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Showing posts from September, 2017

Book Review: The Triumph of the Sun by Wilbur Smith

Colonization of poorer countries was at its zenith in the nineteenth century, especially of African countries. The Triumph of the Sun by Wilbur Smith brings forth a story from Sudan where the holy war starts to resist the national interest of British. Two cities Omdurman and Khartoum are divided by the Nile River. British govern the interest of Khartoum through Cairo, the capital of Egypt, also a colony of British to overlook the African affairs.

The rise of a Mahdi: a sort of prophet has stood to push the British and his most immediate desire is to siege Khartoum from the hands of British. After a few failed attempts, the Dervish army of Omdurman led by Osman Atalan, a ferocious Beja tribe warrior, attacks and defeats the army of Egypt and finally takes Khartoum under its control. They massacre the people and kill the General Gordon to take away his head as a prize trophy. The British Consul, David Benbrook, is brutally murdered and his two beautiful daughters (Rebecca and Amber) ar…

Book Review: Cross Country Snow by Ernest Hemingway

Cross Country Snow by Ernest Hemingway is a short story featured in Our Time collection. It is about friendship, jovial days and finally accepting the burdens of life. It is rather a contrasting story of two friends who wish to linger in Switzerland for maximum time to do skiing but some duties and obligations pull them back and part them.

Nick and George are in Switzerland for some time and they are enjoying their time skiing down the hill. Nick is going uphill in a funicular and sees George skiing up and down like a tide of a sea. When Nick begins skiing, after covering some distance he tumbles down on a soft snow mound like a shot rabbit. Soon, George comes to lift him and they both go over the fence and start walking on a narrow road in the forest. They reach a bar where the waitress is singing a German Opera song; next she serves them Sion wine.
They both notice the swelling belly of the woman. She is pregnant but signs of being married aren’t there. Thus, Nick says that it is a…

Book Review: Silent Thunder by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Silent Thunder by Andrea Davis Pinkney is a war fiction for children underlining the predicament of children living under slavery. Of course a smothered childhood is an evil curse than direct death. This story is about a few children who are bound to be slaves probably all their lives, may be because they are black and have come from some different land.

Summer is an eleven-year-old girl and his older brother Rosco live with their mom in a plantation in Virginia, the American Southern. They don’t know who their father is. The children are brought to the master on their birthdays so that the master Gideon Parnell can evaluate their growth and devise plans of profits from them. He may sell them or put for rigorous work, the way adults do.
Rosco, the protagonist, of the book holds a silent thunder within his heart; he wants to live a free life on his own terms. Rosco works as a personal, close helper to Lowell Parnell, the master’s son, and begins to learn reading and writing by overh…

Book Review: The Tunnel by Ruskin Bond

The Tunnel is a short story written by Ruskin Bond covered in the novella ‘The Road to the Bazaar’. Tranquility in nature and duty are two major themes nicely conveyed in this story. Suraj wants to see the train passing through the tunnel, hence he comes to a small village from Dehradun on a bicycle and from there he walks up to a hill mound. He stands at the exit of the tunnel and when the train enters and passes through and fades away in the distance, he feels the true peace of the jungle. When the train passes through the jungle, the trees tremble in the steam it throws out, the railway tracks lay shivering for some time.
He walks through the tunnel. At the entry is a hut in which lives Sunder Singh, the tunnel watchman, his duty is to check the tunnel before a train passes through it. He does it twice a day, one for the day train and next for the night train that crosses the tunnel at nine. Sunder tells that jungles are peaceful and safer than cities. He was almost run over by a…

Book Review: Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway

Cat in the Rain is a short story by Ernest Hemingway set against the Italian backdrop on a rainy day. The duration of the story hardly stretches up to a day but it ably puts forth the idea of vacationing on a rainy day. On the contrary, the story goes anti-romantic for the American couple.

In a hotel in Italy, there are only two guests and they are American couple. The hotel overlooks the sea and a very famous war memorial for that to see people come from across the world. However, the couple is less attentive by its presence.
It is raining. George, the husband of an American girl, is busy reading a book in a hotel room. However the girl is observed in the rain outside, she is at the window. Downright their hotel room, she notices a cat is tussling hard beneath a green table to escape being drenched in the rain. The American girl wants to procure that pretty kitty; she insists and goes down stair. As she reaches down, the innkeeper bows down to her in order to make her feel important…

Book Review: Socialite Evenings by Shobha De

The Indian society is basically patriarchal where a woman is given the secondary role. The modern woman does not find any sense in such self-sacrifice and yearns for self-expression, individuality and self-identity. She is trying to free herself of the dependence syndrome.



Socialite Evenings by Shobha De underlines the picture of the marginalization of Indian women at the hands of their husbands. Simone de Beavoir expresses his own views on man-woman nexus: man represents both the positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to designate human beings in general, whereas woman represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria without reciprocity.
Shobha has pictured the woman not only as protagonist but also as motivating factors in society. Karuna’s marriage is a failure since it is loveless, joyless and bridgeless. She hates the stand-offish and cruel behavior of the husbands who often kept themselves busy in drab monotonous activities like reading the…

Book Review: Fire and Ice by Paul Garrison

Michael Stone and his wife Sarah and their ten-year-old daughter Ronnie sail in a medical boat, Veronica, in the remote Pacific. Their duty is to attend the distress calls from the passing by ships or tankers, and in other time they visit remote isolated islands and atolls to tend the needs of poor. While they are sailing towards Pulo Helena (a chain of atolls) to help the poor living in the fales, they get a distress call from a massive tanker bound for China, carrying LNG. Sarah and Ronnie go to attend that ship in their medical boat while Michael runs towards a fale where an old man is dying. The old man having sailed for one thousand miles reaches to this atoll only to find it deserted. Thus, he commits his own killing by thrusting a knife in his flank. By the time Michael could do anything miraculous, the old passes away.
On the other hand, Sarah and Ronnie find themselves being deceived by the call from the tanker. They have to cure and nurse an old man who has received a bulle…

Book Review: The End of Something by Ernest Hemingway

The End of Something is a short story by Ernest Hemingway set against the familiar backdrop: Hortons Bay in Michigan. Once Hortons Bay was a mill town and then logging occupation was at full sway; then the town was chirpy and lively; but when the mill disappeared and logging faded out, only remained a few vestiges of the past such as lime stones of the once-existed mill. There is no fun anymore. With time, things of interest and occupation have been changed or gone like a smooth rite of passage.


One evening two teenagers Nick and Marjorie go boating there for fishing. They are in relationship. Their efforts to catch trout fish fails miserably. To spend the night together they build a driftwood fire.
Nick shows that he is frustrated due to failed fishing. On the other hand, Marjorie is trying to be over romantic by comparing the vestiges of the mill with a palace. This absurd comparison frustrates Nick and he shows it loudly. He grows sullen and a bit like a bull.
Nick is seeking fun …

Book Review: The Night Train at Deoli by Ruskin Bond

We all would like to meet or see someone worth remembering later in life. And normally this urge is very high when we travel on a train. The Night Train at Deoli is one such story where a young boy of around eighteen meets a poor and beautiful girl on a lonely platform.

The story has a few nameless characters. The narrator (boy) remembers a few journeys he made in past. He is traveling back to Dehradun from Delhi, and thirty miles before Dehradun arrives a single-platform station, Deoli. The train arrives at that station around five in the morning when there is no sufficient sunlight to make out the things. The station is rather a lonely sort of place. A few dimly lit bulbs, stationmaster's cabin, and a tea stall. But much to his amazement, he finds, at that odd hour of the day, a girl with pale skin, dark eyes. Her clothes are not that new or fashionable. From her outlook, she looks poor. She is selling baskets. When the narrator notices her keenly, unpretentiously she also look…

Book Review: Summertime in Old New Delhi by Ruskin Bond

Having failed to make a reasonable source of income from writing stories and novels during his stay in Dehra after returning from London, the narrator Rusty comes down to Delhi to see some success in his slow-moving career. Th story - Summertime in Old New Delhi - is a part of ‘Rusty Comes Home’ book, this story shuttles between a couple of time accounts: childhood days spent with his father, and as a young grown-up writer moved to Delhi for a promising writing career. It does not chronicle the events but certainly throws the reminiscences of his early unsettled life.
Well placed in the settling Delhi: it describes the post partition situation when people from the other side were stacking up in the newly formed capital of India. Very subtly Ruskin Bond takes the readers on a ride to see the 1940s and 1950s eras, all memories. Well in 1940s, he came with his father to live in a RAF tent in the outskirts of the city, near Qutab Minar, he remembers then there were no buildings only scru…