Front Cover Friday – 7

This week’s cover that appealed to me is a book I haven’t read from an author I have never heard of. But it still managed to catch my eye.

There is something about that blood red balloon in a grey and white background that is simultaneously intriguing and disturbing. It gives me goosebumps and reminds me of something sinister…of something bad that has happened in this house (The red of course, symbolising blood). At the same time, there is the symbol that the book may have something to do with children…the balloon. I can still remember being fascinated by helium balloons and how they would stay stuck up there on the ceiling until they lost the helium. The book to me looks like it might be about innocence lost.

According to Fantastic Fiction (UK), this is a synopsis of the book:

TV producer Fliss Benson receives an anonymous card at work. The card has sixteen numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four — numbers that mean nothing to her. On the same day, Fliss finds out she’s going to be working on a documentary about miscarriages of justice involving cot death mothers wrongly accused of murder. The documentary will focus on three women: Helen Yardley, Sarah Jaggard and Rachel Hind. All three women are now free, and the doctor who did her best to send them to prison for life, child protection zealot Dr Judith Duffy, is under investigation for misconduct. For reasons she has shared with nobody, this is the last project Fliss wants to be working on. And then Helen Yardley is found dead at her home, and in her pocket is a card with sixteen numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four …

After reading the synopsis, the book does appeal to me. It looks like it could be a light read (I love thrillers and mysteries even though I am now a pro at figuring out who-dun-it) and tackles the serious issue of child protection at the same time. I think I am going to keep my eyes open at my local library for this one.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry is the most recent book by Audrey Niffenegger, the author of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife‘.

Identical twins Valentina and Julia inherit their’s aunt Elspeth’s apartment and belongings in London on the condition that they do not allow their parents Edie (Elspeth’s identical twin) and Jack into the apartment and live there for a year. Elspeth and Edie have been estranged for years and the twins haven’t known their aunt while growing up in America. They are obviously surprised to hear from their aunt’s solicitor but agree to go to London to spend a year in their aunt’s house by themselves at the age of 21 hoping to find out some of her secrets.

However, the twins are in for a surprise. Their aunt Elspeth has not left. Although she is buried with the rest of the Noblin family in Highgate Cemetery (which is just across the apartment), her ghost still exists in the apartment. As the twins try and figure out their neighbours, Robert who was Elspeth’s partner, and Martin, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (and possibly agoraphobia in my opinion) and doesn’t leave his apartment. they also have to deal with living by themselves, understanding themselves and attempting to communicate with Elspeth.

The relationship between Valentina and Julia is explored. Valentina dreams of doing things on her own but is smothered by Julia, the dominant and bossy twin. Valentina’s efforts to have a relationship with Robert and a life of her own are tested. And Julia, who starts feeling neglected and resentful at Valentina not needing her, tries to help Martin. The world of the supernatural is also explored through Elspeth and how she learns to communicate with the twins and Robert.

Does Valentina manage to escape from Julia’s shadow?

Do we find out why Elspeth decided to leave everything to twins she had never met?

Does Julia ever figure out what to do with her life?

And can you fool around with the supernatural and live to talk about it?

My view on the book: Meh. It was not great. It was an easy read and kept you interested but was kind of predictable as it got near the end. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters apart from Martin. Julia was too bossy and annoying for me. Valentina was too timid and too anxious…I just wanted to shake some sense into her! Robert was all right but it was a bit weird that he went out with Valentina after Elspeth’s death. Almost had an incestuous feel to it. Elspeth was too mean and cold. The twins’ parents were too distant.

If you’ve read the book, let me know your thoughts.

If you haven’t read the book, well, don’t rush to get it. You can wait till it’s on sale. Or borrow it from the library. I give it a 2

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Front Cover Friday – 6

I could not resist to pick up both the covers of the book. :P
There is something awesomely beautiful about both. Beauty that has some twinge. You know what I mean ?

I see the beautifully designed veranda where the girl is standing and the teapot work as metaphors. Beautiful yet some sadness associated with them.

The Synopsis from Amazon says

In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested, wrongly accused of being a spy. Terrified by his disappearance, his family must reconcile a new world of cruelty and chaos with the collapse of everything they have known.

As Isaac navigates the tedium and terrors of prison, forging tenuous trusts, his wife feverishly searches for him, suspecting, all the while, that their once-trusted housekeeper has turned on them and is now acting as an informer. And as his daughter, in a childlike attempt to stop the wave of baseless arrests, engages in illicit activities, his son, sent to New York before the rise of the Ayatollahs, struggles to find happiness even as he realizes that his family may soon be forced to embark on a journey of incalculable danger.

A page-turning literary debut, The Septembers of Shiraz simmers with questions of identity, alienation, and love, not simply for a spouse or a child, but for all the intangible sights and smells of the place we call home.

Some reviews say from page one it is found that it is not fun or easy read. Another reviewer gave this small example from the book which says a lot about the book.

a man is arrested and the novel explores how it affects him, his wife, son and daughter.

a few lines i think sums up the theme of the story:

“what an illusion, the idea of an ordered, ordinary life.”

“doesn’t every person who finds himself in dire circumstances believe, deep down, that he will make it”

“we must take the weeds out of the soil.”

“you have to dream, otherwise how can you get by.” ( Via Librarything.com )

Even though the plot looks interesting et al; I am not sure it will be easy read and for everyone. Unless and until exploring other cultures; lives of people in other countries; interest people ; the book will not be an interesting choice.

I might  get back to pick it up some day who knows ?  Right now I am finding covers more attracting.

Which covers are attracting you these days ?

The White Tiger

…by Aravind Adiga.

The story is about Balram, born in one of the poorest villages in India, the Darkness, as he calls it; he is forced out of school to work in a local tea shop. As the boy realizes that he is no good at helping out in the shop, he decides he wants to learn driving to become a driver. And he goes on to achieve his goal…a local taxi driver teaches him driving for a price and then Balram finds a job as a driver to one of the landlords’ family from his village. Eventually, he moves to Delhi with the landlord’s son, an American return.

What happens in Delhi, how Balram grasps the master-servant divide that is prevalent all over the country, how he gets fed up being the servant and plots bigger plans, how he goes from a driver in Delhi to a rich entrepreneur in Banglore, what all he sacrifices, what gruesome acts he does in order to achieve his ambition to become that business man…all that constitutes to the rest of this interesting tale. Sometimes intriguing, sometimes witty, the book delves well into that big divide of classes, the rich and the poor, in India.

I have mixed feelings about the book, mostly negative.

While, I can say that the author keeps language and the narration simple and storyline was somewhat interesting, there was some level of depth lacking to the story.  The author paints a good picture of all the characters, sure. But I found it hard to connect with any of those characters. While I did feel pity for everything Balram had to go through, I couldn’t get myself to understand why he would go to the level of killing his master…the one he repeatedly says he liked and was faithful to. Yes, the reasons were given as to why he did what he did, but that wasn’t compelling enough to justify his acts, I felt.

So yeah, I can’t say it’s one of the best reads ever.

If you watched Slumdog Millionaire and didn’t like the storyline because you thought it portrayed India in a negative way, then this book is not for you. It has many similar elements – the corrupt politicians, the dirty slums (and the westernizing cities), the heartless criminals, the I-will-do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-ahead (even murder) attitude, the exploit-the-poor mind-set, etc.

Overall, an ok novel with a good narrative…that’s about it.

My rating: 2*.

*for the rating scale, click here.