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Weekend Read- Jeffrey Archer Kane and Abel

Weekend Read- Jeffrey Archer Kane and Abel

“Fortune favours the brave”
— Jeffrey Archer (Kane and Abel)

After a string of average reads, I finally read something that made me say WOW!!!! Jeffrey Archer surely has woven magic in Kane and Abel (The story has nothing to do with the Biblical Cain and Abel). This book has it all- History, romance, suspense and drama. Kane and Able is a masterpiece, all with its well-developed story line that draw you right into each page.

The story of William Kane and Abel Rosnovski

They were both born on the same day in different parts of the world, totally unrelated. The two are distinctly apart, yet similar in many ways. Where William is the son of a Boston based Billionaire, Abel is a poor Polish immigrant out in the world seeking fortune. And when fate makes their paths cross, there is hatred, and an all-consuming rage to build their empire. Who succeeds? Do they learn to survive or is it the inevitable-of destroying each other?

 A must for enthusiastic readers

Kane and Abel is a beautifully carved saga that would mesmerize you at every stage. I first read this book when I was in high school, and just couldn’t resist reading it a second time. Some books indeed are captivating and the story would linger on longer than you think. What stands out is the brilliant characterization. Two strong minded individuals, from completely different backgrounds, yet are essentially similar, deep down in their hearts. They may be despicable, yet scratch within and you would surely find that spot of compassion and warmth. I have read other Jeffrey Archer books but nothing has come close to Kane and Abel, I must say. With a compelling story, it touches on a range of subjects, from the times of World War 1, till post World War 2 times. I struggled to put down the book.

The sore point

The book is voluminous and there are sub-plots crammed into each of the pages. Major portions of the story are purely descriptive without much of dialogues. I found a few of the chapters to be stretched. And with the narration oscillating between the two characters- “Kane and Abel”, I was a bit lost. Quite forgot what had been happening with the other character when I returned to him in subsequent chapters.

Nevertheless Kane and Abel is a masterpiece and a must read. The book is today considered an international success. Despite over 30 years of its release, it is still among the top on the New York Times best-seller list and among the top 100 list of best-selling books in the world. The sequel to Kane and Abel is The Prodigal Daughter, in which Florentyna Kane is the protagonist.

Kane and Abel is available in e-book format for Kindle Readers and paperback format on Amazon.in

Best Fiction I Have Read in 2016- The Girl On the Train By Paula Hawkins

Best Fiction I Have Read in 2016- The Girl On the Train By Paula Hawkins

So “The Girl on the Train” it is- the adult fiction book that topped The New York Times Fiction Best Seller list in 2016, in the Combined Print & E-Book Fiction category. It was for 10 weeks at the top of the list (as of October 30th), followed by Me Before You by Jojo Moyes with 7 weeks. With positive reviews right from the start, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins may seem yet another story, of love, lust and infidelity.

Yet, according to me, what clicked in the book is that element of suspense the narration held within it all along. Yes, indeed towards the end the book did get predictable, but otherwise, the book did have the right amount of clues thrown in at the right time. The Girl on the Train worked for me and here’s why it did.

The Plot
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day it’s the same route, moving past cozy suburban homes, and stopping at the signal that allows her to catch a glimpse of the same couple. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. 

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And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough for everything to change. Soon she is deeply entangled, in her own life as well as in the lives of many others. I wouldn’t want to divulge too much on the plot, but similar to other thrillers its best for readers to dive in on their own. The plot was cinematic indeed with vivid descriptions that played on my mind.

The Element of Suspense

None of the revelations in The Girl on the Train are straight forward. They keep you guessing, so as you read, the plot may seem to get murkier indeed.

The Ending
The only thing that left me disappointed was the ending, which played out like a movie scene. I felt it was a bit underdone, with elements of melodrama and action strewn in.

Despite this, a novel like “The Girl on the Train” is definitely a must read. It plays on your mind, pulls you into it and ensures you read it till that last page. That’s the power of Paula Hawkins and her well executed narration.

Chetan Bhagat- Review of One Indian Girl

Chetan Bhagat- Review of One Indian Girl

Chetan Bhagat is truly the most loved or, the most hated author in the country. Surely, on one side we have a large percentage of readers who simply cannot stop adoring his books, and on the other side there is a larger number who simply dislike his books. Despite all the brickbats he receives for his featured columns in major dailies, or for his stint as a judge on a reality show, Chetan Bhagat’s books do sell and they rake in the moolahs!!

To me he is neither good nor a bad writer. He is average and yes, definitely over-rated. Reading a Chetan Bhagat is akin to watching a Karan Johar or maybe a Salman Khan movie. Loaded with emotions and relationship tangles, the plot may lack depth, with seldom any logic. Yet we all watch them once in a way. Chetan Bhagat books are no great pieces of literature, yet they appeal to the masses, and that’s why his books are ranked as a best seller and I do enjoy reading them once in a way.

Getting to his latest book- One Indian Girl…

Radhika Mehta is educated, intelligent and ambitious. She is a topper of sorts and after her MBA degree from IIM; she lands herself a job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. She heads to New York, to start her professional life, much to her parents’ dislike, who are more than keen to see her married at 21. New York is an all new world for Radhika. She lives her life and accomplishes on the professional front, earning a bonus her father seldom saw in his entire banking career. Her mother though doesn’t appreciate it and the pressure to “settle” down into matrimony is mounted upon her. Fighting away the stereotypes, Radhika, does well professionally, has a string of relationships that makes her move base, from New York, to Hong Kong and then to London. It teaches her life’s important lessons and gives her an insight into what she wants and who she exactly is.

She eventually decides to settle down into an arranged marriage, when the unforeseen happens. Her ex-es land up at her marriage venue. Radhika’s mind is in the biggest of turmoil’s. With her wedding just 24 hours away, she has her present and past all in one place. Who would she choose and why? What exactly is in the mind of this one Indian girl? Read the book to understand this as Chetan touches that one raw nerve- feminism.

The books delves into the deep lying patriarchy in Indian society. The restrictions that are not spoken about yet exist all around us. Radhika deals with an insecure boyfriend who cannot handle her earning more than him and later a married boss who becomes her lover, but seldom acknowledges that she could want to start a family too. Neither of the men she encounters understand that she could want to have both worlds- a home as well as a career.

The narration and content is candid and simple, filled with relatable incidents and connections. Chetan brings in the entertainment element with the dramatic Punjabi family, loaded with aunts and cousins galore, plus a wedding scene to top up the drama factor. I loved Radhika’s characterization, and her evolving from a simple West Delhi girl to a chick smart corporate woman. The narration in female first person is impressive, with the entire story conveyed as Radhika’s thoughts and views.

I liked Chetan’s view and stand on feminism. In a world where everything is almost a hype, and the true meaning of feminism lost somewhere, he brings out the choices that women are forced to make.

Yet, the book fails on many fronts. Highly predictable, it isn’t very different from his earlier ones. There is a degree of monotony in the tone and yes, you could comfortably skip a couple of pages. It also lacked that “spark” and humor that would have made the book otherwise a better read.

Surely Chetan Bhagat may be no great writer, but his Bollywood inspired writing does make him a fairly decent story teller.  Worth a one-time relaxed read ‘cause when you do finish that last page and close the book, you are left behind with a smile — and thinking.

Would it be a future Bollywood block buster? Well only time can tell that!