Thursday, 13 November 2014

Kafka On The Shore - Review

AUTHOR: Haruki Murakami
ISBN: 978-0-099-45832-6
GENRE: Speculative Fiction


Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophecy. 

The ageing Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.

As their parallel odysseys unravel, cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghost-like pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since World War II. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle- one of many which combine to create an elegant and dreamlike masterpiece.


You read one book by the author; you either get hooked to them or vow to not read them again. Murakami has me mystified, my first was Norwegian Wood and this is my second. To say that both the books are out of the world and amazing would be an understatement. Partly because they both are so very contrasting in the way they've been written. The former having a taste of realistic-ness while this book is all metaphysical, illusory and self-bounding transporting you to a world of dreams.

"Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”  - Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore follows the parallel plot that moves towards a common goal at the same time, interlinked together. It's a story of a 15-year old teenage boy Kafka Tamura hailing from Nakano Ward who runs away from home from his self-absorbed father to Takamatsu, Shikoku; seeking shelter in a quiet private library. At the same time an ageing old not so bright man named Nakata who has the unique ability to converse with cats, goes on a mission to finding a missing cat and eventually predicts fishes and leeches falling from the sky. Weird isn't it?

The novel is inspired by the Oedipus mythology, or rather the dark Oedipal Curse that Kafka's father inflicts on him. 

"The term Oedipus complex (or, less commonly, Oedipal complex) denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, via dynamic repression, that concentrates upon a child's desire to have sexual relations with the parent of the opposite sex ."

Like every other Murakami novel there is beer and sex with the addition of blood, lots of blood in this one. The journey of Kafka and how he shifts from his conscious to unconscious mind with a lot of theories, philosophies, Japanese literature the Soseki haiku's  and concerto music like Schubert and Schumann accompanying us. It takes you to a magical realm full of depth that forces you to think.

The best thing about the novel is the way it is written, it flows seamlessly transporting you to a land of illusions and dreams. It's compelling in the most primal form and pulls you within. And despite being so addictive you cannot read this in one sitting, you need to read re-read and sometimes take a break. 

Now comes the cons, they are not cons in the real sense but they are, if you know what I mean. The book is full of riddles. No doubt riddles are fascinating but these they left me in a lurch. An excerpt from the writer's own words goes as,

"In an interview posted on his English language website, Murakami says that the secret to understanding the novel lies in reading it several times: "Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren't any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It's hard to explain, but that's the kind of novel I set out to write".
A complex novel no doubt, there are things that I re-read (I could not read the whole novel again 505 pages you see). It's the kind of novel that stays with you, for a long long time. 
A must read if you love quality fiction !

RATING: 9.5/10
PRICE: Rs. 349
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 505

Sunday, 2 November 2014

God is a Gamer - Review

AUTHOR: Ravi Subramanian
ISBN: 978-0-143-42139-9
GENRE: Bitcoin Thriller

EXCERPT: (Credits: Goodreads)

What happens when you cross gamer, banker, politician and terrorist with virtual money? 

Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a
highrise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises
that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends
the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai.

Enter Varun, parttime drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming
company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into
the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal
transactions—drugs, sex and money.

God is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems. 


So I've been on a reading spree or rather I still am, three novels at once and this I had to complete within a week's time. I was worried even before the book arrived from Blogadda "Will I or Won't I be able to finish it?" was the question of the hour. But Alas! here I am a week later penning down this review.

The tagline of the book goes as, "Is Revenge a Crime?" and a heavy bet is placed on money. Join the two together and the instant reaction is god please let it not be another mundane money laundering fiction. Good thing is it's not. It is surprisingly refreshing with a mix of corporate conversations with a blend of complicated liaisons, multinational banks, the US Senator and Indian politicians and the crux of it all - Bitcoins in other words Virtual Money. You're in for a ride, a total roller coaster.

As like all other books of the author, this one too follows the parallel plotline. Each chapter is different and you're like what's the connection? why the sudden jump? But then suddenly when you don't even expect they unite. The best part being despite having multiple characters like a thriller usually does, it is not at all confusing. No ambiguity towards the character development nor termination.

The emotions run heavy in this one, the family bonds both loose and tightly bound are explored. At least I was questioning myself how much do things change when one comes to power, be it some change in how we see our loved ones or how the world sees us. Does being a powerful person in a top notch organization or the government really gives you freedom to do anything or it curbs it as your every move is scrutinized in the eyes of opposition and the media.  

Unlike many thrillers that are poorly researched or a complete new set of fiction set up is created, God is a Gamer is wholly researched right from WikiLinks to Satoshi Nakamoto the said founder of bitcoins. 

There are names like DDOS attack, phishing scams, firewalls, malware attacks and so on. I literally remembered my third year project on Intrusion Detection Systems and Honeypots. And I wondered, somethings that are mentioned are usually not taken lightly especially if the organization is big, there is a whole IT department dedicated to it. So, was is it a loophole or done on purpose for the story to shape up the way it did, is still a question mark to me.

So the end? Well read it to find out what happens with all the picturesque build up in the most fascinating way. No spoilers here, no way. I loved the book, makes me want to recommend it to everyone who loves reading. (Okay I did recommend it to a lady in the train yesterday, and she said she'll surely check it out.)

RATING: 8/10
PRICE: Rs. 299
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 310

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Homing Pigeons - Review

AUTHOR: Sid Bahri
ISBN: 978-93-80349-91-6
GENRE: Romance, Drama


"Not all love stories are perfect, but then, neither are people." 

They say Homing Pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines. 

This is the story of Aditya and Radhika.


So this book comes out for review around mid 2013, but I don't really get it for review because I've shut down my blog temporarily. That's basically what's happening since past some months with my poor blog. So anyways, despite me not reading it I end up hearing awesome reviews about it but bad luck I don't land myself, every time I think I'll buy it or I'll ask a friend to lend me hers something happens and the plan stops even before executing. Now around November end December, Readers Cosmos suddenly asks me I still have a copy of this book would you mind reviewing it. And I jump on the opportunity. I receive the book by December and I even end up reading it, gushing about it and everything but yes I don't blog about it. Reasons I'm not stating again, but finally I put to electronic paper my words. 

The moment you pick up the book, read the blurb at the back you get that feeling of a love story although a weird feeling, like there is bound to be something that will strike a chord with you. You turn the pages and you're lost in a world of relationships, drama, emotions and the complexities and small joys that comes from being in love with someone, the pain and agony too that's a part of it. 

What I loved about it the most was the narration, it flows like a calm undisturbed river. It is so flawless that at times you don't realize you're reading a first time author. Sid Bahri has woven the words so beautifully that you can't resist putting the book down. Another magical thing is, the writing is so friendly it almost speaks to you. The characters speak to you and you fall in love with them. 

The story revolves around a guy Aditya, this career and how he has lost his job in a time of recession. How he is drowning away his grief in a bar and ends up meeting this lady there, who eventually changes the very course of his life. Alternatively we have Radhika whose story is going on parallel with the first one, a wealthy young widow who has just recently married of her step daughter to claim the riches of her deceased husband. 

The above lines simply don't do any justice to the plot. It thickens with every page you turn and the more it complicates the more it engulfs you in it. It is more like sometimes you don't know where it is all going and then suddenly it all falls into place and you're left gaping amazed. 

Though this book is not all sugary sweet on the flip side it is at times a little slow paced with loads of flashbacks jumping in the middle and has a very dramatic Indian hindi movie feel. It's not bad it's just a little disappointing in certain places. 

On a whole, this book is good. It's not over the top and it explores love in ways more than one and with great subtlety. Lastly, you can't help but fall in love with the book once you've read it. So do read it, it makes you believe in love.

RATING: 7/10
PRICE: Rs. 150
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 318

"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to"

Nazaqat - Review

AUTHOR: Sasha H. Singhal
ISBN: 978-81-92648-00-2
GENRE: Thriller and Drama Novel

EXCERPT: Traces the life of a prostitute turned entrepreneur, who hires a ghost writer to make a biography. A murder that she was accused for and also her vision to legalize prostitution. A parallel conspiracy that threatens both her life and vision. Will she survive or succumb becoming a victim is what builds the story.

This story came to me when I wasn't into reading and less reviewing. I was going through some personal crises and whenever I touched the novel, I couldn't go past page one. Eventually after a lot of convincing to myself I took the novel and believe me it had me hooked up. Right from the start till the very end, it kept me on my toes and I had no idea how the plot will turn next. 

Nazani and Nazakat or Naez are the central characters of this story and what adds to the element of aura is that they are the same individual. The protagonist of the story is explored in a different light in every different scenario. In a way, it showcases how people act with different people but then who you are in truth? Are you like Nazakat or like Nazani or someone entirely else. 

The concept is nice, something which is not really explored maybe because of will the readers like it or will it work. In fact I were to give an opinion, it worked. It was realistic and believable. The vocabulary used is nice and compliments the emotions and the portrayal of character. The central character is beautifully chalked out, there is an element of eerie calm and sinister that is blended nicely with a good amount of subtlety.

There are various supporting characters namely Sharat, her prostitution manager. Priyanka, Ishank and Biplab her friends. And Mathews the ghost writer. The characterization is simple and realistic. And though at times the plot shifts from one time to another, flashback mode. The reader doesn't get lost.

Sometimes what happens is when there are too many characters or personality clashes, chances of the reader getting lost increases. This is something that has been avoided, the narration is precise, and follows the conversation theme but this does not prove to be a stopper but otherwise. Also given the fact that,  the character development is gradual, there are many insistence's where one can connect to the psyche of the lead, not to that complete level but in little ways. 

This is a type of story that makes you want to not keep the book down until it is over and also when it is done it leaves a feeling of emptiness. But a good kind of emptiness when you realize it is over. The mystery is one of the most basic element of this story and is maintained well throughout. The climax is very out of the box one which the reader might not have expected. Again, thoughtfully executed and written. 

One thing as a reader that I loved was the verses used throughout the story. There is a hint of human touch in many scenes to which one can connect to. The reader can imagine the scenes that was written and that is the most magical thing about this book, it feels like the scene is playing in front of your eyes.    

RATING: 6/10
PRICE: Rs. 125
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 202

This is an author-requested review, given for a review copy of the book.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Baramulla Bomber - Review

AUTHOR: Clark Prasad
ISBN: 9381523975
GENRE: Science Fiction Espionage Thriller


An Ancient Weapon from the Vedas & Bible
Once Hunted by the Nazis
Powered by the Sound of the Universe

Reborn with the Help of Quantum Physics
Going to be Unleashed onto the World
And Kashmir Holds its Secret


Before I begin with the review I would like to mention a few things, Baramulla Bomber was sent to me by Readers Cosmos who I thank immensely and second a big sorry for not putting the review of the book soon. I was away from the blogging world for almost three months and have just returned back with this review and I have two more reviews piled up.

Coming back to the novel, the first thing that intrigued me about it was the name. It was odd and yet it didn't give away anything. But all I could gather was it is something to do with thriller, mystery and sci-fi too. So with that curiosity of reading all this I applied for the book. And my expectations didn't prove wrong.

So the story begins, a group of royal descendants meet. They are called Cho Skyong. While they are in discussion, there is a blast and most of the group dies. From all this chaos one man seemed to have survived, Abhimanyu Kashyap who had managed to save himself and vows to keep the secret discussed in the meet alive. But what next is what? What's the secret? This is where the real story picks up.

The novel is filled with maps and graphs and different time zones everything that is basically needed to add to the plot to complicate it in the right amount. The plot jumps from the blast of royal descendants to Mansur Haider a Kashmiri and then suddenly we have the Swedish Adolf Silfverskiold, an investigator land in the case. It is like a whole web that eventually merges into one. This being said this is the first book in the trilogy.

Though  there are things that complicate the plot but the author has taken great care that it doesn't confuse the reader. Also the theme of the book is maintained and the story moves in a racy pace, with the reader always on the move as to what will happen next. Even the combination of Quantum physics, bible the vedas and cricket seems a bit more than odd it is blended nicely.

Despite all this, at the end you get the feeling (at least I got) the story could have been slowed down a bit. It's like too much has been cramped into too small a place. Nevertheless, the narration is good and even character portrayal is nice. Good job done by the author. Wishing you all the best for your future works.

RATING: 5/10
PRICE: Rs. 395
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 313

"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to"