Tag Archives: award winning blog

The Far Field, by Madhuri Vijay, 2019

The far Field

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay is a debut novel and it is included in the short-list of the prestigious JCB Literary Awards, 2019. It is a beautiful story from what I could make out from the synopsis.

Gorgeously tactile and sweeping in historical and socio-political scope, Pushcart Prize-winner Madhuri Vijay’s The Far Field follows a complicated flaneuse across the Indian subcontinent as she reckons with her past, her desires, and the tumultuous present. With rare acumen and evocative prose, in The Far Field Madhuri Vijay masterfully examines Indian politics, class prejudice, and sexuality through the lens of an outsider, offering a profound meditation on grief, guilt, and the limits of compassion.

The fact that it had a beautiful cover was a great attractor for me as well. I have been thoroughly loving the book so far. Although it begins on a note of grief, the writing is beautiful. There is a sort of whimsical and nostalgic about the book, from the very first pages itself and I am in love with the writing style. I hope the author brings out more books so that I can get my hands on it soon.

Many readers may argue that the protagonist is problematic – she comes off as self-centered and living in a bubble that essentially separates her from the world around her. Her actions seem immature and the fact that they are repeatedly done is a factor that irked me at times. The overall arch of the book, however, was worth enjoying and I loved every bit of it except the times I was frustrated because of the decisions Shalini took, which were her own. She has an individualistic streak and I am not sure if everyone will enjoy it. It certainly proved problematic for me at some points.  I rate this book a 3.75/5 stars.

Thanks a lot to Harpercollins for providing me with a copy of this amazing book. I am also hoping to pick up Milk Teeth and Perumal Murugan’s One Part Woman followed by Trial by Silence and A Lonely Harvest. I have been following the Award this year and these are the books I intend to read from here.

Do you follow such literary awards? Are you picking up any award-winning books in the near future? If yes, which ones do you plan to?

Invisible Ties, Nadya A. R., 2017

Title: Invisible Ties
Author: Nadya A. R.
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 266
As Karachi burned in the 1990s, the painfully shy Noor Kamal found refuge in an antique jade mirror stolen from Daisy, her social butterfly mother. One fateful day, the violence hits home as a motley crew of burglars storm the Kamal residence, killing Joseph, the faithful driver who tried to shield Noor and kidnapping Daisy in the process.
Traumatized by the turn of events and succumbing to familial pressure, Noor reluctantly agrees to start life afresh in Singapore as the wife of Meekaal Kalim, an investment banker. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Noor finds succour in studying psychotherapy.
Her attempt to heal others brings her close to Ella, her neighbour and Jake, a handsome American who is struggling to deal with his emotional breakdown. As she tries to exorcise ghosts from the past and break free from the shackles, where will Noor’s longing for love take her? Would she be able to liberate herself from her strong cultural values and ties?
A saga of love and trials, against a rich contrasting background, Invisible Ties is sure to appeal to the readers.
My review:
Invisible Ties, in one word, is a masterpiece. A work of utter beauty and the complexities of human life expressed in poetical language, it is one of the best books I have read this year. And one which shall always be with me.
The writing firstly is something that will strike you as soon as you start reading it. There is a graceful fluidity in the lines which makes you feel like you are indulging in poetry- so beautiful and calm. As a reader I felt as it was I was flowing in its waters. And in the end, this is one quality which really mesmerized me. I took intervals in reading this book – three days to be exact – and I am so glad that I did. Apart from being an aesthetically pleasing book, it was an intense emotional read too. There are, of course, many who will not agree to that, but let me state that it was so for me. In the same vein, the language was well-edited; I found no bumps in the reading. Rupa Publications has done an impeccable job as always.
I shall not tell much about what happens in the story- the synopsis does that well enough- so well enough that it made me immediately accept the author’s offer to review the book. The plot was well made and I found the change in scenery very well-paced. The entire story was well-paced for that matter. In one way I consider this a bildungsroman- Noor grows from a young impressionable girl to a wise woman. The events are realistic yet all the while there is the magic that weaved throughout the entire story. The use of the mirror really brought in a tiny amount of magical realism into the narrative.
The themes of displacement, loss, religion, individuality, growth etc. really brings in a diversity to the book yet binds the narrative into one single work that would not work in the absence of any one of these themes. The ever-present imagery used by the author was a delight to my heart and my grey cells. Imagining all those beautiful things had a beautiful exquisiteness to them.
The characters are all well-made and have a lot of depth to all of them, even excluding the protagonist. I shall wrap up my review by reiterating that Invisible Ties was a superb masterpiece and I hope to pick up Nadya A. R’s other book as well.
I rate this book a solid 4.5/5 stars. It was a simply a very amazing read. If you are looking for something magical without the explicit presence of magic, something you know will be impactful and shall stay with you forever, without further ado, simply pick up this book.

Zidd, Hetansh Desai, 2018

Title: Zidd
Author: Hetansh Desai
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 162
Vihaan looked at the skies, took a deep breath and shouted, ‘I want to be on the hoarding outside her flat!’
Parth did not react right away. After a few minutes, he asked, ‘Sorry? What is that?’
‘She said she doesn’t want to see my face. So, now I want to ensure she sees my face every day the first thing in the morning.’
Parth took a step towards Vihaan. He shrugged his shoulders, confusedly. ‘I don’t understand.’
‘There’s a hoarding outside her flat.’
‘And you want to be on it?’
Witness the roller coaster journey of Vihaan, a college dropout, and Parth, a tea vendor, as they strive to buy the most expensive hoarding space in Ahmedabad.
My review:
Zidd means Stubbornness. As such, I feel that the title is apt and to the point when it comes to the story. The author takes us on a fast paced ride with Vihaan and Parth and one cannot help but feel that the reader is actually watching a Bollywood movie. In Parth and Vihaan we find complete foils to each other- where Parth is the son of a tea vendor but want to start his own business, Vihaan is the son of a successful businessman who wants his son to follow in his footsteps, but Vihaan instead opts for a Liberal Arts course.
The whole story is quite interesting as we come across the different marketing adventures that both for these young man have individually. It is a nice and also a very intriguing subject to read about, as a person who is not from the commerce background. Their struggles and aspirations, are quite praiseworthy and nice to read about. And not to mention, very inspiring at times. Moreover, the author has spent quite some time on the character development and it clearly shines through.
The themes of love, betrayal, inspiration, ambitions, the struggle to reach them, are all well explored. The language used is simple and easy to understand. This is perhaps a good choice for any beginner as well as someone who would want to pick up something light, and not very intense.
Apart from these, two certain things did not sit well with me. Firstly, I feel that the author could have explained certain points a bit more eloquently. And secondly, there is multiple use of swear words which may not be suitable for a younger audience.
This was a really surprisingly interesting read. I rate the content a 4/5 stars!