I haven’t been accepting books for review for quite some time – mainly because I don’t like the pressure (that I put on myself) to review a book that has been gifted to me. However, last week I was offered one book that tempted me, and soon enough I went down the rabbit hole of accepting books for review.
I was really excited when I heard the news that Arundhati Roy after the longest break was back with a new fictional book. The very day the book was published I was in the bookstore asking to buy a copy.
And then I read some lukewarm reviews, and then I saw that it didn’t make it into the Man Booker shortlist. And then I put this book on the backburner.
I couldn’t stay away from it too long though, and once I started I simply fell in love with the beautiful writing. Sure, the book has its flaws, but despite (or maybe because) I have fallen headlong in love with it.
There are some books that draw you in from the very first sentence itself. Very powerful, and reflects the tone of the rest of the story beautifully. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it sets up for a very great book. I loved this opening sentence from Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.
This book came to me unrequested from Penguin Random House, and I put it on the back of my TBR list, intending to read it at some vague point in time when I had nothing on hand to read. After all the title is so cliché – The Poison of Love? All I could think of when I saw the book was that slogan that so many cabbies and auto-drivers put up on their vehicles – Love is slow poison. So yeah, when a book title reminds you of corny auto-drivers, it’s not a good sign.
Nevertheless it looked like a short and easy read, so I put up my feet one sweltering Sunday afternoon, and read this book from start to finish. And then I put it down and read it again. My mind was blown by just how powerful a punch this book packs.
When I teased an excerpt from this book earlier this week, I mentioned that the book was about the relationship between a boy and his father. I was a bit hasty in slotting the book in that way, because it turns out that it isn’t so much about a father-son relationship, but it’s more like the protagonist’s relationship with himself.
The Mask Diaries by Abhinav Goel is one of my more interesting reads of late. I have been reading it over the weekend, and am quite intrigued by what seems to be a very unusual story about a dysfunctional father and son relationship. Here’s a teaser: