Chakraborty: The City of Brass

“He’d gone pale, and she paused to listen to the pulse of his heart… Despite the graying hairs in his beard – ill-hidden by henna – and the plumpness in his belly, he suffered from nothing other than an excess of wealth. She’d be glad to help him with that.”

April. Aside from bringing with it spring flowers, sunshine, and the taste of upcoming exam season in the air, this month brought forth new reads as well. Though I started by picking up Tolstoy for the first time (stick with me to hear about that soon dear reader), when I found ‘The City of Brass’ thrust eagerly into my hands by a fellow bookworm as well, I soon realised parallel reading was not an option.

Now that isn’t to do a disservice to our Russian friend in the slightest – I found him surprisingly readable after all, and progressed faster than I thought I would on entering his world. But either Chakraborty’s world was just that little more compelling, or the prospect of borrowing such a pristine copy was too daunting for me to leave ‘The City of Brass’ unread for too long. It was the latter, in any case, which was most definitely responsible for my returning Chakraborty’s (finished) novel the next day.

And boy, what a novel.

(Spoilers within.)

Continue reading “Chakraborty: The City of Brass”

Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

“Now, if the enumeration of so many edifices, brief as we have tried to be, has not shattered in the reader’s mind the general image of old Paris as fast as we have endeavored to construct it, we will recapitulate it in a few words.

Have you ever read a book that’s changed you in some way? I talk not of powerful biographies, or religious scripture here, though admittedly both have the potential to evoke great personal change, but the humble novel. Perhaps it’s a stupid question. Most people, after all, would answer yes; literature carries with it that special sort of magic which, on its smallest scale, can move a reader from apathy, to elation, to abject grief, and to all manner of sentiment in between. Some pieces go further than just triggering a cascade of changing emotion through their course, and have the added ability to elicit a change in outlook by their close as well.

But what about challenging the type of reader you are though, and changing the way it is you read?

(Part discussion, part book review. Spoilers within.)

Continue reading “Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”

Fiona Barton: The Widow

“He wasn’t there to provide for her anymore. Or to stop her talking.”

Barton’s ‘The Widow’ tells the tale of Jean Taylor and husband Glen. He is the accused, and she is the loyal wife, quiet at his side as his name is tarnished and reputation sullied. Until, that is, the day she finds herself alone. With Glen gone, suddenly it’s her turn in the spotlight, and all those unanswered questions from the past are back and knocking on the door.

(This review may contain spoilers.)

(Major plot spoilers and the ending aren’t mentioned though.)

(Still not sure if you should read on? In that case, read the book then get back to me.)
Continue reading “Fiona Barton: The Widow”