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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Vague Woman's Handbook by Devapriya Roy

On the cover jacket:

'They are bad with directions; they never know when the credit card bill is due.
They have perfected the art of turning over a new leaf tomorrow.
Meet the vague women in this delightful (this is strictly on the cover jacket, I would never have used this word for this book!!!) first novel that doesn't star a woman looking for the right man - because she's already found him!

At twenty-two, Sharmila Chatterjee has just married her sweetheart of a few years, Abhimanyu Mishra, a somewhat eccentric if handsome twenty-three-and-a-half-year-old with obscure academic interests and a small fellowship that never arrives on time. They start a household in a tiny rented flat, learning to fend for themselves in the big, bad and snooty world of South Delhi (oh is that so? how original!!!! - these are my words, sorry to interrupt the jacket!!), with penny-pinching landlords, some romance, and a lot of anxiety.

At fifty-two, Indira Sen is not sure just how she meandered to where she finds herself now. A senior government officer and single mother, she lives with her daughter and three opinionated old people in a rambling house, drives a battered car, and has a history of credit-card-induced shopaholism.

The Vague Woman's Handbook is a story told with equal parts of humour, hysteria and tenderness, about the sparkling friendship between two women as they hurtle through life and its mini-crises while trading secrets in the art of survival.'

Personal verdict: Whatever you read about this book, dont dont dont make the mistake of falling for its cover and image and reading it!!! I fell for it, and made the fatal mistake, but don't tell me you weren't warned !!!!

I rate it a -10/10

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

On the cover:

'High fashion, low cunning - and the boss from hell.

When Andrea first sets foot in the plush Manhattan offices of Runway she knows nothing. She's never heard of the world's most fashionable magazine, or its feared and fawned-over editor, Miranda Priestly.

Soon she knows way too much.

She knows it's a sacking offence to wear less than a three-inch heel to work - but there's always a fresh pair of Manolos in the accessories cupboard.

She knows that eight stone is fat. That you can charge anything - cars, manicures, clothes - to the Runway account, but you must never leave your desk, or let Miranda's coffee get cold. That at 3am, when your boyfriend's dumping you because you're always working and your best friend's just been arrested, if Miranda phones with her latest unreasonable demand, you jump.

Most of all, Andrea knows that Miranda is a monster boss who makes Cruella de Vil look like a fluffy bunny. But this is her big break, and its all going to be worth it in the end.

Isn't it?'

Now a major film starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Age Of Kali by William Dalrymple

Introduction by the author:

'The Age of Kali'
is a collection of peripatetic essays, a distillation of ten years' travel around the Indian subcontinent. For six of those years I was based in Delhi working on my second book while for the other four I wandered the region, on a more nomadic basis, for a few months each year. My travels took me from the fortresses of the drug barons of the North-West frontier to the jungle lairs of the Tamil Tigers; from flashy Bombay drinks parties to murderous Bihari blood feuds; from the decaying palaces of Lucknow to the Keralan exorcist temple of the bloody goddess Parashakti, She Who is Seated on a Throne of Five Corpses. All the pieces are the product of personal experience and direct observation.'

Praise for the book:

'Dalrymple remains without peer' - Sara Wheeler, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year.

'Essential reading: this hugely entertaining and informative collection of essays written over ten years of traveling gives a fascinating picture of modern India in all its extremes' - Express.

'Dalrymple's India is as vivid as Naipaul's' - Simon Jenkins, The Times

'A fine collection of writing, immaculately researched, and of course, wickedly funny...Dalrymple's discerning eye has an intimidatingly wide sweep, from Benazir Bhutyo's Mills and Boons to Jemima Khan's "To Do" List, to the decaying palaces of Lucknow and the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai...fine journalism; sheer pleasure' - Sugita Katyal, Business World

'Dalrymple writes with panache..he is sensitive to the past without mincing his words about the present. As a writer his strengths are clarity and range - and mastery of the sweeping statement..an eminently readable book' - Ashok Malik, India Today

'William Dalrymple is an engaging, informative and, on occasions, courageous commentator...The Age of Kali is to be enjoyed and to be heeded' - Sara Curtis, Times Literary Supplement

'A collection of essays on the subcontinent by the dazzling meteor of travel writing. Wide ranging, eye-opening and deeply knowledgeable' - Independent on Sunday

Debolina's Verdict: 5/5

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, April 4, 2011

Frames - The John Banville Trilogy - Athena, The Book of Evidence and Ghosts

On the cover:

'Frames consists of three interlocked novels, The Book of Evidence, Ghosts and Athens, all displaying a writer at the height of his powers.

In The Book of Evidence, Freddie Montgomery has committed two crimes. HE stole a small Dutch master from a wealthy family friend, and he murdered the chambermaid who caught him in the act. The latter act made perfect sense to him, but his motives for the former are rather mystifying.

In Ghosts, Fredie, having served his time in prison, has come to rest on a sparsely populated island with only the enigmatic Professor Silas Kreutznaer and his laconic companion, Licth, for company. A sort of uneasy calm is operating in this world, but then a party of castaways arrives with disquieting results.

In Athena, Morrow is at a loose end when, on two occasions, he is beckoned up the stairs of an empty Dublin house. The first time this happens he is offered a dubious kind of work. The second offer is even stranger.

Praise for the book:

"Banville writes a dangerous and clear-running prose and has a grim gift for seeing people's souls" - Don DeLillo, on The Book Of Evidence

"A work which proves Banville as a master, the artist in total control of his craft" - The Times, on Ghosts

"The consummately achieved and entrancing creation of a master of language; in the fullest sense a work of art" - Scotsman, on Athena

- Debolina Raja Gupta