing new novel ‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’ confesses: “It’s a pretty pathetic form of entertainment, let’s be honest.” But whether his jokes are drab or stirring, whacky or offensive, this book, as austere as it is hilarious, never loses sight of the earnestness of its authors undulating vision and ambition even while casually masquerading as a comic novel. Spanning a single evening and set in a chic nightclub in Netanya, a small town in Israel, the novel tells the story of the stand-up ...

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Ten modern classics you should read this fall

Before I give you a list, here’s a confession: there can never be any right or wrong list of good books, and this is neither. Lists of books, like literary prizes, or any other prizes for that matter (read Oscar and/or Nobel) are extremely subjective and reflect the personal tastes and inclinations of those who concoct them. Following are a few books, which, I believe, have stood the test of time, books that delight and astound every time you read them, books that offer new rewards each time you approach them. These books have been rightly called ‘modern classics’ because they ...

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Homegoing: An uncompromising and astonishing book

Every year, there comes a novel with the kind of pre-publication hype that puts all other contemporary writing in shade. There are endorsements by popular writers, generous blurbs printed on back covers by famous critics and talks of million-dollar book deals and film rights. This year, that book comes in the shape of Homegoing, the debut novel of Yaa Gyasi, a 26-year-old Ghanaian-American writer. One particular feature of such marketing campaigns and publicity tactics is that more than often, the novel shatters the hopes of the readers; it becomes an anti-climax to their fecund anticipations that are fermented by the abundance of praise and excitement ...

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A Whole Life: Less than 150 pages but one of the most deeply affecting books I have ever read

My favourite book of the last year was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Despite its ironic title the novel was little in no way, far from it. At around 800 pages, it was one of the longest novels I read last year and was gargantuan in every way possible; in terms of its subject matter, its length and in terms of the depth and resonance of its character. My favourite book of this year, so far, is the exact opposite: Austrian writer Robert Seethaler’s novel, A Whole Life. Yet again, despite its ironic title, the novel runs a little ...

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9 books that are literary treasures of 2015

Just like any other year in recent memory, this year, too, saw the publication of several overrated, overhyped, droningly disastrous and infuriating books. However, when the Swedish academy decided to award this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature to a non-fiction writer, the Belarusian journalist, Svetlana Alexievich, it was clear that 2015 will be remembered as an eccentric and exciting year for booklovers. Yet, that was not the only reason that set 2015 apart; this year was also rife with several hotly anticipated books by literary masters and a plethora of enthralling and breathtakingly promising books by debut writers. Unsurprisingly, one ...

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God Help the Child: A searing and unflinching reflection of childhood trauma

Author Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She is an 84-year-old writer who has been writing novels over the past 50 years which are charged by a visionary power and have subjected a dark aspect of American reality to scrutiny. She is an epicist of African-American experience and her oeuvre has recorded the progress (or lack thereof) in the struggle for human rights of the people of colour in the United States. In most of her novels, Morrison has written about the sufferings of African-Americans at the hands of their counterparts, the whites, in the United States. However, the premise of her latest novel is quite different. ...

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A Girl is a Half-formed Thing: A lame excuse of a novel

If you are looking for a beach read or a book to read in a dim-lit, dingy café over caramel macchiato and death by chocolate brownie, then Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is not the book for you. For it is a book which requires unbridled and undivided attention. As frankly put as possible, this is an exceedingly difficult book to read. With this book, McBride has made a breakthrough debut; although doing so was no easy task. It took McBride six months to write this book and over nine years to find a publisher. However, much to the chagrin of ...

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Robert Galbriath’s Silkworm weaving threads of literary brilliance

JK Rowling is a global phenomenon. She is not just a great novelist but also the leader of a global cult that she has assiduously concocted.  Her novels, though considered to be aimed for juvenile readers by literary critics, are voraciously enjoyed and praised by children and adults alike. Her work certainly cannot be regarded as ‘literary fiction’ but in the realm of popular-genre fiction, she is surely the well-deserved knighted queen. Her first book in the Harry Potter series was rejected by as much as 12 publishers, but soon after its publication, Rowling took the world by storm and her storytelling struck a chord with millions ...

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Red Riding Wolf, the child abuser

Red Riding Wolf  I once heard a storyteller say, it’s not about the story… for stories are all the same; it’s how you tell a story that makes it different. Today, we embark on the journey of telling you tales popularly heard and read as fairytales, folklore, plays, novels and poems and give you a new perspective on them – a little something to ponder upon. We take a popular read and bridge it to our surroundings; we play on the nuances, the implied reality between the lines, the obvious being told and the vague that is suggested. The idea behind this concept is to ...

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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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