(A review by Sidharth Vardhan of Frankenstein in Baghdad (2012) by Ahmed Saadawi shortlisted for International Man Booker 2018 For English translation by Jonathan Wright ) Shouldn’t it rather be called Frankenstein’s Monster? The book sure picks up the atmosphere of Iraq suffering from aftereffects of war and terrorism. The very idea of making a complete dead body out of parts of victims of bomb blasts which couldn’t be identified with their owner is something that could occur easily to someone living in Baghdad and, for whom, bombs are a daily occurrence. In fact, the characters who seem to be prospering the most are those gaining from ruins – one of them gets rich by buying old junk from those migrating out and other by buying or illegally occupying their properties. Then there is the fact that monster like Baghdad contains elements of various communities. Another element would be religion: “There were people who had survived many deaths in the time of the dictatorship only to find themselves face-to-face with a pointless death in the age of “democracy”—when, for example, a motorbike ran into them in the middle of the road. Believers lost their faith when those who had shared their
(A review by Sidharth Vardhan of Flights (2007) by Olga Tokarczuk Original Title – Bieguni (polish) Winner of International Booker 2018 for Enligh translation by Jennifer Croft ) “Age all in your mind. Gender grammatical. I actually buy my books in paperback, so that I can leave them without remorse on the platform, for someone else to find. I don’t collect anything.” This book can be a kind of bible for the people with restless legs – people whose biggest fear that they will have to spend all their life in one place; to whom travel is the religion, road is the home and their own house merely a comfortable hotel. The narrator is one such person:
Fever Dreams by Samanta Schweblin First Published in 2014 Long listed for International Man Booker in 2017 Review by Sidharth Vardhan The harmful effects of pesticides – a theme that might not be obvious to an urban reader of the book (the characters themselves seemed to not know about them) is the unnamed curse of the town. However, as with the treatment of psychopath theme in ‘Room’, the much louder theme just serves as a background for theme of how strong a mother’s love is. You know how homo-sapiens, especially females, keep on sentimentalizing over their parental investment and all that.
Review of ‘Judas’ by Amos Oz First published in 2014 Short-listed for international Man-Booker in 2017 On Hurting God There must seem something paradoxical to some of the religious folks in the idea that anyone could in anyway hurt God or his relative. They thus want to argue that such people who might have done something against God were, in fact, folks who just wanted to give the God (and relations) leverage to create drama or God made them that way for drama. Many versions of Ramayana would have you believe that Ravana, in fact, was a devotee of Rama and, all he did, was to get killed from same ( talk about Machoist love!). Bible said God made Pharaoh refuses Moses’ offers so that he could bring plagues to Egypt to prove his existence (and then they blame me for creating scenes!) a Borges version said Pharaoh was intentionally serving God by refusing Moses’ offers (and letting his people suffer and die).