Category Archives: Books
After a successful first season, Times of India has returned with ‘Write India’ campaign Season 2 to uncover India’s great story-telling potential. It is an unprecedented crowd-sourced short story contest for which TOI sets up an eclectic line-up of world-renowned authors to inspire, encourage and evaluate budding writers and amateurs.
The first season of Write India program was a grand success with around 1.5 lakh registrations and 25,000 short stories received in a span of 11 Months. It discovered top writers from across the country and 36 winning stories were published in the form of a book in November last year.
This year’s panel of judges includes celebrity authors– Sir Jeffrey Archer, Ruskin Bond, Sudha Murty, Twinkle Khanna, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shobhaa De, Manu Joseph, Namita Gokhale and Nikita Singh. Anand Neelakantan, the author of ‘The Rise of Sivagami’ kicked off the campaign this year in July.
The entire campaign will be run for a period of 10 months, until 30 April 2018. Each month, one of the celebrity authors will share a passage for budding writers to weave a short story around, stories will be curated by Write India team and then, top winners will be selected by the author of the month. The winning stories created during Write India campaign will later be compiled in a book and published by TOI. At the end of the year, TOI will also organize a workshop for the winners where they will be mentored by celebrity authors.
Sounds like a challenge to go in for? Log on to www.toi.in/writeindia to submit your story and live your dream of becoming a published author.
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‘Forest Dark’ – the fourth novel by Nicole Krauss begins with the disappearance of Jules Epstein, a wealthy, old man from Manhattan, who returns to his roots in Tel Aviv – on a mission – and then disappears without leaving a trace. In a parallel track, a writer named Nicole – with a failing marriage and suffering from writers’ block – also leaves for Tel Aviv, hoping to disappear into fiction.
Both Epstein and Nicole encounter strangers, who entice them with offers too lucrative to turn down. Epstein finds out he might have connections to the legendary King David, while Nicole is drawn into an adventure involving Franz Kafka. While both the protagonists are drawn to Tel Aviv, and converge the Hilton, their tracks do not meet. These parallel stories, with their inherent philosophical undertones, are essentially tales of metamorphosis.
In fact, metamorphosis or transformation is the underlying theme in the novel. Both Epstein and Nicole set on a journey of self-discovery and realisation as they chase their goals in Israel. This novel is almost autobiographical for Krauss; the resemblance of her and Nicole are too hard to miss. ‘Forest Dark’ forces you to press the snooze button on life, sit back and think over.
The book comes as a boon for literature enthusiasts too. The Kafka references and snippets on history and religion are a delectable read. Krauss offers us an alternate view of Kafka’s life, which makes for an interesting theory. However, the narrative loses steam with too many plot twists.
Overall, ‘Forest Dark’ is fiercely philosophical, often preachy, magnificently written work of autobiographical fiction, which is meandering at times despite being engagingly enigmatic.
My Rating: 3/5 stars
P.S. This review is part of Flipkart Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme