The Hungry Tide – Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide belongs not to the lives of its characters. But to the sanctuary that is the Sundarbans; and the islands which form a transcendental awning of flora and fauna. The book creates a world you can embrace or abandon; a story you can live or let go.


The lyrical quest for a life’s purpose mirrors that of another’s impassivity toward it. And everything that happens in between is everything that is made alive. The book illustrates the unaffected and pulsating virtues of nature; the rise and fall of empires; and the unpredictable tides of reformation.

Is it possible to live without language? When language exists as the only measure of life; and yet conflicting with the certainty of death. The book is immediate and real; like splitting the gentle stirrings of the sea into a thousand ripples.

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter – Simone de Beauvoir

“Everything is too weak: all things carry the seeds of their own death.”

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
doesn’t escape the world that it truly is. Its telling is inspiring and Simone’s voice is intelligent, unapologetic, and detailed. It’s because of books like this one that the essence of writing a memoir is liberating and arresting. The book builds a unique sense of presence; as if reading about Simone’s life resembles looking into your own.

You can dip your feet into Simone’s both ravenous and still waters. You can borrow from her wisdom; her moving and microscopic reverie which ties together the threads of one’s being and existence. You must remain aware and willing- for you are now in possession of life’s most overlooked yet delicate points.

As we get immersed in the crutches of reality and living, it may seem to others that the distance between birth to meaning to death is a short one. After reading Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, it is possible to think of our individuality as anything but that.

The book changes the course of time. You find yourself traversing a path as charged as the gravity of our innermost feelings. To become more aware of how submerged and detached we can be – while being completely unaware of it – from everything but our own lives.


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To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

Reading To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf is like learning how characters blend with each other and their surroundings. And yet the boundaries between their language and inner nature never stay the same.

The book is about the passing of time; stamped by ephemeral moments and endearment. It’s about an unaware, sullen shift; simmered in feeling and an intimate transaction. And the words left unsaid hanging by a thread between two lives.

The story lives longer than its making allows. It’s a beautiful meditation to grasp the brittleness of life. How we argue with it, with the notion of death itself, in a tight coupling of what is permanent and what is now and forever evolving. And that is the fabric of relationships we long for but that never comes to be.

To read it is to surrender to the forceful tide of sorrow’s inevitable current. The ebb and flow of holding on to the shadowed details of life. And how they slip past us as hurriedly as they settle back in.

Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night feels rushed and, often times, wearisome. It’s a tale about the lives of two people, Dick and Nicole, and how they navigate the currents of their elitist and dramatized world.

It could have been a tragic encounter in the simplest and humane manner. The vibe of the book feels incomplete like a story haphazardly penned down for effect. Being his fourth and final novel, Fitzgerald leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination and grit.
The characters possess inconsequential personalities, it seems, mostly for the protagonist to have some kind of control over them.

Within its own narrative, the book fails on many counts. The stories within are interlaced and not given enough time to seep into the theme of the book. And so, at the end of the book, the feelings are the same as when you read the first page.

No Name in the Street – James Baldwin

Historical thinking is a result of not one, not two, but multiple perspectives joined together, at its root. This is perhaps easier to understand after reading James Baldwin’s No Name In The Street.

The book highlights all facets of the Civil Rights Movement and America’s particularly engrossing and disturbing account during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It brings to light the helplessness of courage. And the strength humans draw from it.

No Name In The Street is a book that’s quite unlike any other. A book compelling enough to rattle any cage. It takes a stance where everything must be questioned.


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Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women isn’t easy to talk about. His characters are joined together by the same thread: loneliness. Tales that exist away from the way we understand common life. A telescopic glimpse into the courage of isolation. And the sharp pull of detachment one feels when left astray.

This book is like a path one seldom walks on – not to find oneself but to lose everything – time and distance – to reconnect with solitude and come back to reality.


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The Yellow Wall-Paper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

That which lies amidst our inner and outer layer of reality is now complete. The Yellow Wall-Paper puts down such ephemeral thoughts next to those that contradict them. A collection of 3 striking stories, Charlotte invites you to contemplate the thought and feeling of a woman beat down by society. And how such consciousness manifests into fiction.

Each story is remarkable, provocative, and spirited. The story judges itself by what is left to unravel between words. The essence of which stays with you in the present moment as you meditate on your relations with the rest of the estranged world.

A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf

” – one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one’s audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.”

A gentle and humorous take on Women and Fiction, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf makes a splendid and profound statement. It’s about understanding the divide between intellectual freedom and its expression. The brutal, and often misconstrued, truths about creativity.

Woolf’s unapologetic thoughts help you understand yourself more vividly as when you find it hard to understand others. And as you move closer to examine yourself as a writer, an artist, or a performer, it takes you an even greater distance toward the true meaning of life. And its sentiment.

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

Murakami’s fiction is never subtle. 1Q84 even more so. The truth about reading this novel, and not understanding it at first glance, is that what it is – the characters, the fantasy, and the two worlds – are never left behind. 1Q84 is not about finding meaning in lost suffering. It’s about casting shadows as fingerprints that you have to leave behind, on everything, as parts of yourself. If we’re shadows in this world, without which light remains invisible, this book is its manifestation. A thorough and magical one, no less.

The story, detailed and fluid, draw out parallels between reality and reality. While we exist knowing what we are against what we’re not. We draw a line between heaven and hell; love and hate; man and woman. In Murakami’s world, there exists no such distinction. But the reality is unapologetically split into two. Where you work with time and where you work against it. Where you want to see the world as a whole and where you isolate the land, the sky, the ocean… to inherit all their lives.

The book declares this unusual relationship between both realities. And in reading every word, turning every page, you transcend the journey from and to where you belong. And when that isn’t enough, there’s something in this book… in the reader… that will never be complete.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Books like A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara are not easy to forget. They latch on to you as works of loneliness, conflict, and love. When you say that the basis of any culture, of any life, is what transcends into loving and being loved, this book is rather like what’s left behind.

All throughout the book, the main question that filled me with anxiety was not about the unrequited resilience of the story but about the possibilities of absolute love in an age when redeeming human identity is almost always never personal.

Everybody should read this book to understand the meaning of strength in the absence of feeling. Of pain in the presence of love.

In my personal opinion, parts of this book do feel stretched. The author’s way of writing has an emotive side that I adored but, at the same time, it overlapped at many turns which were unexpectedly repetitive.


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