Priya is a voracious reader. She does not remember Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand with much fondness as it took a long while for her to finish with it. She now tries to read at least a book a month. She chose to speak about Romeo and Juliet. “We all know about the book but how many of us have actually read it? When I read the well-known play, I thought it was too romantic, too over the top. Actually I thought had he published this book in 2020, it would have not worked out at all.” Why was this? It wasn’t about getting past the censors but the dialogues are just too sweet and dramatic to be convincing. He’s crossed the threshold of cheesiness- take the balcony scene. Jane Austen works better for me.”
Readers concluded that it was hard to bridge the gap between centuries but Shakespeare is immortal. For a version of Shakespeare that is perhaps closer to the present day, watch this short film Star Cross’d: Romeo and Juliet retold.
Priya also talked about a book that is extremely close to her heart- The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre. She found the book from the gratitude wall at Lahe Lahe. The story is set in an Indian slum in Calcutta and tells the tale of a Polish Catholic priest who wants to make a difference. “The biggest takeaway for me from this book was how little people understood about poverty. The story has no distinctive plot and drama as such. Instead, the author tells the stories of the lives of the people of the slum. If there is a villain in the story, it is poverty.” Priya is apprehensive about watching the movie as she enjoyed the book very much.
Watch Dominique Lapierre in conversation with Rajiv Mehrotra here.
More books in Part 2.