Saturday, April 19, 2014

മാർക്കേസ് ഇനിയില്ല... മേജിക്കും..

മാർക്കേസ് 
മാതൃഭൂമി ആഴ്ചപ്പതിപ്പായിരുന്നു ഒരു കാലത്ത് സാഹിത്യത്തിലേക്കുളള എന്റെ കിളിവാതിൽ. എന്റെ ചെറുപ്പത്തിൽ അതിൽ വന്നിരുന്ന കഥകളും ലേഖനങ്ങളും വായനാശീലത്തിൽ വലിയ സ്വാധീനം ചെലുത്തിയിരുന്നു. വിശ്വസാഹിത്യത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് ബോധവാനാക്കുന്നതിൽ - ക്ലാസ്സിക്കുകളെക്കുറിച്ച് ആയാലും, സമകാലീന സൃഷ്ടികളെക്കുറിച്ചായാലും, ആഴ്ചപ്പതിപ്പ് ഒരു സഹായമായിരുന്നു. (പിന്നീട് ഇത് പൊതുവാ
യനശാലയിൽ പോയി കലാകൌമുദിയിൽ വന്നിരുന്ന സാഹിത്യവാരഫലം വായിക്കുന്നതായി മാറി എന്നത് മറ്റൊരു കാര്യം.) കാഫ്കയും കമ്യുവും സാർത്രും മാർക്കേസുമൊക്കെ ചിരപരിചിതരായതങ്ങനെ. ഒരിക്കൽ മാർക്കേസിന്റെ ഏകാന്തതയുടെ നൂറു വർഷങ്ങളെക്കുറിച്ച് വായിച്ചു. ലൈബ്രറിയിൽ പോയപ്പോൾ അവിടെ ഒരു ഷെൽഫിൽ അതിന്റെ മലയാളം പരിഭാഷ! ഏകാന്തതയുടെ നൂറു വർഷങ്ങൾ എന്ന പേര് കേട്ടപ്പോൾ ഞാൻ കരുതിയത്‌ കുറച്ചു വിരസമായ ഒരു ട്രാജഡി ആയിരിക്കും എന്നാണ്. ഒരു കമ്യു സ്റ്റൈൽ. പക്ഷെ എടുത്തു വായിച്ചു നോക്കി. ജീവിതം വഴിമാറിയതു പോലെ!

ഏകാന്തതയുടെ നൂറു വർഷങ്ങൾ 
കാഫ്കയുടെ മെറ്റമോർഫോസിസ് വായിച്ച മാർക്കേസ് ഇങ്ങനെയും കഥ എഴുതാമോ എന്ന് ആശ്ചര്യപ്പെട്ടതായി കേട്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്. ഏകാന്തത വായിച്ച എന്റെ മനസ്സിലും ഉണ്ടായ ചിന്ത ഇത് തന്നെയായിരിക്കും.  മനസ്സിലെ എല്ലാ വികാരങ്ങളെയും കൊണ്ട് പാലാഴി മഥനം നടത്തുന്ന ഒരു റോളർ കോസ്റ്റർ റൈഡ്! ഇത്രയും വർണ്ണാഭമായ ഭാഷ, സ്ഫോടനാത്മകമായ രചനാശൈലി, വായിച്ചു തീരുമ്പോൾ വർഷങ്ങളോളം മനസ്സില് കിടന്നു ഓളം വെട്ടുന്ന കഥ... ഒരു മാസ്റ്റർ പീസ്‌.

തുടർന്ന്  വർഷങ്ങൾക്കു ശേഷമാണ് മാർക്കേസിന്റെ അടുത്ത പുസ്തകം വായിക്കാൻ കിട്ടുന്നത്- വംശാധികാരിയുടെ ശരത്ക്കാലം. വായനക്കാരന് നേരെ മാർക്കേസ് എറിയുന്ന ഒരു പ്രഹേളിക. ഞാൻ വായിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളതിൽ ഏറ്റവും കഠിനമായ നോവലായിരിക്കും അത്. ഓരോ വാചകവും പേജുകളോളം നീളും. പദ്യം പോലെയുള്ള ആഖ്യാനം. ഒരു അമ്പത് പേജു കഴിഞ്ഞിരിക്കും ആ ശൈലിയുമായി പൊരുത്തപ്പെടാൻ. തുടർന്ന് കാര്യമായി വിഷമിച്ചില്ല. പല ഭാഗങ്ങളും ഒരു രണ്ടാം വട്ട വായനയിലേ പൂർണ്ണമായും ഗ്രഹിക്കാൻ സാധിക്കൂ. ആ  പുസ്തകം ഒരു വായനക്കാരനെന്ന നിലയിൽ എനിക്ക് തന്ന ആത്മ വിശ്വാസം അപാരമായിരുന്നു. അതിനു ശേഷം  തേടിപ്പിടിച്ചുള്ള വായനയായിരുന്നു. മാർക്കേസിന്റെ പുസ്തകങ്ങൾ മാത്രമല്ല, മോഡേണും പോസ്റ്റ്‌ മോഡേണുമായ പല എഴുത്തുകാരുടെയും കൃതികൾ. ഒരു എഴുത്തുകാരന്റെ വിജയം  അതുതന്നെയായിരിക്കും.  തന്റെ സാഹിത്യത്തിലൂടെ വായനക്കാരനെ താനടങ്ങുന്ന ലോകത്തെ കൂടുതൽ പര്യവേഷണം ചെയ്യാൻ പ്രേരിപ്പിക്കുക.
വംശാധികാരിയുടെ ശരത്ക്കാലം 

സാഹിത്യ പ്രപഞ്ചം എന്ന വാക്ക്  വളരെ അധികം ഉപയോഗിച്ച്  പഴകിയ ഒരു വാക്കാണ്‌. യഥാർത്ഥത്തിൽ വളരെ കുറച്ചു സാഹിത്യകാരന്മാർക്ക് മാത്രമേ സ്വന്തമായി ഒരു പ്രപഞ്ചം സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ സാധിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളൂ. മാർക്കേസ് തന്റേതായ ഒരു പ്രപഞ്ചത്തിന്റെ അഥിപനാണ്. സ്വപ്നങ്ങളും മായാജാലവും കപ്പലും  കടലും യോദ്ധാക്കളും ജിപ്സികളും കരീബിയൻ ചൂടും പ്രണയും പ്രണയ ഭംഗവും മരണവും രതിയും ഫിലോസഫിയും- എല്ലാം അടങ്ങിയ അത്ഭുതലോകം. 

മാർക്കേസ് ഇങ്ങു കേരളത്തിൽ അറിയപ്പെടുന്നത് മലയാളത്തിലെ ഏറ്റവും വലിയ എഴുത്തുകാരൻ എന്നാണ്. അദ്ദേഹത്തിനും അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ രചനകൾക്കും മേജിക്കൾ റിയലിസത്തിനും ഇവിടെ കിട്ടിയ സ്വീകാര്യത അത്രക്കുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ അനുകർത്താക്കളും ഇവിടെ കുറവല്ല. ഇന്നലെ ദിവംഗതനായ അദ്ദേഹത്തിനെ പറ്റി ഒരു കുറിപ്പെഴുതണമെന്നു തോന്നിയപ്പോൾ അത് മലയാളത്തിലാകാമെന്നു തീരുമാനിച്ചത് അത് കൊണ്ടാണ്. കഴിഞ്ഞ മാസമാണ് ഞാൻ  മാതൃഭൂമി പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച ആർ. വി. എം. ദിവാകരൻ രചിച്ച മാർക്കേസിന്റെ ജീവചരിത്രം പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട ഗാബോ വാങ്ങിയത്. മാർക്കേസിന്റെ മരണം അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ  ജീവിതത്തെ കൂടുതൽ അറിയാൻ എന്നെ ഉത്സുകനാക്കുന്നു.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: The Temple of Avinasi by Ayush Pathak

Fantasy is a genre that has tasted some major success in recent times- in books and in movies. Writers around the globe are experimenting by mixing fantasy with different other genres creating unique cocktails- thriller fantasy, mystery fantasy, romantic fantasy, historical fantasy (ever heard of Abraham Lincoln, The Vampire Slayer?), sci-fi fantasy, mythological fantasy and even erotic fantasy. The major consumers of the genre are teens and young adults. The plots and plot structures of these books and their narrative styles are generally made to suite their interests with all major characters being teen agers. Following its tremendous success in international level, several Indian authors too are trying to emulate them with varied results. Recent path breaking success of Amish Tripathi in creating a trilogy about an Indian mythological hero has encouraged many new writers to take inspiration from Indian mythology in writing fantasies. The Temple of Avinasi: The Legend of the Kalki written by Ayush Pathak is one such effort.

 Angel is a boy living in the Valley with his guardian Shri and his close companions are Alisha and Sam. During one of their escapades into the nearby forest, the trio meets with a talking Yethi. Angel realizes he is a not a normal kid and has some extraordinary powers. His displaying these powers causes a group of mysterious people to invade the valley and attack him and those dear to him. With the help of the Yethi, Angel escapes to the Temple of Avinasi, a brotherhood made of several tribes under the leadership of Devs to prevent Nishachars from wreaking havoc among Nashwars, the humans. He learns that he is a Dev and his destiny is to fulfill an old prophesy by being the last Avatar, Lord Kalki and annihilate the Dark Avatar. But he never realize that in doing so he will have to confront the secrets of his past and make a choice that can alter his existence for ever.

 The best thing about this book is that, though it bases itself in the Indian mythological stories about Dasavathar, the writer never tries to mold his story on those lines. He uses certain plot points from them to tell a totally different story, set in present times. To take inspiration from epics and creating a modern fantasy out of it, I feel is an impressive feat by itself. The language in which the story is told is very simple, making it easy for even readers who are not aware of Indian myths to comprehend and appreciate the happenings very clearly. The book is a bit long, just less than 400 pages and takes some time to read. But there is no complaint as the pacing of the story is pretty fast and the book is quite entertaining with a lot of things happening. The descriptions of different worlds, different kinds of tribes and creatures inhabiting them are entertaining to read. The characterization is also adequate for the scope of the book. The climax is good and though it is the first part of a series, it feels like a standalone book. At the same time I felt like waiting to see how the story is going to turn in the forthcoming part.

 I was not impressed with the cover. Design does not want me to pick this book from the lot. May be the excessive use of blue color did it for me. Another complaint that I have is that the book is too genre driven. Every twist in the story reminded me of some other book in the genre- from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to Star Wars. It feels like the author has made a check list of plot points after researching fantasy books and wrote the book after that. If you are really into fantasy novels, this book will not disappoint you. Others can use this book as a stepping stone if you want to start appreciating the genre.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Raising Supaman

Parenting is one unique behavior that separates us from other animals. While for other animals raising their young is just an instinct, for humans it is more than that. For us it is much more complex. Parenting is one way in which we instill principles in our next generation. For any particular species of animal there is only one way to do it, but among humans, the technique and the outcome vary individually. It has evolved as an art form. Raising kids, developing them to their full potential and making them succeed in their lives is any parent’s ambition. But then, the success level is varied. There is no secret formula to raise a kid. As every kid is unique, parenting style also should be unique. Raising Supaman by Nathaniel A. Turner J. D. is a book trying to provide some help to the parents out there sweating, in realizing their dream of raising a successful child.

Raising Supaman is a collection of letters from the writer addressed to his son Naeem. He started these letters from when his kid crossed adolescent and ends towards the end of his teens. All the letters invariably address the issues the kid is facing while coming of age and are intended to motivate him in facing the challenges and obstacles on his way to success. But what makes each letter stand out on its own, is the varying context. Each letter has in its concern a different struggle that the kid has to come over in his everyday life. Added to these concerns is the father’s own emotional turmoil, his struggle in finding out what is good for the kid and his introspection to find out where he stands and what correction he has to do. The beauty of these letters is the story that it tells, that of a kid who aims for the stars and has the persistence to reach there, thanks to the overall support from his loving father.

When I chose this book after seeing the title and cover graphics, I felt it is going to be a humorous read. Unfortunately the case wasn’t so and I will not deny that this factor has hampered my enjoying this book to a small extent. Yet I enjoyed the sincerity in the language of these letters, the conviction that the Dad has on his son and the motivating tone his prose has. The book tries to emphasize the power of written word over verbal advises in parenting. I feel the writer has a point in it, because written word does not have the emotional baggage that follows a spoken word, which most of the time dilute the intended effect. Another factor is the longevity of letters.

Raising Supaman can be beneficial for parents as it provide them a path to reach out to their kids- that of writing letters. It is useful for kids as most of the issues they face while growing up are addressed in this book.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review: Early One Morning by Robert Ryan

For writers around the globe, wars were always a treasure trove of inspiration. Every war generates its own share of stories in every color. Among all the wars, The Second world War remains the one that has been a constant source of inspiration to countless story tellers. One reason may be its magnitude- most of the nations took sides in that war and fighting happened on almost all the continents known then. Another reason may be the unpleasant memories of the holocaust. That atrocity of men against men has generated a separate genre in literature. The war novel, Early One Morning by Robert Ryan is an attempt to tell a story based on the resistance movement within France against German Invasion.

Most of the major characters in this novel are either ones who really lived, or is loosely based on real people. The story starts when an English man, William Grover- Williams enters the arena of car racing and become a major figure driving for Bugatti. Robert Benoist, the French man who led the team till then becomes his major rival when both of them fall for the affection of same lady- Eve Aubicq. Later Williams marries Eve and eventually he and Robert become thick friends. The break out of Second World War and subsequent invasion of France by Germany causes them to start a resistance movement against Germans within France aided by British secret agency. The war becomes a field to test their love, loyalty and honor.

The story unfolds in two different time lines. One follows an old woman, Rose Miller, in 2001, trying to explore the contents in an old car buried deep inside a lake in Austria. Another one starts inside an artist’s studio in Versailles in 1928, and follows the rise of Williams as a race car driver and his involvement in French Resistance against Germans. Both narratives merge at the end, when we find out the mission of Rose Miller. The tempo of the novel is quite slow at the starting. It takes its sweet time in establishing the characters and the premise. There is no much action in the initial parts other than car racing.  But this initial built up helps us in appreciating the action that follows during the war, because by that time we start feeling for the characters thrown into a whirlpool of love, friendship, betrayal, loyalty espionage and violence.

I enjoyed reading this early novel from Robert Ryan. It is epic, entertaining and has something for everyone. Combining of fact and fiction is technique that requires skill. Robert Ryan is at ease doing it. I would recommend Early One Morning for those who like their stories well told and don’t mind a bit of inaction in a story about war. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Giveaway: The Winner's Curse by Dee Walker

Conscientious Reflections is happy to announce its first ever Book Give-away. Participate and you stand the chance to win a copy of e-book The Winner’s Curse by Dee Walker, a political thriller about India, technology and greed.

The Book

The Winner’s Curse is Dee Walker’s first political thriller and his second novel, the first one being Beaten by Bhagath, written under his real name. Instead of treading the safe path of depending on an established publisher, he self-published the book in e-book format. It worked because within two weeks of its release, it entered the top 100 Amazon UK Best Sellers list in two genres, Thriller- international mystery and crime and Historical.

Major motive of Conscientious Reflections in  selecting this book for its first ever book endorsement is its fabulous product quality, which is difficult to find in most of the recent books by reputed Indian publications, let alone the ones self-published. Another important factor is its plot that is very relevant in today’s political, business and social scenario of India. We felt there is a strong need for such books to find its readers. You can read our review of The Winner’s Curse here . You can read more on the book here.

We are planning to give-away three copies of the e-book (originally costing INR 149 each) free of cost by Amazon gift coupons.

The Catch

To get considered for the giveaway, you have to send us ‘How will you use technology in war against corruption?’ in less than 120 words. You can email your answer  to harishpi81@gmail.com . The email should have the subject- The Winner’s Curse book give away.

The Deadline

You have a week’s time to send your entry by email from the day giveaway is announced. So your deadline is midnight of 27th of March 2014.
 
The Decision

Once all your entries reach us, we will be selecting three best ones out of them. We will be giving equal priority for innovative concept and presentation while selecting. Our decision will be final. The three best entries will be posted in Conscientious Reflections along with a short bio and a link to your website if you are a blogger.  

The Delivery

After selection, winners will be notified by email. Gift Coupons will be arranged from Amazon so that e-book can be downloaded from the site.

So what are you waiting for? Send in your entry, take part in The Winner’s Curse Give away and get this fabulous e-book for free…!

For any clarification, feel free to comment.