Book review

2019-09-04 06:02
photo: supplied Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss.

photo: supplied Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss.

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Title: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss

Author: Rajeev Balasubramanyam

THIS isn’t the type of book I usually pick up. A divorced English economist brooding over the meaning of life after being snubbed for a Nobel (relax, it’s not a spoiler if it happens on the second page) sounds a bit like Eat Pray Love for Indian men.

Still, there was something about the book’s premise that had me intrigued enough to want to know where Professor Chandra’s search took him and the conclusions he arrived at.

It’s a testament to Balasubramanyam’s detailed, down-to-earth prose that I only realised I was reading fiction several chapters in.

In the midst of my (sometimes messy) literary devouring, I kept asking myself, “What is the clear appeal of such stories when you know that the occasional insights they offer will never sufficiently delineate this complicated journey we call life?

“What is it that’s so satisfyingly found in the made up?”

I can only guess that the answer lies in the feeling you get when you turn the last page, the satisfaction in knowing that you’ve just experienced maybe the next best thing to living someone else’s life (real or not), something no one can put a price on.

George R. R. Martin was right when he said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Away from the insecurities of academics, if you’re craving a little more of the fantastic, try The Sudden Appearance of Hope, a science-fiction offering by otherwise fantasy writer Claire North (also known as Kate Griffin, real name Catherine Webb. Sheesh).

When a woman who has the gift (curse?) of being forgotten as soon as she leaves the company of people loses someone she felt a connection to, she embarks on a journey of revenge and corporate espionage to bring the perpetrators down.

What I love about North’s books is her deep exploration into the implications of having strange attributes and abilities.

Her writing style too is so unabashedly unhinged that it becomes quickly apparent why she so often tops best-seller and awards lists.

Reviewer: Omar Sayed

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