Monday, 19 June 2017

King Lear .. By William Shakespeare

King Lear is a tragic play written by the greatest writer of all time, William Shakespeare in the 17th century. I have often seen the film adaptation of this play, but reading it first hand was a completely different experience altogether.

The play is about an old King of Britain who decides to divide his realm among his three daughters and declares he will give the largest to the one who adores him the most. The two of his eldest daughters showers him with flattery, however, the youngest daughter, Cordelia bluntly refuses to declare her love saying there are no words to express or compare the love she holds for the king. This infuriates the king hugely and he decides to disinherit Cordelia and divide her share with his two eldest daughters. This disposition of King Lear's kingdom sets in motion lot of tragic consequences.

(King Lear mourns Cordelia's death)

King Lear is Shakespeare's one of the greatest tragic drama filled with incredibly violent catastrophes occurring to its dark and brooding characters. It represents the hunger for power and control; the evil inside a person and the madness of losing love or the trauma of finding something back that you hold dear. In the end, what matters is not survival, but one's personal principles. 

A fierce, uncompromising and intense play that is "best seen, not read", which holds true for every work of Shakespeare, especially the concluding scene that challenges the tears to shatter and achieve absolution. This combination of great story and superlative narration is what makes it a legend.

Happy Reading!!!

Monday, 12 June 2017

A Dance with Dragons .. Game of Thrones .. # 5 .. By George R.R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth and the last published installment of the Game of Thrones The Song of Ice and Fire series out of the seven books that R.R. Martin planned to release. 

This everlasting fantasy piqued my interest in the whole tale so much that I completed the entire volume of more than 700 pages per book in less than a month. No one would ever understand the pointless insanity to read this seemingly endless opus of sword fights for an ugly chair.

Well, I suppose the insanity wouldn't have turned into lucidity if it hadn't been for the HBO production house who created a sensical story out of Martin's unruly narration. 

This book turned out ok compared to its prequel which was an absolute disaster. The plot picks up where Storm of Swords ended and runs almost concurrently at least for the first half with Feast for Crows. The story has already spun out of control and that too with the additions of so many new characters which flit past so quickly that they would barely create any impression on the readers.

All in all, the book was a bleak rendition with only one cliffhanger up its sleeve which is the speculation concerning the release dates of the last two books.

Before the conclusion of this bitter-sweet serialized drama, I would follow the tradition of giving the crude summary of the series comparing it with the TV show - (Including only the essential bits of the story)

On the wall, Jon becomes the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and tries to resettle the wildlings to the south with the help of Stannis. Despite the Red Woman's warning, he ends up getting stabbed in the back by many of his own men for giving land to the wildlings.

Across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion is smuggled to Pentos by Varys to help and advice Daenerys Targaryen on her conquest. It is also revealed that Prince Aegon, son of Rhaeghar Targaryen, is alive and Tyrion supports his claim of the Iron Throne. (Contrary to the series, Aegon is still dead and Tyrion's wits and wisdom is reserved only for Khaleesi)

In Braavos, Arya continues her training with the Faceless Men after her temporary blindness, she develops her sense of hearing and soon is given the task of assassination after which she is declared an apprentice of the Faceless Men. 

In Meereen, Daenerys struggles to keep peace within the city and also to keep control of her dragons. In order to preserve Meereen's history and gain the trust of its people, she reopens the fighting pits against her better judgment and ends up in a terrible mess.

In King's Landing, Cersie acquires a new toy of destruction in the form of an invincible "Mountain" (Sir Gregor Clegane), after facing the utter humiliation from the High Sparrow and his disciples. 

Here is the end of my takes on this series until the last two books - The Winds of Winter and The Dream of Spring is released.

In case you missed the reviews of the previous books, please check out the below links -

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Hungry Tide .. By Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh is one of the best Indian Authors and The Hungry Tide is one of his finest books which has won the Hutch Crossword Book Award in 2004. This book tells us a story about the horrors lying within the confines of Sunderban Delta and describes in a subtle fashion, how the life of this tide country is immensely different from the rest of India. 

It was so strange to understand the fascination, the tide country holds for its people who are constantly struggling with the floods, water-borne diseases, daily attacks by vicious predators and barely coping with poverty. Yet Amitav describes this melancholy in such a fashion, one can't help but fall in love with the wide flowing mighty rivers, the mystery of the mangrove forests, the playful riverine dolphins and the serenity of the Isles. And the most enchanting part of this book was the mysterious tale of Bon Bibi, which was poetically recited by the author.

It was a heart-tugging story with a touch of an unnatural narration using winds and water which had an almost supernatural rhythm to it. Such a phenomenal thought can only be brought about by reading and discovering the finest qualities of storytelling one could hope for.

Happy Reading!!!