Thursday, September 29, 2022
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Friday, August 26, 2022
Thursday, August 11, 2022
"History is a motherfucker."
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
"... no more than the flight of fancy of a young woman with self-confessed literary ambitions, and who, by the evidence of her own words, was in a troubled state of mind,"
he takes no chances with his subject, going on to make a "more detailed study of Braithwaite's work" along with conducting interviews with people (some of them from real life) known to have some sort of connection with him. Arthur Collins Braithwaite grew up in a working-class family in the North, his mother having abandoned the family when he was still a young boy. His father, an ironmonger, had decided that his sons would follow him into the family business, but even at an early age Arthur had been determined to go his own way. After World War II he studied at Oxford, but was unable to fit in "among the Eton and Harrow boys" and was failing miserably at his studies in Philosophy. He moved on to France, but it was back in England while working at Netley at a place "accommodating psychologically scarred veterans," where he met R.D. Laing, a psychologist from Scotland, who "made a lasting impression" on Braithwaite. Back at Oxford to study psychology at the age of twenty-eight, he slowly began to find himself "at the centre of things" holding regular meetings in his room ("The Wagstaff Club") where he managed to gather "fawning acolytes" of both sexes; it is here, I think, where we begin to understand just what a narcissistic ass this guy has become, not only in terms of his inflated sense of his own intellectual prowess, but also in his relationships with women. After graduating with a Ph.D, and without going into any kind of great detail here, he eventually wrote his Kill Your Self , not a smash hit at the time of its publication but a book that would go on to "be soon found in the back pocket of every student and bar-room philosopher." Braithwaite also gained a measure of notoriety and a regular clientele after attending a party where actor Dirk Bogarde was a guest -- this "unqualified charlatan "was soon getting calls from actors and people connected to the movie and theater business, as well as "cavalcade of beautiful girls and bohemians." He rode this wave for a while, his ego and wallet being fed by these people and his rise to fame.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
"A border, gentlemen, is for crossing."
"The story's path unfurls, not knowing where it will stop, tacking to the right and left, twisting and turning, allowing anything and everything to join in the narration. It will emerge from within a volcano, swelling silently as the past boils forth into the present, bringing steam, embers and smoke."
"helped generations to make sense of a period in the subcontinent's history that is quite difficult to fathom in its entirety."
"a tale woven of many threads, encompassing modern urban life, ancient history, folklore, feminism, global warming, Buddhism and much more."
It is all that and more; it is also hands down one of the best books of my reading year so far and sadly, I would not have known about it except that it was longlisted for the International Booker Prize which it would go on to win, deservedly so in my opinion. I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like it.
"grown tired of breathing for them, feeling their feelings, bearing their desires, carrying their animosities. She was tired of all of them and she wanted to glide into the wall with a tremor ..."
"deliberate and playful, as in double entrendre and punning, an accidental mishmash of sameness, or a mythical reverberation."
Admittedly I didn't get all of the references and spent much time with my tablet on my lap while reading, but really, it just didn't matter to me -- I absolutely loved this book. It is a great example of what a writer can do not just with story but also with language and storytelling; above all it is a book about borders, physical and otherwise. "A Border," as Ma says to a group of men in Pakistan, "is for crossing" and it is just a joy to read about how many borders this woman (and other people as well) refuses to be confined or defined by as she comes into her own. As the back-cover blurb notes, it is a "timely protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders." There is so much happening in this book that makes it pretty impossible to encompass in a brief post, but it is rare that I find something like this novel which, despite the tragedies here, is so very life affirming in so many different ways. If you need the quick story fix you won't find it here; I'd recommend it to those readers who are willing to take a chance on something very different than the norm. I feel so lucky having made my way through these pages; it's a novel I will never, ever forget.
Thursday, May 19, 2022
"Even if she uses all the tricks in the book, she won't be able to uncover the truth unless she recruits another body to help her."
"objectionable and outspoken woman suffering advanced Parkinson's who stubbornly persists against the odds in investigating the death of her own daughter."