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Book Review: A Day in the Life by Anjum Hasan

Like her poetry, Anjum Hasan’s new book ‘A Day in the Life’ gives us an insight into the world through a new prism. Her characters are diverse and the stories are about their daily lives. The 14 stories give us a sense of the world that resides inside us, within the confines of the skull. A glimpse into the psyche of these characters takes us through their insecurities, complexes and whims.

Even the setting of the stories gives us a sense of an era gone by. Take the first story for example. In ‘The Stranger’ the retired protagonist leaves his fast-paced metro life and shifts base to a quaint, small town to experience the life in a hilly place. Throughout the story one expects something to happen. But the drudgery of the small town existence sails through till the end of the story. Life goes on.

Anjum Hasan explores the complexities of relationships in her second story ‘Sisters’. Female bonding is the underlying theme of the story, which also stands out for the enigmatic and aesthetic portrayal of friendship between Janaki and Jaan.

My favourite story in the lot is ‘A Short History of Eating’. Hasan beautifully describes how liberalisation has fuelled consumerism, thus creating desire and the urge to eat more. Liberalisation has affected each one of us – from what we eat to what we read. This is also reflected in ‘The Question of Style’ which deals with the desire of the two young protagonists to “become stylish”.

In fact, each of the stories has an undercurrent of intimacy in the treatment of the characters, and the dynamics between them. The protagonists are introverts, with volumes of vulnerability in them. The innate desire of these men and woman to carve a leave a mark in the mundaneness of existence, is the driving force for you to read on.

Anjum Hasan’s wizardry of words is exemplified in the prose. Not only do the written words make an impact, the things left unsaid make the reading experience even more pleasurable.  One can only wait in anticipation for her next work, to be transported into a world of fantasy that exists well within the humdrum of daily life.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. This review is part of the Flipkart Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

Book Review: Prithviraj Chauhan by Anuja Chandramouli

Prithviraj Chauhan was destiny’s chosen one, singled out for glory and greatness. During the course of an extraordinary life, he transcended the limits imposed on mortals and achieved Godlike luster. The conquering hero dreamed of a united land where peace prevailed over war and love over hate.

Princess Samyukta loved him from afar, and when Prithviraj Chauhan claimed her for his own, defying the wrath of an implacable foe, their happiness was complete. Victorious in love and war, Prithviraj Chauhan was soon to discover that success came with a terrible price – trouble, treachery and tragedy. What happened next? Read the tale of the legendary warrior who lives on in the hearts of those who remember his unmatched valor and timeless heroism. 

Having grown up reading Amar Chitra Katha comics, Prithviraj Chauhan was a name to reckon with since early childhood. The valiant king who was also a passionate lover, has been the hero of many legends. Thanks to the popular television series a decade ago, the tales around the mighty warrior also kept growing.

Anuja Chandramouli’s book explores the hitherto unknown facets of his character. His childhood, the political power play, the foreign invasion, and even his love story with Princess Samyukta, are detailed throughout the pages, however, with an intelligent retelling. Apart from the main characters in the story, several behind-the-scenes players (like Kanchanadevi and Karpuradevi) emerge in the narrative, who drive the tale forward.

The transformation of Prithviraj’s character from a innocent prince into a ruthless warrior and benevolent ruler was a treat to read. The lucid writing, and the natural free-flowing text accentuates the twists in the plot, so much so that you keep turning pages, eager to know what happens next (although, the ultimate fate of Prithviraj is known to us all).

The success of a historical fiction lies in the balancing act while fictionalising characters we have encountered in history books. A dash of thrill here and a touch of drama there makes for a the recipe of a captivating read. Anuja Chandramouli’s ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’ achieves that good mix.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

P.S. The review copy of the book was provided by the author


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