Oct 29, 2010

Three book reviews in a go

By Gerard Woodward
(Picador, Rs 1100 approx)

The Second World War is on. A British wife and mother receives a message from her POW husband, imprisoned by the Nazis, asking for the most improbable of things: Naughty, no let’s make that downright filthy, letters. Her prudish sensibility shaken up, she first denies him, and then relents when he remains persistent. But how does one write notes full of passion and sex when one has never been there, really? And so begins her journey into a land of lust, from hidden nooks of libraries for pornographic literature into the arms of her boss for more practical know-how. The consequences are, of course, heartbreakingly realistic. Written with humour, sensitivity, maturity and imagination, Nourishment is yet another feather in the cap for this gifted writer.

Battle for Bittora
By Anuja Chauhan
(Harper Collins, Rs 299)

If you enjoyed The Zoya Factor – Chauhan’s debut bestseller soon to be made into a Bollywood film – then you’re going to love The Battle for Bittora. Jinni, a 25-year-old graphics animator, finds herself drawn into rural politics when her ex-MP grandmother announces she’s got a ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections – in Jinni’s name. Things could have been simple had not Jinni’s childhood sweetheart Zain – gorgeous, rich but Muslim – been her electoral opponent. Now she’s torn between matters of the heart, the wallet and the chair. The author’s easy wit and Jinni’s smart-aleck first-person voice makes for pacy reading. For lovers of chick-lit romances, this one’s a hilarious must.

By Emma Donoghue
(Picador, Rs 499)

Jack has just turned five years old, and has never stepped out of the one room that has been his entire world all his life. Born to a beautiful woman kidnapped at the age of 19 and imprisoned in an underground eleven-by-eleven-foot room by her captor for seven years, Jack’s only companions have been his mother, the furniture, and the occasional spider. But that’s the only world he knows. So when, at five, his mother deems him old enough to help them both escape, he feels like a fish jumping out of the water. The ‘real world’ feels unreal, mystifying and confusing. Why do people need so much space and so many things? Written in the little child’s voice, the narrative reaches out into your gut and holds you captive from start to end. And when you finally put it down, you cannot help looking at the world with new eyes.

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