Posted in TALL TALES

CAB 11

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?

Jeremiah 17:9

Deceit
Source: Pininterest

 

He checked his dashboard. This would be his last trip before he would head home. He caught a glimpse of the couple making out in the back from the rear view. His heart melted a little. He missed her so badly, he felt like crying. She would be fast asleep by the time he got back home. He dropped off his riders and made his way back to town. The streets of Lagos were eerily silent and the purring sound of his engine grated on his nerves. He wound down the car windows. He felt the cool breeze of the night on his forehead while his facial hair was merely tickled by the wind. His jaw was covered with facial hair. He also had a moustache and side burns. He was the poster boy for the beard gang. He tugged at his beard and grimaced. He would be home in a bit.

As he took the bend in front of him, he did not see the figure lying in the middle of the road. The form suddenly straightened, forcing him to apply his brakes. He saw one or two figures emerge from nowhere. With surprising quickness, he reversed out of the bend and went back the way he came. His heart pounding louder than the sound of his engines. He revved the engine, constantly checking to see if he was being pursued. After going round in circles to avoid leading them to his house, he finally decided to find his way home. He parked a bit further from the house, and settled for a jog from the car to their apartment. He let himself in quietly taking more time than was necessary to lock-up.

The house was silent, as always. Even the chatty twins could not defy mother nature. He steadied his shaking hand as he opened the door to their bedroom. His relief at the darkness was turned to alarm as he heard some sobs. He put on the light and saw her lying on her back with her feet touching the floor. Her palms covered her eyes and she was crying. She tried to get up as soon as she noticed him. Her eyes were bloody and her face was swollen. She sat on the edge of the bed and supported her self with her hands. She looked at him expectantly. He said nothing.

She cocked her head to the side. “Are you okay? You are breathing heavily?” He quickly hid his still trembling hands behind his back. “I am fine. Why are you not sleeping?” He looked at her stomach. “You good?” She looked away from hum. “Why do you care? When last did you have a conversation with me? When?” She took a deep breath and plumped her pillow with her fist. “I am fine. I was worried about you. This is later than normal. It is almost 4.00a.m. in the morning.” She lay on her back and was asleep instantly. He heaved a sigh of relief. He would not be so lucky tomorrow. This conversation had merely been postponed. He had to pick Monica up for a 9.00am meeting. He dragged himself into the shower before he turned in for the night. He chuckled at the thought since it was after 4.00a.m. already.

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THE BLIND ASSASSIN AS WRITTEN BY MARGARET ATWOOD

Nevertheless, blood is thicker than water, as anyone knows who has tasted both.”

THE BLIND ASSASSIN
THE BLIND ASSASSIN

The Blind Assassin won the Man Booker’s Prize in 2000. This is my Third Booker Prize winner this year. I would have said it is my best book so far but that would not be true. Here is why – every author I have read in this year have told their stories without holding anything back (that is how it feels like). From the lucid narration of the overly-convincing fantasy spun by Yann Martel, to the rhythmless disorder in the plot woven by Arundhati Roy, and now this triple treat delivered by Margaret Atwood in 533 pages. Every book keeps blowing me away, and the Blind Assassin has blown me to pieces, I kid you not.

The best thing about this book is that you are following three plots (actually four) at the same time – it is pure genius. The stories are distinct yet intertwined. The stories are so beautifully written with so much clarity. There is no opportunity for the reader to get lost. The heroine of the novel, Iris Chase, is an elderly woman who is in her last days. This is another interesting feature for me. The main character or the voice of narration of most fiction would usually be a child or an adult. More commonly, the narration will be done in such a manner that it “ages” with that character. So, the diction changes with the time setting in the book i.e. from the character’s childhood till when they become older. In the Blind Assassin, the younger days of the heroine are related using flashbacks.

Continue reading “THE BLIND ASSASSIN AS WRITTEN BY MARGARET ATWOOD”

Posted in TALL TALES

CAB 10

Deceit
Source: Pininterest

Then he came to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.”

Genesis 27: 18-19 

It has been two weeks. Beyonce and Solange have not been bad company. As a matter of fact, they have been a bigger blessing to her than she could have imagined. She did not even mind their attempt at having a musical career. It seemed like Deji no longer stayed at home. He came home much later then ever, and was out before she even woke up. She was so round that she could not move freely. It was much easier to sit still and not move a finger.

Beyonce and Solange had recorded a short video of them singing one of their songs for their instagram story. She had watched it again and laughed till her sides hurt. Solange was so silly – she had said, ‘Aunty mi, if this child does not come out with Adele’s voice, problem go dey o’. She scooped the last spoon of the soup in the pot and dumped into plate angrily. This was getting annoying. Deji was hardly ever at home to eat. He would come in at some ungodly hour and leave at a devilish one. No pillow talk. No conversation. No hugs. He was not even joking with the twins. She covered the plate and slid into the fridge. This whole thing just had a way of upsetting her. Was she not a good wife? Did she nag him too much? No, that could not be it. Apart from that night where she suggested they cut down expenses to meet their economic realities, she had said nothing else about his job. She had not touched him in what felt like forever.

Beyonce and Solange shuffled into the kitchen but not before she could hide her forlorn look.  If they noticed it, they did not say anything. She looked at them pointedly. ‘I am not doing anything for your instagram stories.’ The baby kicked and she gasped. The twins rushed towards her to put their ears on her abdomen. The baby kicked again. They gathered for a group hug. Solange coughs, ‘I feel like an integral part of this baby’s life already’. Then an awkward silence settles over the group.

She cleared her throat. “If you do not mind, please put out the lights when you are done here. I am turning in for the night.” She felt the tears burning behind her closed eyelids. She missed Abby desperately. She understood that things were difficult for them. Would it not have been better if Deji had lost his job instead? Maybe, that would have forced him to take things at a slower pace. She had to remind him that they would be alright.

She sank into the floor. They had to talk today, regardless of the time he came back. It was not hard to see that Deji was avoiding the house, she did not want to say he was avoiding her, but the problem was why? Especially since the twins had come to stay. What was going on? Her head involuntarily fell forward. Wow, she was dozing off. She pulled herself up and began to pace the bedroom. She had to see him today.

She sang as she paced. The she prayed. She prayed for her unborn child. She prayed for her delivery date, the hospital she had been attending her antenatal sessions, the doctors and nurses that will attend to her. She prayed for the twins. She prayed for Abby and Eddy. She prayed for her job. Then she prayed for Deji. The words just came. When she got tired of pacing, she sat. When she got tired of sitting, she lay  on her back. When she got tired of lying on her back, she walked to the bathroom and sat on the toilet bowl. She repeated the sequence until she began to sweat. She felt so uneasy praying about Deji. She could feel that something was wrong. She paused to check the time. It was 2.38 a.m. He was still not back. She sat on the bed and began to cry.

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“LIFE OF PI” AS TOLD BY YANN MARTEL

“You can get used to anything – haven’t I already said that? Isn’t that what all survivors say?”

― Yann Martel, Life of Pi

life of pi book cover
source – amazon.com

The book, Life of Pi, is written by Yann Martel and won the Man Booker Prize in 2002. This review is a quarter late – my apologies. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there will be no spoilers. I actually heard about the movie before the book. Although I am yet to watch the movie, having read the book, I have “difficulties” imagining the story on the Big Screen. My “difficulties” notwithstanding, the movie was widely accepted by critics and won several oscars including the best cinematography and the best directors award. Well done to Ang Lee.

The book opens with an author narrating his search for a big break which we can surmise that he is  lucky to find when he meets the protagonist of the story who is willing to share the story with him. The story is thus being reported by the author as told him by the protagonist of the story.

Actually, when I started reading the book I thought it was some biography until I got to the end and it seemed like the author was trying to mess with my mind. He not only tried, he obviously succeeded. The book messed with my mind. The author has done a very good job of portraying fiction as reality. Now that I think about it, there were some outrageous things in the plot that should have struck me as odd – I mean they did, but I just felt well… Another reason why I didn’t have problems believng the story was the express mention in the story that the survival of the protagonist could only have been by the divine intervention of God. This is an integral part of my faith – that God’s majesty and greatness is beyond our understanding and that his acts are usually bigger than our wildest imaginations. Yann Martel’s potrayal of religion in this story is worthy of note. Pi, the protagonist, is a christian, muslim and hindu at the same time. I guess Pi’s adherence to the tenets of each of the religion articulates Yann’s idea of religious tolerance. Or is this some far-fetched inference from the book?

Yann Martel did an amazing job of creating a riveting story from point of view of a shipwreck survivor who spent several months stranded at sea with a huge tiger on a life boat. Yann is able to share the childhood of the protagonist, and his growth during his time at sea. The narration is lucid, easy to follow, and really believable. I would never as classified “Life of Pi” as fantasy. It is very believable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.

All I just want to say is “Life of Pi” is spectacular and Yann Martel did an awesome job.

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ARUNDHATI ROY’S THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS

“Change is one thing, acceptance is another.”

The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things

I have reviewed my goal of reading the man booker’s prize winners to one book every quarter. The first book for this year is Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things”. I am writing this review with a  bit of shame because it is coming two quarters late. As always, there will be no spoilers.

I am not a fan of the arrangement of the plot of the book. I say this because it defied chronology. At first, it is difficult to appreciate the sequence of events because the reader is lost trying to figure out whether the event occurred in the past or in the present. However, this pays off in the end because I think the story is a tragedy. Honestly, everything went downhill pretty quickly but because the author narrates the resolution of the plot somewhere in the middle – there is neither suspense nor climax. What you get at the end is some kind of relief that in the midst of the tragedies, there were at least some good moments. Secondly, the author switches the point of view of the narration from the third person to narrating through Rahel – one of the main characters. If this was not intentional, I think it turned out great nonetheless. This switch in the point of view of the narration does little harm to the already-convoluted sequence of events. Continue reading “ARUNDHATI ROY’S THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS”