Book Shelf

Archive for

Kane and Abel

Kane and Abel

Image via Wikipedia

I had read some of Jeffrey Archer’s book long back and I do not remember which books were they. So I would consider this is the first book of Archer I’ve read. As far as the story telling is concerned he is too good, compulsive, fast paced even if the story is not a thriller.

The story on the life of Kane and Abel who born on the same day in 1900s. Those who born in that period in Europe would have experienced a lot of historical events. Here through both Kane and Abel, Jeffrey involves all the important historical events – Titanic Accident, World Wars, great depression, establishment of Ford, evolution of airlines, etc.

I particularly liked this very much. Connecting the real incidents with the fictional story is always difficult when you need to consider all the years and etc. The details of World war two and the fact of not all who considered war heroes actually participated in the war although they wanted to, etc are something many people wouldn’t have thought. But here also, the part involves Kane and Abel was easily predictable when Abel was assigned the rescue duty.

In the whole story, I could feel, Jeffrey was careful not to let us think one of them as hero another as villain. He maintained the positives and negatives of both in the same degree so that ‘who is right’ is always debatable.

During the first half, till Abel reaches USA, I found Abel’s story was interesting and more eventful. With Kane grow up like a typical millionaire’s son, Abel had to go through all the possible troubles a Polish guy could at the time of war. But after that, once Kane start working in the bank, his life became more eventful for  some time and Abel’s taken a back seat. I felt he could have avoided it coz, during childhood, I felt Kane’s part was boring as I wanted to move tot he Abel’s story quickly.

The main problem with reading a very famous novel after long time is the ‘clichés’. This book is not so different from it. Particularly when the Florentyna and Richard comes into the story, I felt more of it as clichés and predictable.

But towards the end, the book again picks up well and finished more aptly. Now I could be one of the many persons to suggest Kane and Abel to anyone who wants to read Jeffrey.

My rating for this wonderful tale is ★★★★☆



Dystopia is the right word to describe this novel. First let me tell you that I totally disagree with the concept. A socialist society cannot be a dystopian. It would be utopian where all the people are equal and no economical differences. Of course, there will be differences in power; no political system can give power to all.

I think George Orwell was a huge supporter of capitalism. We need to look into the period when this novel was written. It was in late 1940s when it was thought that Britain would see a revolution that makes the country a socialist state. And he wanted to make sure he writes something which he thought would be the result of the revolution in future which is as per him a dystopian society. This is what I did not agree.

Having said that, keeping all the ideological issues aside, if I review the book, I would say this is one of disturbing works of fiction. You would never want to live in a society that penned down by Orwell. The Society where suppressing is normal and accepted whole heartedly.

Throughout the book you will not find the lighter side anywhere even by mistake. He make sure that the gloomy feeling never gone down anywhere even in the love episodes of Winston and Julia.

One thing I liked about his writing style is, he hasn’t explained about the society and how it is created etc. Instead he keeps us in dark till Winston knows it. Till then you could wonder how this society came into existence, who is Big Brother etc. Some of them were answered towards the end, some of them not as they say to Winston; you would know only what we want you to know.

My rating for this book is ★★★☆☆

I would have given four stars for this. But the first two paragraphs explain why it is only 3. One word of caution before you choose this book to read, it is too depressing and some places a bit violent. Keep it in mind and decide whether to read it or not.

The Guide

Yes, the same book on which Dev Anand‘s movie ‘The Guide‘ made. I am happy that I haven’t seen the movie for not missing such a wonderful writing by RK Narayan.This yet another book introduced to me as part of Goodreads Group read and yet another wonderful book.

Those who have seen the movie would definitely know the story, for others, the story is about the life of a guide in Malgudi, Railway Raju rather we can say confessions of Raju.

Though I haven’t seen the movie, I did see some scenes from it. So when the book started the image of Dev Anand was in mind when I try to picture Raju. But eventually Dev Anand faded and a typical dhoti clad Tamil guy replaced him. I guess that is the power of Narayan’s writing. He made us picture what he wants to even if we have some predetermined images about it.

Narayan keeps all the leading characters with the shades of grey, except for the innocent village folks and Gaffur. Raju, Rosie, Marco all have some characteristic to regret with. Narayan did not end the story in traditional way like either in happy or in despair instead he ends in a way to let the reader decide whether it is happy ending or not.

This is the first book I have read of Narayan, I liked his style of writing. The particularly the swami episodes with the light humor throughout and some philosophical thoughts through Raju.

Sometimes the characterization of Rosie is confusing. If I discuss it it would be a spoiler for those who are yet to read the book or watch the movie. So I just make a point that the character was somewhat debatable. Also I felt the fasting and resulting fame of the Swami was a bit too exaggerating. At the time where only newspapers available and many people wouldn’t even know how to read, the gathering of the crowd as described by Narayan was a little too much.

Overall this is a wonderful book which travels through Indian life very smoothly. The characters should have been a bit bold at the time of writing. If you want a book without much complications, easy to read and yet with a wonderful story, this is the one you would definitely want to read.

My rating for this Indian classic is ★★★★☆

Goodreads Page

Anbu's  book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists