India : a portrait by Patrick French was something I was reading a couple of weeks ago. (I skipped a portion of it, as the subject is beyond me).
The style is simple, with a dash of humour here and there. I found myself learning many things I hadn’t known before, and rethinking my opinions on a lot of issues. Some of the issues he talks about are still very pertinent.
You should read it at least once, at least the parts which could be of interest to you.
Of late, there has been a lot of criticism about having foreigners write about India. Unlike many fiction-writers who don’t know much about Asia, and even less about India, French does what he claims he set out to do, and does describe the India, that I, as an Indian can relate to and identify with.
Last week, I borrowed Jaishree Mishra’s ‘Ancient Promises’ from my library.
It had me hooked, and I felt compelled to keep reading it. Though the ending was an open one, it left me with a good feeling.
As someone who prefers sensible stories with believable characters, I usually find JM’s stuff readable, and this was no exception. I could totally relate to some of the the situations the characters faced, the rest seemed plausible enough.
In all, a good read. A couple of hours well-spent.
I learnt a few things after reading this :
– One & a half books aren’t enough for a train journey of more than 12 hours. Especially if one of them is TGIHB.
– The only book dealing with paintings that I liked was False Impressions. & I liked the art episode in If Tomorrow Comes.
– There is an unbridegeable chasm between ‘The girl in blue’ & ‘the girl in hyacinth blue’
This book was something I’d bought as an experiment, and ended up regretting. It is supposedly a tale about a painting, from its current owner to its origin somewhere in history. The blurb sounded good enough. But the prose never did reach me. Maybe it was too ‘technical’ for me. But in the end, I turned the pages just so I could get it over with and put it behind me.
Read it only if you’re an art buff and totally dig anything to do with art and paintings.