A quick update on my reading…

Its been a long time since my last post . So , I thought I would just drop by with some updates on my reading . I have shared the TBR books on my bookshelf and Kindle shelf . Do look up these titles – you might get your next read or a list of books to be added to your TBR list . Here we go  –

Books on my Kindle shelf

All the books in my Kindle shelf are psychological thrillers except for The Haunting of the Hill House . Yeah, it is an addiction that I can’t  break 😉

The Good Daughter -Karin Slaughter

The Visitor – K L Slater

The Proposal – S E Lynn

The Craftsman – Sharon Bolton

The Haunting of the Hill House — Shirley Jackson

I should say I have not taken to Kindle very well. I made every single purchase here because I couldn’t resist the temptation of a superbly written blurb for yet another psychological thriller (is there anything  that is not a “psychological” thriller nowadays ?? I just don’t get our crime writers’ fascination for the word psychological . Even books with no psychology element come with the description ” a psychological thriller” – beats me!! ) The Kindle copies came at a much better price than the hardcover/paperback and that sealed the deal . But getting the reading done is a different story –   I am currently 10% into the Karin Slaughter thriller, The Good Daughter. Trust me, I have never plodded through a thriller (or any book for that matter) in my life but reading in Kindle is not the same as reading a physical copy and it’s definitely not my style of reading . I am not able to identify the thing that puts me off Kindle but so it is….There is no inclination I-need-to-finish-this-one hookups with Kindle books.  The immersive reading experience that make book-reading an experience by itself is not there for one .  I might pick them up when I have no other books to go to…The Kindle haul has become a costly mistake ( Never again ….) . Currently , my bookshelf too has a good number of books from my pretty long TBR list. I guess that would do for the present. So here are the books from my bookshelf –

Thinking Fast Thinking Slow -Daniel Kahneman

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

Shades of Saffron – Saba Naqvi

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Currently reading) – Rebecca Skloot

Jasmine Days – Benyamin

Until the next post then..

Seriously under-rated Christie must-reads

September 15th being Agatha Christie’s 128th birth anniversary , I  revisited the Christies’ in my bookshelf over the previous week . It might sound a bit odd to revisit mystery fiction when you would already know the culprit but trust me , rereading Christie did not prove to be dull . She managed to throw the spotlight on some of the storytelling elements which had gone unobserved during the fast & furious one sitting read .

Sans the pitfall of too-descriptive / metaphorical  language or other innovative narrative elements/styles of today’s thrillers or the “psychological” elements of the psychological thrillers Christie’s straight narrative still had us hooked to the book even more than books with the above mentioned fuss n feathers . When we hear the name of Christie , some of the most popular titles like And Then There Were None , The Murder of Roger Ackroyd need no introduction for readers .  So , here today, I have a list of some of the most underrated Christie titles which most of us tend to miss out with all the noise the popular titles are making.

sad cypress

#1 Sad Cypress

Elinor Carlisle and Roddy Welman , an engaged couple ,  arrive at Hunterbury Lodge , Mrs. Welman’s estate on receiving an anonymous letter accusing someone of taking advantage of their aunt . Both are looking forward to a substantial inheritance on Mrs. Welman’s demise who is now an invalid following a stroke . Unfortunately , Rodney falls in love with Mary Gerard , the lodge-keeper’s daughter  whom Elinor suspects to be the person whom the anonymous writer meant . Elinor breaks her engagement to Rodney .

When the story begins Elinor is being tried for the murder of Mary Gerard – did rivalry in love prove to be a compelling motive for Elinor as everybody believe ? As Poirot tries to save Elinor from the gallows he uncovers several startling truths ….. Is Elinor truly innocent or a cold blooded murderess?

The solution to the puzzle simply left me speechless . I would strongly urge you to pick up this one .

#2 Sleeping Murder

sleeping murder

Miss Marple’s last case involves solving a ‘sleeping murder’ – a murder that has evaded detection for 18 years . Gwenda and Giles Reed  move into Hillside which turns out to be Gwenda’s childhood home . An evening at the theater triggers a childhood memory of being a witness to a murder – but where? .Who was the victim ? Who was the murderer ? Gwenda draws a blank for these questions except for a single name that she gives for the victim . As  they start piecing together the past they seem to get too close to discovering the murderer’s identity . For somebody who has committed the ‘perfect’ murder , the past should not be dug up and he/she will resort to anything to keep it so – including killing again .

Like  several amateur detectives , the Reeds are gung-ho about snooping around and do not realize the dangers they put themselves into . So, enter Miss Marple , ‘ the perfect Victorian piece ‘  to ‘ look after them ‘ ( to quote her ) . As a crime – Miss Marple realizes the dangers of delving too deep into the past – a murder , more so . But , an unsolved and ( unsuspected ) murder from the past proves to be too intriguing even for Miss Marple ( and not to mention , definitely dangerous )….

#3 Why Didn’t they ask Evans ?

evans

The last words of a dying man ” WHY DIDN’T THEY ASK EVANS ” spur Bobby Jones and his friend Frankie into  snooping around  trying to find the identity of the dead man and also , what did he mean by those words ….

Again we have two amateur detectives  here but what made the duo lovable was the fact they did had a good amount of luck in stumbling upon clues and they were like two kids playing the guess-who game – bringing in some good humor , at times  bungling up just like an amateur would ,  putting together pieces when there is a sudden brainwave –  I especially loved Frankie . Let me put it down here that amateur detectives don’t mean no logical explanation to their deductions .  What I love specially about them is that you get a good dose of drama and a change from our very business like Poirot or astute Miss Marple – but still Christie makes sure there is one of the pair who is bright enough to provide the readers with the logical explanations to their findings . The fun-loving sleuths meet their match in a villain who is all at once – suave , diabolical  and blessed with ( equally ) good humor who comes up clean in a most characteristic way … After reading the villain’s confession , I was equally amused with the villain too -we don’t comes across such interesting and if I may say , charming villains often….

#4 Death Comes As The End

the end

Set in 2000 BC Thebes, the story follows a spate of murders in the house of Imhotep, the Ka mortuary priest. It all began with the death of Nofret, his young concubine from Memphis. Her arrival at Imhotep’s house had not been without some animosity . She antagonized Imhotep’s sons and their wives – only the threat of disinheritance seemed to keep Yahmose and Sobek’s wives from bullying her any further. Her death seemed to bring everything back to as it was before Nofret’s arrival –  BUT IT WAS NOT SO .

Soon , as Renisenb , Imhotep’s daughter witnesses , the family members become victims to the unknown murderer one by one – Or is it the vengeful spirit of Nofret exacting her revenge on the family?

Christie puts together a really convincing ,  racy thriller in a timeline that we don’t have much idea about .  I think this book alone can establish  Christie’s unsurpassed mastery in crime fiction writing – I can’t recommend this enough .

Let me know in the comments section which books you loved from the above list if you have already read them or which books are you planning to pick up ? I would love to hear from you guys about your thoughts on the Christies you have read too . I am planning to have the entire month for Agatha Christie themed posts.. Stay tuned !!

 

it’s always the husband – A Review

download (1)Kate,Aubrey and Jenny are inseparable at college- friends who promised they’d be there for each other.But twenty years later , their friendship is about to take a deadly turn.

Kate married the gorgeous party boy,Aubrey married up and Jenny married the boy next door,but when one of the friends dies in shocking circumstances,will everyone assume it’s always the husband?OR COULD IT BE THE BEST FRIEND?

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Michele Campbell’s debut its always the husband is quite a refreshing take on the famous suspense trope of the husband being the murderer in case of a married woman . I promise there would be no spoilers and let me dive right in —

Plot summary :

Kate – the fast one.

Jenny –the ambitious one.

Aubrey – she wants the best of both Jenny’s and Kate’s worlds despite struggling to strike the right balance. But she is determined to make the best of the exposure to the elite society and opportunities that an Ivy Leaguer is accorded. Two decades down the line, the three are married and settled down. And then one of them dies… Not surprisingly, there seem to be too many plausible motives – betrayal, passion, revenge…. The newest addition to this cocktail is even more dangerous which threatens the friends too… Which of the following motives proved to be the strongest that it resulted in murder – Or is it murder in the first place?

My reading experience :

The college years of the girlfriends has been dealt in great detail and is an engaging read.It contributes greatly to the development of the central characters-Aubrey , Kate and Jenny .While much thought has been given for the character development of the three, the other characters aren’t so well developed.When the moving finger picks out the next suspect , it seems a bit not easy to believe even if the motives attributed to them are perfectly sound.The host of secondary characters come and go only in relation with the central characters and are not very familiar to the readers .  If you are actually going to accuse somebody , first give them enough space in the story .

Given Michelle’s in-depth account of the college life in the Ivy League campus   ( given that she herself is a graduate from one ) , it would have been better if the second part of the story which is where the guessing game starts , too had enough details .  Although it was a really great narrative , it missed out the compelling factor simply because few of the angles which had been touched upon (like the murder or suicide question )  didn’t have enough weight to actually keep the readers guessing .  The victim simply hasn’t been characterized  seriously as being traumatized or showing signs of extreme stress ( or much stress whatsoever)  to actually take her own life .  The psyche of the characters could have been better explored .

Despite these shortfalls , Michele scores strongly with the ” show – only – one -side ” of the narrative which finally  starts to build the tension . The last 60 pages or so turned the regular whodunit into  one heck of the  story that leaves the reader shocked with the terrific twist at the end . Yes , the last few pages actually made all the impact that has people touting it as the next Gone Girl .

So , how would I rate the book? For me , the story has to strike the right chord with suspense element and  getting the readers actually agree with your  surmise of the moment which was clearly missing with it’s always the husband .  Perhaps , a few more pages  giving a good picture of the secondary characters and exploring the characters’ psyche in a little more depth would have made this book even more worthy of all the praise its raking right now .  I guess  ” the next Gone Girl ” is the highest form of praise right now .  The wonder is there are too many books like that 😛

Rating : 3.5 / 5 ( The sheer brilliance with the narrative style  and one jaw-dropping shocker is not going to make all the difference ) .

Picking up the book ? Would strongly recommend you to  check it  out  (if only ) for the narrative . All you had worked out in your brain wouldn’t help much because you haven’t been shown the full picture . And when you finally get to see it guaranteed it would leave you stunned .

If you had picked up the book , how did you feel about it?  Or are you planning to pick up it up now?? Drop in a word or two in the comments section  .

 

 

 

A Writer’s gotta write first…

There is one Indian author whom I have been following very closely for anything except his writing. The man is not confined to writing bestsellers alone- he is a reputed columnist who writes very insightful articles on any niche,a screenplay writer for some of the highest box-office-grossing movies in Bollywood ( Hollywood,you have missed out a great talent…) whom The New York Times identified as ” the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history” in 2008. Perhaps,that might be true – but are his works really noteworthy? If you are not familiar with Indian writing,I ‘ll tell it straight-Chetan Bhagat.

           First Point Someone was really good for a debut novel-the narrative style, the rib-tickling  wry humor (courtesy Ryan) were instant hit with  the audience ( particularly the youth) and Chetan Bhagat  became a voice of the youth and most importantly, for the youth .Most importantly,it portrayed the failings in the Indian Education System that was prevalent even in the premier institutes of the nation like IIT. Being an alumnus of one such institutions,the narrative voiced the disappointment which he probably felt during his Under Grad years and he did it in a very entertaining way with his prime characters-Alok Gupta and Hari Kumar when Hari says “ So, we’re not just five-point somethings anymore, we are five point somebodies. ” when they manage to get a job finally.

So,when 2 States came out,this time Chetan Bhagat’s strategy became very apparent. I should say that he is a man who  should know very well that ” Successful people do not necessarily do extraordinary things-they do ordinary things  in an extraordinary way”. When you tell a regular campus love story with all drama in Bollywood style with all the drama thrown in  with a happily-ever-after ending, the masala factor became the crowd puller rather than the writing. Yeah, it was a fun read again only for his tongue-in-cheek narrative and humor. But, I had learnt to not expect much and had designated Chetan’s books for a light read during 6 hour train journeys.

When a picked up my last Chetan Bhagat novel, I remember thinking about The Three Mistakes Of my Life after finishing it

  • Picking up a Chetan Bhagat book again
  • Sitting through a plot-line that does not resonate with the political climate ( set in Gujarat during the earthquake and later communal riots in 2002 ). If at all anything,I was mentally making note of n number things that went wrong that were too jarring.Let’s say I became a better reader and ever better at picking up books
  • Still giving a place for Chetan Bhagat’s books in my bookshelf- Five Point Someone can stay.The others are going to the second hand book-dealer very soon.

He became a pioneer of a new kind of storytelling. Several other motivated Indian youth joined the bandwagon of this breed of storytellers who believed that stories need everything else-the masala factor, very creative and intriguing names like this one( Of course I love you..!Till I Find SomeOne Better, Now That You’re Rich Lets Fall in Love– this guy can give starters tips on how he comes up with such titles that gets the reader hooked even before he/she take a read at the plot summary) , a narrative that borders more on the type of fantasy genre with the most improbable locations and situations) .

When finally One Indian Girl came out,Chetan Bhagat marketed it aggressively on social media.But,when the book became epic disaster( finally, the average Indian had learnt to choose better as Chetan Bhagat was touted to be the one who made them read English books…Duh!! ). Have a look as the Indian twitterati trolled him and its too spot on and hilarious to miss out. Click on this link- Just for laughs

When people become staunch advocates for these writers saying that they made the average Indian to pick up English books,I have only one thing to say to them-

Indians’ contribution to the English literature did not start with Chetan Bhagat or the others. It started way back during the independence struggle only with Rabindranath Tagore, R.K.Narayan. For a better idea, have a look at this Wikipedia article. I am planning to check out one or two myself.

I should say that Chetan Bhagat was working all the while for making his entry into Bollywood as a screenplay writer. I can say whole-heartedly that he fits the bill for a screenplay writer better.If his books were dishing out only What Young India Wants ,the movie adaptations of each of his books tapped into that talent more. And his works do not count as any contribution to English literature.These books can be seen as some recent contributions to the English literature

A Train To Pakistan-Khushwant Singh(I know this is not a recent one but I loved this book )

 The God Of Small Things-Arundhathi Roy

The White Tiger-Arvind Adiga

Ibis trilogy-Amitav Ghosh

The Inheritance of Loss-Kiran Desai

Midnight’s Children-Salman Rushdie(still in my TBR list)

So,that brings up another question -if the book is not in English, does it’s literary value diminish? Will that book not gain widespread recognition that generally comes with English? The answer is a straight NO. Have a look at the list below –

The Millennium trilogy(Swedish) – Stieg Larsson

The Alchemist (and every other title by the same author in Portuguese) – Paulo Coelho

The Dinner (Dutch) – Herman Koch.

For more  click here.The more I google,the more number of whole new lists keep coming up. OMG.

When it comes to India, there are several languages and only very few epic works have got the privilege of reaching a wider audience (especially the regional works capturing the society and the political scenario in the background during the independence movements) . Sometimes, translation would prove to be a lesser substitute as the dialect of the regional language which gives the distinct style cannot be captured in a foreign language. For Indian readers check out this link  for some must-read translations.

When I was reading Michael’s post, the words “A scorpion’s gotta sting, a writer’s gotta write.” brought Chetan Bhagat instantly to my mind and this post.Thanks Michael for giving me a title for the post. If I might add, write  something worthwhile first . Probably he should have a paper with these words pasted just above his writing desk. He might be an alumnus of IIM-A but now you are a writer, you should know better that all the marketing gimmicks would not help if your story relies heavily on everything else except a good plot-line. He had done it previously and gotten away with it but this time, his marketing backfired in an epic way.

Lastly, to quote the man himself –“ I think half the trees in the world are felled to make up the IIT entrance exam guides. Most of them are crap ” Just substitute IIT entrance exam guides for Chetan’s books. Just can’t resist taking a parting shot 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wuthering Heights-Getting answers for some questions…-Part 2

The way Wuthering Heights panned out with Heathcliff on an avenging mission, I have often wondered that who had a major role in advancing Heathcliff’s schemes(knowingly or unknowingly) on both the families.Was it Hindley’s alcoholism cum gambling mania that made him a debtor to Heathcliff or Isabella’s attraction towards Heathcliff?If it had been only Hindley,the scene of action would have been only Wuthering Heights .But Isabella too comes in and Thrushcross Grange-the Lintons’ happy and normal home becomes a setting for the climax-the climax that preceded the story of avenging one’s love .There is one person who connects both the houses-Catherine Earnshaw,the ‘tragic’ heroine of the novel. Throughout the entire first half of the novel, there is ample evidence that Catherine Earnshaw’ s actions and words played a major role in setting up Heathcliff in his avenging mission.

Firstly,there was nobody to hinder Catherine from choosing Heathcliff over Edgar Linton-a proud (and definitely uncaring) brother definitely did not stand a chance against Catherine’s strong-willed nature. It was only Catherine’s pride and fear of poverty that made her choose Linton over Heathcliff. She could comprehend her feelings towards Heathcliff even then when she says-

“This [the acceptance of Linton’s proposal] is for one who comprehends in his person my feelings to Edgar and myself.[…]my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and all else remained ,and he were annihilated ,the universe, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger;[…]My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware; as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath-a source of little visible delight but necessary.

This alone says it all-her marriage to Linton is chiefly out of selfish motives for herself primarily despite her saying “The others [motives] were for the satisfaction of my whims and for Edgar’s sake,too,to satisfy him” and for Heathcliff chiefly.The only thing that sets apart Catherine (who caps even  all the Brontes’ unconventional heroines) from the rest of the Victorian heroines  is that she is very vocal about her factors(however despicable) that influenced her course of action.With the Lintons pandering to every whim of hers, she soon forgot about the only living person “who was her great thought in living” until the day he made his reappearance.While Heathcliff had come only to pay back Hindley, Catherine’s rapturous welcome of him showed him plainly that he had not lost Catherine’s love. Edgar Linton’s evident discomfort at his wife’s attachment towards Heathcliff, made it a sport for Heathcliff to repeat his visits to the Grange.

When Isabella confesses her admiration for somebody whom she perceived Heathcliff to be, Catherine plainly puts forth Heathcliff’s failings to make Isabella see sense.

He’s not a rough diamond___[…] he’s a fierce,pitiless,wolfish man.[….]I say ‘Let them alone, because I should hate them to be wronged’; and he’d crush you like  a sparrow’s egg,Isabella,if he found you a troublesome charge. I know he couldn’t love a Linton, and yet he’d be quite capable of marrying your fortunes and expectations___avarice is growing with him a besetting sin. There’s my picture; and I’m his friend -so much so that had he thought seriously to catch you, I should, perhaps, have held my tongue, and let you fall into his trap”

Despite knowing enough about the Heathcliff who had returned [no guesses there-Heathcliff laid bare his desire for revenging himself upon Hindley during their long rambles], she still reveals the girl’s fancy to him “to punish her for her sauciness” which seals Isabella Linton’s fate. Heathcliff had to just step up his revenge on Edgar with his marriage to Isabella Linton.Catherine Earnshaw knowingly not only betrayed her husband but also his beloved sister despite declaring that her intentions were otherwise.Even if she was honest in her intentions towards Isabella Linton,her betrayal towards Edgar Linton gives her fallacies that would make her an “anti-heroine” just like Heathcliff becomes an “anti-hero”.

I can go so far as to say that Catherine Earnshaw’s presence in the Lintons’ home was a luckless one. And Ellen Dean says that it was Heathcliff who was the “luckless presence”, a bird of bad omens”(Duh!!) .She does get very good adjectives but she did not use it to describe the correct person.

Catherine kept her word assiduously when she said

“I’ll try to break their hearts by breaking my own.That will be a prompt way of finishing all when I am pushed to extremity!”

If Catherine, alive and headstrong could inflict only this much damage, a delirious Catherine Earnshaw in her deathbed, with her words, destroyed any happiness that everybody could have had, if Heathcliff had been given a chance to move on.

I shouldn’t care what you suffered. I care nothing for your sufferings […] Will you forget me? Will you be happy when I am in the earth? Will you say twenty years hence, ‘That’s the grave of Catherine Earnshaw. I loved her long ago, and was wretched to lose her: but it is past. I’ve loved many others since; my children are dearer to me than she was, and at death, I shall not rejoice that I am going to her. I shall be sorry that I must leave them! ‘Will you say so, Heathcliff?

Even when Heathcliff for once speaks his heart at the very moment when he says “Do you reflect that all those words will be branded in my memory, and eating deeper eternally after you have left me? [..]Catherine, you know that I could as soon forget you as my existence! Is it not sufficient for your infernal selfishness, that while you are at peace I shall writhe in the torments of hell?”. But this anguished plea  falls on deaf ears and she again wishes to never be parted from Heathcliff and rambles on about how she expected Heathcliff to wish to be near her always.Knowing Heathcliff unlike any other person,and her hold on his heart,if her marriage was a betrayal,her confession about her undying love for Heathcliff during her final moments was even worse.

That day,the “anti-hero” Heathcliff emerged when he says-“I forgive what you have done to me.I love my murderer-but yours!How can I?“Although he clearly perceived Catherine’s fallacies,the intense grief totally eclipsed every other notion of reason/moving on-and The Hate Story started from there.

 

 

Wuthering Heights-Getting answers for some questions…

Recently,I picked up Wuthering Heights once again-these classics have such a powerful and eloquent language that dipping into one of them time and again is nothing new.But Wuthering Heights is different in one aspect-every read reveals a new shade of the characters -especially Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Perhaps I should call them ‘changelings’ to adopt Bronte’s expression.I have always wondered at the great heights to which Heathcliff took his mission of avenging his lost love on both the Lintons and Earnshaws with not an iota of pity and evident indifference even for the only person connected to him by blood-Linton Heathcliff. That was enough to convince me that Heathcliff presented the epitome of villainy despite the introduction written by some English professor referring to Heathcliff as “anti-hero”.

It was the most depressing read at that time when all the previous reads have been happily ever after(even Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre despite the romance between Rochester and Jane not being in the style of a regular one). I skipped some chapters to fast-forward the read in the hope of getting some glimpse of  redemption,if any ,for both the families from the diabolical schemes of the villain.With turning over each page,it only seemed that things were moving towards something dreadful of an epic proportion and that’s why I had to fast forward my read with this book.

The next read (after a year or so),allowed for a proper reading which turn the spotlight full on the eloquent and most importantly, the powerful language which brought out the raw emotions of the lead characters-Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. This time, I felt some pity for Heathcliff when he says “….nothing that God or Satan could inflict would  have parted us,you,of your own will,did it. I have not broken your heart-you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.[….]”

I could understand that being loved in his own way by somebody (for probably the first time in his life), he was always striving to be worthy of that love. On losing his only love, he became someone whose only life mission was to dish out revenge to people whom he perceived to be the reason for his love betraying him. I have always tried to find a convincing explanation for Heathcliff to run amok in view of his life mission of revenge on Hindley Earnshaw and Edgar Linton as he did not stop with only both of them-he carried it too far with his schemes on both Hareton Earnshaw and Catherine Linton.

Understandably Hindley becomes the arch rival as his depriving Heathcliff of his education and degrading him in the eyes of Catherine who eventually turned to Edgar Linton despite her misgivings about marrying him as she herself puts it beautifully thus-“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changing the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath-a source of little visible delight, but necessary…”.When he returns to Wuthering Heights to primarily avenge Hindley Earnshaw, Isabella’s Linton’s attraction towards him presents him with a golden opportunity to avenge Edgar also and he aces it with diabolical cunning. On Hindley quitting the hell of his own making (within a few months of his sister quitting hers and again entirely her own making), Hareton has to bear the atrocious conduct of the sins of the father visited upon the son (and very pathetically without knowing about it).But, Edgar severing all ties with Isabella upon her marriage to Heathcliff and Isabella eventually running away from the Heights and taking refuge in London, it is somewhat of a poor consolation. This time, his own son becomes the pawn in his game to obtain the custody of Hareton Earnshaw and making him a servant in his own father’s house.

On Isabella’s death and Linton Heathcliff’s subsequent arrival at Wuthering Heights, his comfortable upbringing in the dismal and disorderly house is with the sole objective of making his own son the master of Wuthering Heights with his arch rival’s son now knowing his rightful place (if he couldn’t perceive the diabolical cunning behind Heathcliff’s indulgence towards him during his growing up years).By excellent scheming again Heathcliff puts together his Linton and Catherine’s daughter  in each other’s company and eventually gets them married knowing very well that his son would die and he would become the master of Edgar Linton’s estate which his son had come into possession on his marriage. Almost everything falls in place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and he becomes the master of Edgar Linton’s estate also.

Heathcliff’s love for Catherine Earnshaw was of such a kind that she lived in his thoughts and everything evoked a memory of her. He himself puts it plainly thus “….what is not connected with her to me? and what does not recall her…The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist and that I have lost her!’. When I say that Catherine loved Heathcliff in his way, it is about the numerous instances where they have echoed each other.

Nelly,I am Heathcliff!He’s always,always in my mind-not as a pleasure,any more than I am always a  pleasure to myself,but as my own being”

“[…] I could as soon forget you as my existence”

“[…] he’s more myself than I am.Whatever our souls are made of,his and mine are the same;and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from from lightning,or frost from fire.”

“[..]What kind of living will it be when you—oh God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?

 It was a cruel twist of fate for Heathcliff again when he had everybody in his power but he couldn’t strike the final blow as he saw Catherine Earnshaw instead of Hindley in Hareton now.But,the most compelling thing that made him reluctant was that he had a glimpse of his own youth which had seen his degradation and his subsequent hard life in reaffirming his place in the society -“He moves me differently-and yet if I  could do it without seeming insane, I’d never see him again! You’ll perhaps think me rather inclined to become so if  I try to describe the thousand forms of past associations, and ideas he awakens, or embodies” “[…]Hareton seemed a personification of my youth, not a human being. I felt to him in such a variety of ways….”.He couldn’t see something of himself in his own son or (more of)  Catherine in her daughter to have treated her better. It was an irony that he should see her and also himself in Hindley Earnshaw’s son.

Hareton’s aspect was the ghost of my immortal love,of my wild endeavors to hold my right,my degradation,my pride,my happiness and my anguish___

For somebody who lives only on memories and completely in the past,if Catherine’s ghost(as he says) has haunted him “killing not by inches,but by fractions of hairbreadths,to beguile [him] with the spectre of a hope,through eighteen years“,seeing the ghost of his former self  continuously in front of his eyes,was the final blow.It rendered him incapable of finishing the task that he had begun from the day he returned to Wuthering Heights a second time-to avenge his lost love,his degradation,his lost happiness and finally,the death of his only love.

As an afterthought ,Catherine,Heathcliff  and  Hindley were people who could not accept the changes or come to realize that moving on is the best thing for themselves and most importantly for those around them.It should be said to Catherine Linton’s credit that she was more of a Linton than Earnshaw in making peace with the present and moving on with the hope of a better future when she finally turned towards Hareton.

In the meanwhile,let’s get your views about my ideas to the question whether Heathcliff took his avenging mission to whole new heights in the comments section.

 

 

 

 

Of chance encounters….

The other day when I was arranging my book shelf I came upon the long lost yellowish dog-eared copy of Little  Women-my first ever classic read on love,heartbreaks and such stuff.As I turned over the yellow pages of the book,there was a rush of memories-of the numerous times  I had sneaked this book into my study room and read it instead of studying for tomorrow’s exams,how it landed in my bookshelf,of times when my mom had tried to keep it out of my hands during my exams in my middle school days( but with limited success).

I picked up this book from the book fair that comes to the city every year when I was in the 7th grade.Picking up this book was something like the hero-falls-for-heroine-@-first-sight scene .Just  a small correction here-it was not love @ first sight here.That happened much later.I had not the least idea about this book the day I went to the book fair.I was looking for books to add to my sizeable Agatha Christie and Doyle collection-I was a huge fan of the suspense/detective fiction.I  still am….I had picked up the books which I wanted to and as I was roaming among the stalls reading the plot-summary of some random book that looks somewhat interesting(not that I had any idea of buying the book-probably it would land in my list-of-books-to-read till I get to go to another book fair-my budget ) the cover of Little Women caught my attention.Reading the first 3 pages,I had to admit the story was pretty interesting plus the price was reasonable.(I had already finished my budget on Christie Books that day.)That’s how it got to my bookshelf.

“Chance encounters with people have an everlasting impact in our lives.They give us lessons,new ideas,new insights,new learnings,new experiences-the same holds true for books.”

I still remember my 12 year old self laughing herself silly/getting a lump in the throat and trying not to cry(but not managing it really) over something in this book This was the book that had me laughing out loud @ Jo’s gaffes and skirmishes with the dashing guy-next-door Laurie.(Not that Jo had any idea about such things).It had me in tears when Beth finally loses the battle with her illness.It had me feeling sorry for Laurie over Jo’s refusal(I so wanted the two of them to end up together)..A tomboy who fervently hates anything remotely girlish,a Miss.Malaprop in social scenarios,an outspoken person sometimes to the point of being too blunt,the bookworm who prefers the Romeos from her books while turning a blind eye to the loving glances and a deaf ear to the subtle hints of the next-door-Romeo-I loved Jo March and could identify myself with her big time(only there was no dashing next-door-neighbour :p…Peace!!)

Prior to Little Women,with the books in the suspense genre,there had  been simply the narration of a case- solid facts with insights into workings of the human mind-the emotions were mostly anger,fear,guilt and others in the same line.If there was love,the author gets maybe one or two pairs married for a happily-ever-after ending in the last page.In suspense genre the emphasis had always been on the actions of the character and their outcomes but not the underlying influences like the emotions.Louisa May Alcott’s book showed me the power of words in vividly picturing a scenario.The words were not simply telling a story .They were able to beautifully bring before the eyes of the reader the dreams,the passion/the hopes/the angst/the heartbreaks of the characters so well  that the reader laughed/cried/sympathized with them.

I have since then read several other books where the narrative is at a whole new level in terms of making the reader visualize what he/she reads.But Little Women will always have a special place on my bookshelf-because it introduced me to new ideas and motivated me to try out new things and helped me to grow as a reader.And it gave me one important lesson which I have come to realize in retrospect-Chance encounters with people have an everlasting impact in our lives.They give us lessons,new ideas,new insights,new learnings,new experiences-the same holds true for books.I don’t know how it would have been if I had not been open to trying out something new -probably,I would have found another book that would have shown me those things ,maybe a bit later.But now,I remember this everytime I when I go to the bookstore-I keep my eyes open for some new author/new genre that I have not tried and trust me-it has opened up my horizons to the extent that even I was not aware of in passing but have come to appreciate now.

So,planning a visit to the bookstore this weekend??Or ordering some book online??Or downloading any audio-books??Or just trying out some cool apps out there?Whatever,it is,go for something that you have not tried before-it may be a new genre/new author…You never know what you might find out there…..