Posted in Books

Book Review: Waves, by Ahila Thillainathan

About the author:
Ahila Thillainathan is a Sri Lankan author. She has written and self-published two books, a non-fiction titled The First Step, and a book of ten short stories titled Waves.

Cover and blurb:
Simple black cover with wording, and the blurb promised an exploration of life, which would delve into relationships as well.

My thoughts:
A book of short stories is a very welcome change to reading at times, but when it is a e-Book, I’m a little reluctant most of the time, since I’m not that fond of reading books on my PC. The book of stories felt interesting, and having got a recommendation for the same from a good friend, I took up the book.

My favorite story in the collection would have to be the first one, “Not A Waste of Breath”. The story, woven intricately, goes through a lot of emotions. Sadness at not being understood, not being loved or encouraged when a girl needed it the most, and then a little inspiration that the girl inspires her mother. The overall mood of the story is sadness, but it had a glimpse of life in it. I could relate with the feeling of not being understood.

Another story that had a good ending was Vani, which is the story of a girl by the same name. She’s bright, well loved by her parents and younger brother. The story brings the mentality of a family out well. Her parents care enough to celebrate her twenty fifth birthday, but her relative who comes looks to bring a relationship into her life, citing her age and not really knowing who the prospective groom is. The story ends a little abruptly I feel, but Ahila explores the love quite well by then.

The third of my favorites is “One Foolish Mistake”, which has a sense of fate associated with it. It hinges around three characters and their thoughts. One holds on to the past, another decides to abandon it and the third decides to abandon a future. It’s the third that felt like fate, and a fate that could have been avoided. But then again, that’s life.

The other seven stories in the book are all nicely written too, in simple flowing language. Some like “The Cuckoo”, “The Birthday Wish” and “The Mango Tree” appealed to me almost as much as these three, and the first one had a sad but expectable ending. The remaining four was here and there. I liked them, but not very.

Overall, each of the stories provokes thought, and I like that. I found a couple of typos, but nothing to ruin the flow of the stories. One thing I didn’t like was the words in the local language. (I guess it was a dialect of Tamil, or Sinhalese maybe?) I couldn’t understand it much, so it felt out of place.

I liked the read a lot, and I hope I get to read more of her stories soon.


Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: Waves
Author: Ahila Thillainathan
Genre: Short Stories
Publishers: Self Published
ASIN: B008MX21MC
Price: INR. 165

 


This was an author requested review, in exchange for a review copy of the same, but not other payment.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with First Reads at b00k r3vi3ws.


(Aug 8th, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: Amreekandesi, by Atulya Mahajan

About the author:
Atulya Mahajan is the author of amreekandesi.com, a popular Indian satire blog. Born and raised in Delhi, he moved to the US in 2004 for his Masters and stayed on for five years before returning to India, in a Swades-inspired moment. During his time in the US, he started his blog to chronicle the lives of Indians living abroad, and this book is the culmination of that vision. When not busy writing hilarious pieces, Atulya works at an investment bank as a technologist.

Cover and blurb:
Both indicative of the humor genre, and I was interested in the read the moment I read the blurb. Two characters, with contrasting ideas of life abroad ending up as roommates. The premise itself promised humor, and in the end that was what I got as well.

My thoughts:
Among my peer group, there are two types of people that I have noticed. The first group want to do well, and study abroad, get settled there because the pace of development is higher and the quality of living is better. The second group are interested in visiting abroad, but they don’t want to settle there, because they have a sense of belonging over here. If one person from each of those were to end up as roommates in a foreign country, the situation was what I read in this novel, Amreekandesi.

First we have Akhil Arora, pampered child and the apple of his mother’s eye, the guy with big dreams but not one that his parents necessarily understand. While they are satisfied with the high pay job he has secured, Akhil wants to do his Masters from the USA and make use of the opportunity given to him by Florida State University (FSU). Though he at first wants to just go away from India, he later realizes that his family is here, and even begins to be thankful for the week his dad spends with him to get him settled there. His to-be-roommate, Jaspreet (or Jassi, or Jazz as he wants to be known in the US) just harbors ambitions of reaching the States. Having had his high expectations doused a year previously, he works for a year and then applies to more approachable universities and gets a call from FSU too. He’s also a pampered Punjabi boy, but unlike Akhil’s parents, Jassi becomes a hero to his proud parents and community. He just wants to go away from India, and live the better life, with American food and girls. He changes himself, accent and all, for that purpose. The book follows their life in the US. There’s even a little romance angle thrown in to the works.

I like breezy reads. They can be completed quickly, and more often than not, have a simple and interesting story. With Amreekandesi, the case was the same. I finished the novel in a few hours, and the story flowed quickly and kept the interest for that duration, and I even went back to some parts. There is humor, though not so much that you LOL throughout the book, but enough at the right places. The things like reaction of their parents to the news, the expectations, their initial surprise to American lifestyle and such are nicely done. From the time Nandita and Akhil meet, you want them to fall in love, and they do. However, I would have liked to see a little more fight from the parents’ side. It felt easy, and it might have been, but the character portrayal of Akhil’s mother especially made us expect otherwise. Narration and editing wise, I don’t have much complaints. I enjoyed the book, the mindset and approach to Indians looking to go abroad, and some of the characters, like Goyal and Akhil’s mom. Pick it up for a travel. You’ll like it.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: Amreekandesi
Author: Atulya Mahajan
ISBN: 978-8-184-00395-6
Genre: Fiction / Humor
Publishers: Random House India
Price: INR. 199

 


This book was given to me as part of the Readers Cosmos review program. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Aug 8th, 2013)