Short Book Review: Post Mortem by Peter Terrin

Post Mortem by Peter TerrinSBR: When a writer decides to write a novel about a writer who, in turn, writes a novel about a writer, it shouldn’t be surprising that you get a book with rich, imaginative language, but self-indulgent content. There is a father struggling with a sad tragedy in his beloved daughter’s life. But if the reader was supposed to feel connected, that just doesn’t happen. There are a novelist and a biographer with their own journeys, but in the end, I felt like I didn’t care for any of it. It’s not about not liking the characters, it’s about feeling rather indifferent towards them and bored with their story.
Peter Terrin is a Belgian writer. Post Mortem was originally written in Dutch. The English translation is pretty good.
To read or not to read: No. Unless you like navel-gazing novels.

Short Book Review: Malice by Keigo Higashino

Malice by Keigo HigashinoSBR: I have read and reviewed two books by this author earlier. Malice is not in the same series, but it is also a good mystery book with the all the surprising twists and turns in the narrative and warped motives in the characters that you would want to read in the genre. The translation also works fine. And Japanese setting continues to be refreshing for me.
To read or not to read: Yes, if you like mysteries.

Short Book Review: Sirigannada Contemporary Kannada Writing by Vivek Shanbhag

irigannada Contemporary Kannada Writing by Vivek ShanbhagSBR: Sirigannda is a compilation of contemporary Kannada writings in different genres translated into English. Reviewing the compilation as a whole is difficult. On their own, you would like some pieces and not care for others. But the point of a compilation like this is to introduce you the literature in the language and it does a very good job of that.
To read or not to read: Yes, if you aren’t already deep into Kannada literature and are looking for a way in.

Norse Gods and Assamese Short Stories @ BYOB Party in April 2017 (Part 5)

Akshay got a book called Norse Mythology by the celebrated writer, Neil Gaiman. While in Indian mythology, a great deal of writing and interpretation has been made of mythical characters, not many are familiar with the Norse gods. Whatever we know of Norse mythology is circumscribed by Marvel’s depiction of Loki and Thor. Gaiman goes on an odyssey in the Norse world showing readers how the nine worlds were formed, how Odin got his knowledge and the story of valhalla.  “It’s the kind of book that leaves you wanting more,” Akshay said. It seems to be by far the ‘lightest’ book he has got to the BYOB Party.

Amrita spoke about a book translated from Assamese. A Game of Chess is a collection of short stories compiled by Dhirendra Nath. Amrita enjoyed the substance of the stories and felt that they would be appealing to anyone curious about Northeast India. However, she observed that unlike many translations she had read of writers from other languages, this attempt was closer to a transliteration than a translation.

“It’s strange how foreign writers always have better translators,” she said. A famous translator was mentioned to dispel her disappointment- Arunava Sinha is probably the best translator there is right now in the subcontinent, said another reader.

“But the themes stand out- lonely women, anxious fathers and changing times. As far as translations go, even a writer like Tagore’s work is never justified by a worthy translation. Pick up the book if you are looking for a nice easy read.”

More books coming up.