So, I am done with my first Man Booker Prizer for 2019 – “The Sea, the Sea”. This book was written by Iris Murdoch and won the Booker Prize in 1978. Irish Murdoch has been identified as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. I had not heard of her or read any of her works until I selected this book as my fiction choice for the first quarter of 2019.
I was terribly disappointed when I started reading the book. I quickly concluded that I had made a wrong choice. I have never been happier to have jumped into conclusion in my life before. It actually did get better after the first 100 pages. As always, I am not inclined to give spoilers. Continue reading “A REVIEW OF IRIS MURDOCH’S “THE SEA, THE SEA””→
Hi there. As at the time I typed the first word in this piece, I didn’t know what I was writing on. I did not know, say, if it would make sense or if people would like it. You know, the kind of stuff that kills the truth all in the name of “decorum”. But then, it suddenly re-occured to me, when have I really been one to consider so many factors before writing out my mind. I always write it exactly as I think it – unfiltered and uncensored – devoid of any devices with which most others would blot out some things in order to give you a ” good read “. I’m sorry oh, I’m not writing to amuse anyone. My aim is to put the truth directly in the spotlight so everyone can see it for what it is. Most editors won’t take my work because it’s too raw, and I’m ” always angry”. Lol, Camoquin is bitter but it’s your best treatment for malaria, so it’s either you take it or you stay ill.
Let’s talk about our society. I’m talking about Nigeria now. Let us try to take our minds through the latest trends around. We’re continually becoming decadent in our “culture”, all in the name of wanting to “belong”. That inferiority complex mentality of “I no fit carry last” is exactly the reason that the lot of us are “carrying last”. A man gets employed somewhere, and because he wants to impress his wife, neighbours, and village people, he throws a lavish party to celebrate. Everyone comes, they eat, they drink, they go. And he’s left in debt. Such a man would not hesitate to take a large loan to throw a big funeral for his father, should that father die. A man who is spending beyond his means. He is also living in constant debt. Let’s be honest, how is such a man going to prosper? Can he leave a good enough inheritance for his children? The Bible says that a good man leaves an inheritance even for his children’s children. This implies that if and when you fail to do this, you’re a bad person. A fool. Yes, I said it. But then, this is the story of most of our lives. We’re living beyond our means just so we don’t appear to be ” below standard”. Little do we know.
And then, I nearly forgot, there’s the issue of this election season we’re in. And no, I’m not here to express my fears that Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s picture will soon be a regular feature on bread wrappers and recharge cards. It is really about all of these people who have come again oh. I am talking about the ruling party, the opposition party, and the end-of-year parties. They’ve all presented candidates across the platforms of the country’s political spectrum. Everyone is “making mouth”, throwing shades, delivering sweet speeches riddled with bogus plans and unfeasible ideas. Nobody’s talking about the important things. Nobody (except a woman named Oby) is talking about the Chibok girls, and the last Dapchi girl. Nobody’s talking about the havoc that the “area boys” are wreaking in Lagos because one Oluomo got stabbed. Nobody’s talking about ASUU, the super strikers of “Shithole FC”. Nobody. All we, I actually, have been hearing is that they should “fix light”; they should fix the roads; we should export clothes; we should do this and that; but we’re leaving out the most important aspects of a successful society like education!!! Like my people will say, “ko buru”. We will all soon see the end of these things. Very soon.
*Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a 500 level law student of the University of Lagos. The first of three children. A god. Also known as “Ignis” (Latin for “light”). A multifaceted artist with interests ranging from filmmaking to writing and public speaking. His works are mainly satirical in nature and revolve around trends in global and public affairs with a view to enlightening people on the downsides to said trends and how they can be corrected. Ignis is an introverted extrovert with a reserved personality and a tendency to talk a lot.
“My experience in traditional firms is that anything new is seen as innovative, and the people assigned to it, like any parent, become irrationally passionate about the project and refuse to acknowledge just how stupid and ugly your little project has become.”
Scott Galloway in the “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google”
Scott Galloway, in this book, looks at these four companies – Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google and dissects them. He looks at what gives each of the companies an edge, the problems their “disruption” poses, and what average Johns and Janes like you and me can do to stay relevant, or words to that effect, in these turbulent time. As always, I try to avoid spoilers.
Amazon’s is causing a lot of disruption in the retail business. What Amazon has learnt to do is to use the online space and technology supported warehouses to do what traditional retailers are unable to do. Amazon has simply been able to do more for less – controls its storage, competes with other retailers on its platform at its lower price, controls its own delivery. It is also delving into a lot of other things to keep its cost at the barest minimum. It is difficult to remember that Amazon began supposedly as a book store.
Scott Galloway posits that Apple’s strength is its ability to sell as a luxury product. I mean, in Nigeria, Apple products are a status symbol. I just never thought that it was obtainable elsewhere. Maybe Apple indeed has superior technology. Maybe. Scott does not have a lot of nice things to say about Steve Jobs, but he thinks that Apple is the most likely to continue its domination because of its luxury appeal.
Facebook has a lot of data. We know that data is the new oil. Facebook’s advantage – it is not paying for that data, it is receiving all of it for free. Facebook is a prime platform to push products out there. Scott Galloway talks about how newspapers were slowly losing their revenues and crowds to Facebook. he talks about his time on the board of New York Times and you get the feeling he feels bad about how all of it turned out.
Finally, Google. Google’s search engine was a revolution. According to Scott Galloway, its major appeal is its very “not complex” interface, just a simple search bar. Google is not resting on its oars, it has come up with other innovative ideas such as the Google class, and its is not doing badly with its android technology either.
Scott Galloway worries that the Four are in the long run bad for jobs and the people – they disregard establishments, avoid taxes, and have caused the loss of million of jobs. It is inevitable, because technology enable us to do more with less. What does this mean for the average Johns and Janes? Getting an education, following talent and not passion, and promoting yourself (working hard too).
Some of the companies identifed by Scott Galloway as giving the Four a run for their money include, Uber, Microsoft, and Tesla. It is a good read and it helps put the impact of the internet and the increasing global connectivity in perspective.
I totally enjoyed it. Scott Galloway clearly knows his stuff, and put a lot of work into making it very easy to understand. I think everyone should read this. The activities of these companies affect us one way or the other.
“After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”
I remember picking up this book and seeing a japanese name and thinking I would be in for some thrilling samurai fights and exotic Japanese folklores. I love keeping my anticipations untainted, so I try not to look for a summary or a review before I read a book. In any event, I did not think I was going to be disappointed. It was going to be a great read, seeing that, it had won a manbooker prize, and the author is also a Nobel Laureate.
By the time I started however, I was pleasantly surprised. I continued reading the book in the voice of an English actor (Mark Strong? Maybe Benedict Cumberbatch? ) because I really could not help it. The story follows a butler in a prominent household. I like that he is proud of his job and his accomplishments in running a house before things fell apart. I think his life just shows how easy it is for the human mind to accept certain things, once they can be rationalised or explained. In my opinion, Stevens is an embodiment of the stereotype that have been ascribed English people over time – snobbish, stiff, “dignified” (whatever that means), and cold. (It just feels that way.)
“Nevertheless, blood is thicker than water, as anyone knows who has tasted both.”
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.