Thursday, December 15, 2011
More mini-reviews - India, dystopia and turn-of-the-century Paris
I actually wanted to do a separate post about this book, but I read it back in August and left it so late and I've forgotten all the things I wanted to say. What stayed with me most, I think, is the feeling that I'm very lucky to be living where I'm living. I read this book - with its descriptions of the harsh realities of life in the slums and life as hired help for the rich - while on holiday in a lovely cottage in Wales, so I guess thoughts of gratitude were inevitable. The White Tiger is the story of Balram, a man born into a poor Indian family, but who isn't prepared to accept his fate, but instead dreams of escape. He eventually creates his own truth about what that means and about what successful people are prepared to do to get and keep success - and acts accordingly. A fantastic book, incredibly well-written, tackling interesting issues and exposing parts of the human soul that most of us don't like to think about... What are you prepared to do to get the life you want? The White Tiger won the Man Booker Prize in 2008.
This is what I read in one day when I was sick at home and trying to read A Discovery of Witches. I'm so glad I put that book down and picked up Holes instead, what a difference! Stanley Yelnats is accused of stealing a pair of shoes and is sent to Camp Green Lake as punishment. But Camp Green Lake is nothing like what it sounds - there is a warden who makes the boys dig holes all day, every day. No choice and no way out. Why? What's behind the digging? What's the truth about Stanley's family? Great book - it won the Newbery Medal in 1999 and the National Book Award in 1998, with good reason.
This is actually two books, which I didn't realise until I bought it! Gigi is on my 2011 list from Alex a.k.a. The Sleepless Reader - I didn't know the story and I enjoyed the turn-of-the-century Paris story of a young girl who everyone was trying to mould into a woman. I love how she thinks and I love how she turns out in the end. Charming. Strangely, since I'm a total musical fan, I've never seen the movie, but now I'll have to. I've never even heard of the second novella, The Cat, before, but I liked it even more than I liked Gigi! It's about a young couple where the man is more interested in his cat than in his young bride. And the young bride is jealous! I loved the slightly creepy feel to it, especially as the man became more and more like the cat.... Very Kafka-esque. Thanks Alex, for enriching my life with these classics!