Over 400 pages, in David Szalay’s latest book, All That Man is, you get to vivisect the man part of our species by dwelling into nine different stories that are equivalent to nine different specimens of the male gender. Each man is younger than the next one and are away from home in a country in Europe. In one interview to a magazine, David told that he wanted to entitle the book Europa.
Spoilt for Choice by Dr. Poornansh Shirvastava is a different type of story. It’s a reincarnation of a teenage boy to a man through struggles and achieving one’s own dreams. This work of fiction is semi-autobiographical consists a story of a boy among 200 Riders who participate in motorcycle racing every season to conduct for the final round that leads to one champion.
There is no doubt why Ian Rankin is one of the best crime fiction writer in all over Britain. And Certainly John Rebus is the “Sherlock Holmes” of modern crime fiction. Or I should say in clear words, certainly the best detective of modern crime fiction. The enigma which surrounds John Rebus is the essence a reader reading Rebus must feel. And Ian Rankin maintains that enigma, that aroma of mysteriousness consistently. He is doing for past 19 books. Not one Rebus I read, and felt discomfort. This is an art and Rankin is the master of this art of consistency in storytelling.
I was once disappointed and sad when I read Exit Music which was once the last book of the John Rebus. I almost cried as I would not be able to read such excellent stories. But when Standing in Another’s man Grave came out, I was more jollier than the word jolly can be defined. Recently read, Saints of the Shadow Bible which is the 19th book in the John Rebus series. This book brings back John Rebus in the force, not as DI(Detective Inspector) but as a demoted DS(Detective Sergeant). The story combines several investigations and Rankin also takes the reader back into dark and hollow past of detective John Rebus. He tries to unfold the mysteries originated 30 years back and let us look more into the closet of John Rebus soul. Rebus tries to solve ongoing investigations but his past also haunts him and there some dust of mysteries left in that 30 year old closet which needs to be clean. Thus, with help of DI Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox of the Complaints, the trio investigates in co-operation.
Characterization Rankin has done is hyper realistic. I have said earlier, he is the master of storytelling. In some other book, another writer might have overdone it but Rankin is just a finesse finisher. It’s a pity he’s going on a holiday and won’t be writing for some time.
This one is one of those which are hard to keep down in between. I’ll give it 4 out of 5 for being an avid reader of Rankin’s books, I could manage to solve few of the mysteries on my own. Otherwise, it’s a very well written book.
On an early August morning, wandering alone on the crispy and crumby dead leaves I felt sharp rays of sun appearing betwixt the naked branches of trees. The trees appeared as some broken mannequins, their faces totally blank in aspect to show an expression that if ever a brainy mind ever groom in them or do they have brainless mind already? I felt even if I stand all day long and just stare them, they will still be blank just like the current state of humanity. People don’t react on the consequences and events they should but they do overreact on when they should show least of the interest.
Squirrels were hovering hither and thither trees to hide themselves beneath the shadow of leaves. And they failed to find any. Just like those sinners who try to hide behind someone as if to blame him of their own sins and feeling of guilt. Do sinners even have the feeling of guilt, I wonder? It’s an odd habit among us humans and an old one too, which the with ages being passed, we, humans have to failed to change in ourselves despite how drastically we have changed materialistically.
This lonely path was unclear and far away had a blurry glimpse of what might come but still I wandered barefooted just like the humanity is living through centuries. With the every step I took, a monotonous effect of sound came from crumbling of the dead leaves. I usually encountered some small pointed pebbles which would pinch right through the skin like through the soul, only to make it hard and to suffer from severe pain for an instance. I wondered, humanity is like this only. No matter how many centuries we had endured we still are unable to omit small-small negative notions in our society and day to day living which eventually effect us in bigger sense. They are nothing but pain in vain.
THE YELLOW HOUSE: an appreciation for an art by Aman Mittal
STANDING beside the only lamppost on the corner of the street, I took a glance over with big Yellow House. It was as yellow as it could be but the surface looked as smooth as butter. Made in Victorian fashion, it was obvious the roof top would be either crimson red or dull red in colour but this one was crimson red. The windows were quite French, painted in green as was the interior. How could one see the interior, well the windows were always open at this time of the day. But I could never see any movement up there. Not a single soul. Neighboring that house, designed and structured in the similar fashion was another yellow house. The two only differ in their interior colours. This other one was lavenderish pink from inside. And there was a shop of some kind which I am not able to recall of what it was. If one look far, straight, where he would be dwelling currently, he would see a bridge on which a steam would pass exactly at noon. It was 11:58 a.m. by my watch so I had to wait for two more minutes to see elegant body. Though two minutes were still to be traveled, I could hear the distorting and disturbing sound of the engine and the general noise of the blowing horn. The steam would pass by as a black beauty would. There was some elegance in its blackness too, blowing out the contrasting white smoke. The smoke which came out gaps and one could see the blue sky in between the chunks and that blue sky would make those chunks of smoke appear as some white-gray clouds. There was some smoke in front of the yellow house too. An old man in his gray communist hat was puffing off his cigarette. His cigarette would never went off as his age would be someday. But if one concentrates on his face, it resembled a handsome man in past but now left with poverty, drip and dry skin, face swallowed by pain and his cigarette. As the soigne steam would continue to pass one can see to women coming in one’s direction and is able to judge they had been married quite along time. Carrying a basket each, one or the other, and talking gibberish. Maybe they are insulting each other’s husbands, but they would be bored by now. Or maybe they are just gossiping about one thing or the other. The sky is so blue that it makes want to follow it till I find a dark cloud but if the sky is this endlessly blue, I think I’ll never find a cloud.
The blue sky, the soigne steam, the French windows , the yellow house, whole image is so picturesque. It is captured in my mind so boldly that it would appear every morning I wake up and would tempt me to go out and have a look of this yellow house. But I wish I could, if it was real.
The gloom of the darkness and the heaviness of the rainfall had added another load of misery as he already had one.’People are always happy,’ he thought, carrying the overweight of misery on his shoulders, ‘And they become happier, day by day. And me. My load of miser is only getting more and no less. Even the single droplet of rain is incrementing the load by a ton. And this darkness makes the road hard and uncomfortable to travel. What am I to do? What wrong have I done? Whose fault is this?’
And with a long sigh he took a half crumbled cigarette out of his wet pocket which was half moist due to rain. He observed he had two matchsticks left in the matchbox. No shed and shrewd rain, how in the name of god is he going to light that cigarette? But what you seek is what you get, only you have to make your own way to it. And he stood in front of a glass of a shop where some mannequins were on display inside, wearing wicked hats and fancy dresses. He holds his hands in an oval covering the strike which he was going to make and managed to light the cigarette with both of the matchsticks in one strike. As he took his first puff, he sees a reflection in the glass and then he looked carefully. It was more than the reflection, it was his image with a blurred background of cause of mannequins as the matchsticks were still managing to emit enough light to see. He looked carefully and he saw a man looking old, very old with unshaved facial hair, and the swollen and dry skin as it had been months since a drop of glycerin has been rubbed off his skin. He realized he wore a more wicked hat than those lifeless creatures which were never going to make to life. He said to himself, ‘Shall I go back?’
No was the answer in his ears, mechanically ringing like church bells.
He already knew the answer: abandoned.
‘Abandoned from what?’
Abandoned from love, shelter, and food. The three things a man needs to survive and live happily. But he had none and so unhappy was he.
He throwaway the illusion and those matchsticks on the road which caused a sound ‘psss’ as hot, on fire, as matchsticks made contact with water. He knew the sound was not only the matchsticks but also the illusion which made him see the three different keys of happiness.
‘It must be my fault as I have always avoided consequences and situations in ignorance, and for my own little pleasures which I have been too fond of. I always wanted to paint, but I never paint one. I had canvas, I had colours, I had the idea. But now it’s all gone and I am lost on this road which seems less traveled. Misery is my slut or I am hers’. Which is true, it might be both. And add to the misery, I can’t even make myself lifeless by a monotonous colour as my life is already faded in a single colour. But it’s time to change. Its time to leave this harlot here and go with the wind. Through these black clouds soon there will be a beam of sunlight on my face which will bring back all the glycerin on my skin and make it soft as it was soft in my offspring, and take away all the dryness. With morning light I’ll follow till my destination arrives and my departure from this world of Hades’ be confirmed. My life would be my canvas as I’ll paint it and fill each and every colour that is in existence of nature. Thus, now I shall dream of paint and then I’ll paint my dream.’