Booknotes: Oscar and Lucinda

Screenwriting guru Syd Field often wrote/said: When you’re writing a scene, look for a way that dramatizes the scene “against the grain.” My book notes today are related specifically to this technique of going “against the grain”, using Peter Carey’s 1988 Booker-winning ‘Oscar and Lucinda’, as example. I have loved this novel since I first read it and still dip into my favorite bits from time to time. Continue reading Booknotes: Oscar and Lucinda

Booknotes: Jane Eyre

Originally posted on indiatopia:
In my book circles, the Austen vs Brontës debate has come up often. And, though I’ve come to appreciate Austen’s finer points over time, I have always preferred the Brontës. With the three Brontë sisters, there’s the Charlotte vs Emily debate (Anne, sadly, doesn’t get much airtime). This has been harder. For years, I stuck with Emily because I found ‘Wuthering… Continue reading Booknotes: Jane Eyre

International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldforChange

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been highlighting an interesting, lesser-known woman on this particular day. Why? Mostly for the same reason that we mark this particular day: to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women. The 2017 theme for IWD is #BeBoldForChange. So, this year, I’d like to share the story of Noor Inayat Khan — a bold, badass woman I read about last year. She was also featured on Public Radio International earlier this year as the “Indian spy princess who died fighting the Nazis.” She was a Muslim. A refugee. A princess. A guerrilla fighter, trained in bomb-making, sabotage and secret communications. But above all, she was a war hero. Continue reading International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldforChange

Published: The Symphony of a Future Memory (York Literary Review)

When it is all over, her family will come over from India. Parents and two sisters. Fractal images of your lover, they will tell you she had been a troubled child; you are not to feel responsible for what happened. You will not feel sorry for them because you will be too busy feeling sorry for yourself.

Her father will assess you from that distant, universal refuge: a watchful silence. His compact and swarthy frame will be so unlike Kay’s. Continue reading Published: The Symphony of a Future Memory (York Literary Review)

jane eyre

Booknotes: Jane Eyre

In the end, no matter how or when in life you come to this book, Jane’s ferocious radicalism (she would rather live alone than accept a relationship that compromises her independence) and her firm resolve to be treated as an equal (she does not accept flattery or hypocrisy without scorn) stand the test of time. The themes about class, servitude, religion, independence, beauty standards are as relevant today. We do not read ‘Jane Eyre’ to identify with her difficult and painful life. We do not even read her as a role model because, after a certain point, her religiosity and self-righteousness can begin to grate. But, we cannot help admiring everything she represents about truth and freedom. Continue reading Booknotes: Jane Eyre