Categories
books Uncategorized

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – A book review

beartown_snippet.jpg

I hate happy endings. Good endings. Happily ever afters. You name it.

I also hate sad endings. Depressive endings. Pathetic endings.

I think the mark of any true novelist is to nail the ending, you know – Getting that bittersweet, twisting-your-heart but also spreading-warmth-inside-you kind of ending. I’m extremely picky about books I read and I hardly come across a handful of books a year that drive home that wow-factor. Actually, there are only a handful of books that you come across in a life time that can be described as perfect, or at least almost perfect. And Beartown is one of them. I have read a couple of novels by Fredrik Backman in the past, but Beartown has topped them all. Let’s run through the story and I’ll tell you why.

In a solitary town, far away from everywhere, hockey is everything. It’s what defines everyone, whether they like the sport or hate it, whether the play the sport or not. And in a place where you’ve lost all hope, and Hockey is the only thing that drives you, it’s taken very, very seriously. A junior team’s match is the heart and soul of the people. They’d kill, beat up people they love for that team to bring home the trophy.

Backman details almost every character in the city – every team player, the parents of every team player, the coach of the club, the General Manager of the club and his family – I could go on but won’t be able to relay it half as well as Backman has. Kevin – a star and prodigy is described right from the beginning. Sounds like your typical novel right, but no – Kevin is the best in the field but his childhood has been rough. You know, neglected by his parents but still seems down to earth and is the pride of Beartown. He’s brought his town to the semi-finals and will take them all the way. Still seems mediocre? Well our star gets carried away at a party at his house and decides to rape the General Manager’s daughter.

Nothing is black and white in Beartown. Not even a single person – their characters seem to be painted in different overlays of grey and Backman brilliantly illuminates all of them in a style of writing I can only describe as flawless.

In a town where Hockey is everything, the star player has been accused of rape. Will the town bring justice? Or will they shun the girl, call her a liar and attention-seeker or, will the blame her for everything? Or will they choose to ignore her and celebrate and defend their star whom they’ve seen grow up?

I have no wish to narrate the story to you, but I do urge you to start reading Beartown today. It undoubtedly is the best book I’ve read so far this year.

Picture credits: Penguin 

Categories
Poetry Uncategorized

Demons in the dark.

Harrowing through sins forgiven, half-forgotten.

Cursing her conscience, it whispers her name.

Mocking feigned countenance, her facade of strength.

Jeering her crumbling mind, crowning her insane.

Dreaming of things never to be, awake in bed,

Wondering how a million memories fit into her head.

Nay, I’ll put my guns down today,

Pandora’s box can wait another day.

Categories
books Uncategorized

One Hundred Years of Solitude.

“Then he made one last effort to search in his heart for the place where his affection had rotted away, and he could not find it.” 
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This particular novel of Gabriel Garcia Marquez is beyond description. Never, in the past twelve years of my voracious book-reading days have I come across a piece of writing that’s this expressive, that beautifully sums up what the author wants to convey in so little words.

The 422 page novel describes generations of the Buendia race over a hundred years. But as boring as that sounds, it’s far from the droll, humdrum words we get on paperback these days. Marquez unlike most other novelists doesn’t go on and on for pages about the backdrop of a hill or the picturesque backyard of a teenager’s house. His description of a certain incident in one of his many characters’ life is mostly seen to not exceed half a page! And yes, that half a page paints a vivid picture in your head, the very things he describes in his words; the cheers and amassing of the crowd as the gypsies arrive to demonstrate a new object of science, the pain of solitude that Colonel Aureliano Buendia faces in the bitterness of war, Ursula’s thoughts both brilliantly lucid and insipidly preposterous, the great pionala as Rebecca and Amaranta grow through venturous phases into stark solitude, the banana factory and how it revolutionized the small town of Macondo and of course, Melquiades, with his mystic aura and who even through death continues to live on in the Buendia household for the next decades through his mysterious manuscripts.

Why is this book so particularly special?

  1. He brings out both the beautiful and the ugly, not trying to deceive readers into finding it all so perfect, but it still is. Like I mentioned earlier, in as few words as possible, the author sums up every event of importance in his characters’ lives which makes us live their life as well.
  2. The book is revolutionary. It describes a fictitious town called Macondo; right from its founding, right from when they built the town to live in peace to when the last of the Buendia line finds himself there. See, along with him describing the revolutionizing of the town, he describes how the people change and how it mirrors their actions and thoughts as well.
  3. No this book is not a modern teen romance that gives people sky-soaring hopes of following their dreams but it does describe how every member of the household did what they wanted, governed by passion or otherwise and how it fared them. Marquez has portrayed a great deal of realism in his writing.

I could go on and on about One Hundred Years of Solitude. Other than the slightly flat way in which the book ended contrary to my high hopes, I can’t say anything negative about it. It’s a must read for any literature enthusiast and I hope you’ll find time to read it.

-S

Categories
Poetry Uncategorized

Lakehouse

Between peaceful interlude and inescapable anguish

Between tumultuous silence and hushed babble,

A dream, a dwam, a desperate plea for a wish

Fathering faith in an unfathomable fable

 

I dream of a cottage in a grassy place

With a white picket fence to meet Earth’s embrace

Unblemished white daisies tucked in emerald green grass

With mirth and rapture and cheer amass.

 

A sanctuary of peace, of eternal bliss,

With melancholy and despair and sorrow amiss

Devoid of care and the battle within

Not forced to ponder on virtue or sin.

 

I’ll sit on that rickety bridge, with Hardy in hand,

And watch it span across the lake to a distant land,

For in my mind, my sanctum ends there

The mirage of colors, the sweet summer air.

 

And as the hues of dusk descend upon that haven

She’ll blush with beauty not known to men

Mirroring the depth of thoughts unbidden

And blissful chimera of sky embracing heaven

 

Entrancing me thus, that velvet sky,

An eternal beauty, I won’t deny.

This is my dream, forever and always,

But I’ll walk on beyond that bridge, one of these days.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

About

I’m that girl who dreams of living in a cottage with a white picket fence, surrounded by mountains and lakes. I love books and everything else that takes me to a different world, a different place or even remotely promises a life of fantasy. I believe I was meant to live in the past but then at the same time, I dream about the future. I’m pretty sure I have ADHD which I usually mask by telling people I’m just passionate – it also explains why my posts on this blog are sparse, as is my varied interests in basically every possible hobby.