1001 Books Round-Up April 2020
April’s winners and losers
The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor – BOTM – What GR says: In this widely acclaimed novel, Shashi Tharoor has masterfully recast the two-thousand-year-old epic “The Mahabharata” with fictionalized – but highly recognizable – events and characters from twentieth-century Indian politics. Blending history and myth to chronicle the Indian struggle for freedom and independence, Tharoor directs his hilarious and often outrageous satire as much against Indian foibles and failings as against the bumblings of the British rulers. Despite its regional setting, this work can be enjoyed by readers unfamiliar with Indian history. This can indeed by enjoyed by those like me who are unfamiliar with the source material and with Indian history although I do believe we may be missing out on things.
My thoughts: Even with my limited knowledge of Indian history I was able to spot the most glaringly obvious parallels in this story, certain characters were recognisable as well as certain events. This is a clever novel that retells an epic historical story using modern events and with several references to other works of literature.
“but the round table in question was chosen quite deliberately (and after a great deal of diplomatic deliberation). It served two functions One unmentioned was to hark back to the host’s glorious chivalric past under the legendary King Arthur (who if he existed at all, was a superstitious cuckold, which is hardly my idea of a national hero.”
“for they were simple people used to calling a spade a white man’s garden tool”
“with his overweening ambition, the glaring pseudo-religious chip on his highly un-Islamic shoulder, his willingness to destroy a country in order to have his own way, he wasn’t exactly what you would call likeable”
“And it was no accident that Sunda and Upasunda has been men. It would have taken the gods a good deal more that a male Tilottama to break the elemental bonds of sisterhood.”
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence – Tackle the TBR – What Wiki Says -first published privately in 1928 in Italy, and in 1929 in France. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books. Penguin won the case, and quickly sold 3 million copies. The book was also banned for obscenity in the United States (1929–59), Canada, Australia, India, and Japan. The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working class man and an upper class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable (four-letter) words. Sexually explicit? Obscene? Not by today’s standards. Use of 4 letter words? Definitely!
My thoughts: I put this on my TBR list hoping the number would not come up so it goes without saying when this was selected as my April book my heart sank. Having read it I have no idea why I was so against it in the first place I found myself caught up in the story and intrigued to know what would happen. That said it could have been made shorter in some places.
I went into this expecting some tawdry affair with an unsympathetic female lead character. That was not the case. To give Lawrence credit I could actually believe in Constance as a woman. The situation that lead to Constance taking a lover and her choice of lover are to some extent tragic. Sir Clifford and Connie end up with a marriage neither of them signed up for and they are both dealing with it to the best of their ability. The story manages to walk the line so that you feel sorry for those on both sides of the argument. Sir Clifford and Connie both behave badly at points but as a reader you can understand why they behave as they do.
At the end of the story you are left hopeful that in the fullness of time things will resolve themselves to a positive outcome to all involved.
Some quotes I enjoyed:
“They lived freely among the students, they argued with the men over philosophical, sociological and artistic matters, they were just as good as the men themselves: only better because they were women.” YASS
“Before Christmas of 1914 both their German young men were dead; Whereupon the sisters wept, and loved the young men passionately, but underneath forgot them. They didn’t exist anymore.” Ahh young love
“The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down to pretty few in most personal experience.” How very true
“how extremely like all the rest of the classes the lower classes sounded. Just the same thing over again, Tevershall or Mayfair or Kensington.” People are people as they say
“The desire rose again, his penis began to stir like a live bird.” Dead birds don’t tend to stir much if you ask me
“Men make so much more of things than they should, once they start brooding.” You are not wrong there
“Yes, this was love, this ridiculous bouncing of the buttocks, and the wilting of the poor, insignificant, moist little penis.” This book is sooo erotic LOL
3 Stars – if you have been putting of reading this I can honestly tell you it is not that bad.