Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Reviews: The Sweet Shop owner, The Help, and Brief Interview with Hideous men

The sweet-shop owner
(Graham Swift)
The Sweet Shop owner

This is a good book. Though the author has not gone out of his way to make it easy to read. It is the story of a special kind of love, a love which is arranged, but still as rock solid as any other kind of love one is likely to find. Where the implicit rules forbid one from making explicit mention of "love". Where effort is made to keep everything static, unchanging and if love was to be brought into the picture, it would result in too much change. My favorite line from the novel is:
 He wrote "5050 helmets" which, of course, meant "I love you."
While reading the book, I often felt as if I was reading another novel by Virginia Woolf. The style of narration is multiple streams of consciousness. However, in case of Virginia Woolf, one still gets long stretches of thoughts of one person before switching to another. However, Swift jumps gleefully from one person's thoughts to another and even through time at occasional places. It is disorienting, but since there is little to surprise in the book, it does not hamper the reading much.

Overall, a decent read.

The Help
(Kathryn Stockett)

Brief Interviews with hideous men
(David Foster Wallace)

The Help

This book has been made into a movie, which I have not seen. After reading the book, I can see why.

The narration of the story is good. In my personal opinion, as good as Gone with the wind. However, I am not very much into storytelling anyway. There were some pages which just had to be turned in the same session, and there were some places of dullness which were apt places to stop reading and take a break. A comfortable read.

The most entertaining part of the book for me were the various references to the events of that time and of future events sprinkled throughout the book, like assassination of JFK and a joking reference to when they land a man on the moon.

Overall, an enjoyable read.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

I could not finish reading this book. This book too has had a movie made on it, but I found the writing of the book to be too repetitive to be engaging. Perhaps actual conversations go that way, but I could not take the deluge of drab repetitions which the men made. More over, one does not know what is the question they are answering and though at times I could infer the questions and at some times, it adds to the reading, but I found it too tiring.

I usually do not leave books unread, taking it one page at a time, hoping that the next one would be better, but I did not find it to be worth it for this particular book.


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