When you’ve had astounding success and raked in unfathomable moolah with your first venture, expectations of people eyeing your subsequent outing will naturally be sky-high. So doesJ. K. Rowling deliver?
The word ‘success’ probably wouldn’t suffice to describe the author’s earlier attempt with the Harry Potter series. With millions of books sold and top-grossing film adaptations made, she decided to move on to other genres of writing. But typecast she got; which is why she decided to use the alias Robert Galbraith to write The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Now I haven’t (and never felt the need to) read any of her previous works; including, yes, Harry Potter. So naturally I didn’t have any expectations whatsoever of the writer and her style of writing.
The Cuckoo’s Calling is a Crime/Thriller Detective novel that’s a far cry from the children’s book genre the author’s worked on before. The plot of the novel is good; but you only realize it once after you get done with the book. That’s because while you’re reading it, you’re stuck in and confused with the myriad of long, fragmented and superfluous sentences that make you wonder what the point of the sentence was in the first place. Yup! A sentence just like this one.
So this is a sleuth story about a supermodel’s sudden death (hailed as suicide) with signs of it being a cold-blooded murder underneath. The model’s brother hires a crippled war hero turned detective, Cormoran Strike, to solve the case.
Well once you get past the sloppy first half which bores you more often than you’d like, the second half turns out to be much faster and moves at a consistent pace with revelations at frequent intervals. Rowling’s descriptions of situations and mannerisms of characters is pretty good and lets you elaborately imagine their appearance, personality and even body language with ease.
If only her writing style was as engaging as I’d have thought, this book would’ve been a pretty great detective thriller.
This is the first work I’ve read of Haruki Murakami and I’m certainly impressed if not totally blown away.
Even though the novel talks about outlandish things like fish falling from the sky, talking cats, un-aged soldiers, alternate worlds and taboo topics like mother-son and sister-brother love; it definitely is a gripping read.
Murakami intertwines the lives and stories of the two lead characters wonderfully and never lets you lose interest in the story. But the best part about this 600 page saga is the beauty with which he explains each and every situation and feeling by drawing elegant and totally appropriate analogies with things that you would’ve rendered misfit under normal circumstances. While turning page after page, you’d be able to relate with the characters (no matter how weird), conjure up images of places you’ve never ever been to and even feel the heaviness of silence weighing on the character.
Read it if you haven’t already! I wouldn’t recommend it for a novice reader though.
Here are a few quotes I found noteworthy:
“Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”
“You can’t look too far ahead. Do that and you’ll lose sight of what you’re doing and stumble.”
“But nature is actually unnatural, in a way. And relaxation can be threatening. It takes experience and preparation to really live with those contradictions.”
“generally, when someone is trying very hard to get something, they don’t. And when they’re running away from something as hard as they can, it usually catches up with them.”
“Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.” – Tolstoy
“I happen to like the strange ones. People who look normal and leads normal lives – they’re the ones you have to watch out for.”
“Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”
“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.”
“Far away the crow caws. The earth slowly keeps on turning. But beyond any of those details of the real, there are dreams. And everyone’s living in them.”
“Things that are open have to be shut.”
“Pointless thinking is worse than no thinking at all.”
“Until things happen, they haven’t happened. And often things aren’t what they seem.”
“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
“Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”
When I saw the trailer of this movie, I thought there was something rustic and peculiarly attractive about it. And sinceParineeti Chopra was one of the leads, I hoped it’d be a fun watch.
But as most high hopes do, this too shattered.
Haruki Murakami in his book Kafka by the shore says “Nobody wants to read a book without a conclusion.” And this one line sums up the whole experience of watching this movie. There just isn’t any meaning, reason or conclusion to it. The inclusion of the song “Ati random” is probably totally justified.
We’re greeted by Raghuram (Sushant Singh Rajput) who’s a tourist guide but moonlights as a fake baarati. He mooches off of gullible tourists in the colorful markets of Jaipur and in his spare time, under the patronage of Goyal saab (Rishi Kapoor), he gatecrashes weddings. Life’s all hunky dory till he sets off to his own wedding. Once there, his jittery nerves get the better of him and then begins a roller coaster ride as we encounter his on again off again romances, his utter immaturity and his fear of commitment.
As the movie inches forward, whatever hopes you had of it, slowly start to fizzle. And as soon as the second half begins, even the fizzled out hopes turn in their graves. An illogical, impractical and a confused storyline makes you want to ask the director why exactly did he want to make the movie in the first place.
The only thing that salvages this “don’t-know-what-I’m-doing” saga is Parineeti as Gayatri. Even though she reprises her role of a bindaas babe from her earlier movies, she still has that effervescent charm about her. Sushant as Raghu in SDR hasn’t been able to cast the same spell as Ishaan in Kai Po Che did and his performance can best be described as passable. What sticks out as a sore spot though is Vaani Kapoor as Tara. Her role is unnecessary and her acting is disappointing and borderlines on irritating. She tries really hard to mimic the style of Parineeti Chopra &Anushka Sharma but the “i-don’t-give-a-damn” attitude just doesn’t suit her sophisticated model look.
Well, another movie added to the ‘disappointment’ list of 2013. Watch it only if your girlfriend insists or you have time on your hands that you need to kill.
Since the beginning of time, we’ve been taught to always hope for the best, to always view the glass as half full, to always be optimistic. But is optimism all that it’s hyped to be? Well, probably not!
No matter how much we’d like to believe otherwise, we’re all dark and pessimistic within. Maybe that’s how God intended for us to be. And maybe that is why we are naturally inclined to always notice and absorb the negatives before our mind even rationalizes and registers the positives.
We try to please our moral selves by putting on the brave mask of eternal sunshine. But truth be told, nothing satisfies and soothes us more than wallowing in self-pity. Oh the pleasure of feeling sorry for ourselves, wondering why we’re the favorite recipients of bad luck and deducing that God’s always unfair to us, is utterly fulfilling. We take pride in spending hours thinking about how perfect our past was, what a shamble our present is and how dismal our future would be.
We’ve been running around trying to catch that elusive thing called happiness; a sham created by self-help books and motivational speakers; all the while forgetting that as human beings, maybe our real happiness lies in being unhappy.