Posted in RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM)

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”

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Posted in RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM)

“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.

Posted in RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM)

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”

Posted in RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM)

CAL NEWPORT’S SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU

CAL NEWPORT"S SO GOOD THEY CAN'T IGNORE YOU
CAL NEWPORT’S SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU

‘Working right trumps finding the right work’

Cal Newport, in ‘So good they can’t ignore you’.

Thank you so much Cal Newport. Thank you!

I remember my reaction when I read the first line from the book – “‘Follow your passion’ is dangerous advice”. I could not believe what I had t read.

I totally loved Cal Newport’s writing style – lucid and factual. He is also very engaging. First, he summarises the content of a chapter at the end of the chapter. Then, in the subsequent chapter, he explains how the conclusions of the previous chapter flow into the issue being talked about in the present chapter. His team did a fantastic job. I was impressed and I feel like I was actually having a conversation with the author with each page I turned.

As a young professional, people ask you where you see yourself in, say, five years and what contribution you would like to make to your field. I am speaking from my experience – I always panicked at these questions because I realised at the beginning of my career that my theoretical education is at parallel with what actually obtains in practice. For me, I was focused on ‘re-learning’ in my first work year. So when people inquired about some five-year plan, they almost always drew a blank because I felt like I was still developing skills and the knowledge I needed to answer that question. Along the line, I tried to come up with plans because it seemed like the question was inevitable. Everywhere I turned to I was slapped with the ‘passion fever’. I began to question whether I really knew what I was doing because I had no illusions about having a passion. How do you not have a passion?! Continue reading “CAL NEWPORT’S SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU”

Posted in STRICTLY BLACK AND WHITE, THEY SAY IT BETTER

#DEARASPIRANTSTOTHEBAR, NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL (NLS) EXTERNSHIP PROGRAMME; NUGGETS FOR SUCCESS.

By Tobi Michael Babalola*

Tobi Michael Babalola
Source: Tobi Michael Babalola

Hello, to those currently at the Nigerian Law School. I’m sharing with you my experience during the NLS two months externship and how you can make excellent use of the opportunity to gain practical knowledge for your Bar Examinations and in the long run your legal career.

The Externship programme is a part of the Nigerian Law School curriculum to add practical experience to what is taught within the four walls of your NLS classroom. The programme is divided into two invaluable learning experiences to wit; the court room externship, which comes first followed immediately  by the chamber/law firm externship. At the end of this programme, NLS students are made to undergo a portfolio assessment to examine them on what they have learnt during the programme. This is also a prerequisite for being called to the Nigerian Bar.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

I believe the under listed steps have been taken and you’ve all received your placements:

-Fill the placement forms for both court and chamber attachments.  N. B: The system of choosing your preferred local government  and state is intentionally made flexible for your convenience.

-Submit the forms

-Get your placement notifications from NLS

-COMPLAINTS? inform your NLS campus Externship coordinator or Group mentor,  as the case may be based on the information given by your campus coordinator or Directors.

-Listen to the instructions given and obey.  (Many, but important, especially to avoid hiccups during your portfolio assessment).

For example – Making copies of work done during the programme; submitting a signed and up-to-date log book; filled assessment form accompanied by a letter & a copy of your attendance list to be in a sealed envelope from your chamber. Confirm if a court assessment is also required.

-Avoid rumors (listening to and spreading rumors). Get your instructions directly from the authorities which will be communicated to your various group heads or the Chairman Students Representative Council, as the case may be.

MYTHS ABOUT NLS EXTERNSHIP PLACEMENTS

Below, are some stories you hear about the Externship placements. Though not myths in all cases but in most cases. My colleagues may have shared some of these with you, bear in mind that this is subjective and wisdom is profitable to direct.

  • I have to get into one of these top chambers, so that I can be retained after law school. True, but not every time. If this is your reason for going to that top chamber, why not have a better perspective like learning the work culture of this firm that makes them top,  gaining relevant skills because for all you know a better opportunity awaits you after law school and these skills will come in handy.

 

  • Some judges and chambers are prepared to work you out. Really!!!? You just have to manage your time properly. No knowledge is a waste.  Remember, “Knowledge empowers”.

 

  • I should get a stipend of 5 million Naira from my chambers after the externship programme. Don’t think it! Don’t say it! Not all law firms pay that stipend. As you said, it’s just a stipend. Max 100,000 Naira.

 

  • I can write jargon in my log book, nobody is gonna read it. Hmm hmm, you’re on the wrong track Bruv! It may have worked for your predecessors but your portfolio assessment may not be detailed like theirs. There’s a saying that: Taiwo and Kehinde (twins) were born on the same day but have different destinies.

 

MY LAW SCHOOL EXPERIENCE Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTSTOTHEBAR, NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL (NLS) EXTERNSHIP PROGRAMME; NUGGETS FOR SUCCESS.”