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Rarely There

A collection of discourses - myriad, profound, uplifting...
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Luka and the Fire of Life, Boy, Snow, Bird, and Whisper

Of the half a dozen fiction over the last few months, these three were the most enjoyable read.

Luka and the Fire of Life
by Salman Rushdie

Having read and re-read Haroun and the Sea of Stories over the last two decades, I couldn't skip Luka and the Fire of Life. So, after the frenzy surrounding its launch died down, I quietly picked this up and relished the story-telling.

An inadvertent curse sets things in motion and the story progresses rapidly with a lot of action, a la video games, full of imagination and fantasy that only a master can relate with such deceptive simplicity.

There is a beauty in All's Well That End Well endings that is hard to ignore. The feeling that some books generate where you don't want to leave the magical world and return to your own reality is something truly special.

Boy, Snow, Bird
by Helen Oyeyemi

Brilliant writing. Superb crafting. Oyeyemi is a delight to read. After Mr.Fox, I was looking forward to more of Oyeyemi. And this book just perfectly fit the need. If I could, I'd quote about 70% of the book, but am indulging myself just a few - the passages that make one wonder if the author just thinks in those words or crafts it with precision, chiseling and honing till the brilliant sentences remains with us forever.

"... it's not whiteness itself that sets Them against Us, but the worship of whiteness. Same goes if you swap whiteness out for other things-- fancy possessions for sure, pedigree, maybe youth too... we beat Them (and spare ourselves a lot of tedium and terror) by declining to worship."

"But the shrieking went on and on, primal, almost glad—this protest was righteous. I couldn’t make up my mind whether the baby was male or female; the only certainties were near baldness and incandescent rage. The kid didn’t like its blanket, or its rattle, or the lap it was sat on, or the world . . . the time had come to demand quality."

"It was one of those ones they call screwball comedies, where people mislead and ill-treat each other in the most shocking and baffling way possible, then forgive and forget about it because they happen to like the look of each other. Only they call it falling in love."

"School is one long illness with symptoms that switch every five minutes so you think it's getting better or worse. But really it's the same thing for years and years."

Though the ending felt rushed and apologetic, the mingling of the magical fantasy with the very real social issues as well as the ever-confounding family quirks makes this quite a page-turner.


by Christina Struyk-Bonn

Not another dystopian tale set in some indeterminate time period. This is happening in our world in some form. In a society that abandons such rejects - viz., babies born with deformities, hope can be hard to come by.

Whisper is born with a cleft palate, correctable, and yet she is abandoned by her family. Still loved by her mother, Whisper spends the first few years of her life accepting her situation, not thinking beyond what she faces each day.

As we follow Whisper's life, we wonder how many kids around the world are experiencing similar fate at this very minute. Things turn out fine for Whisper because she has a talent - her music is sublime. But what about the many who have nothing special to bank on for hope and salvation?

[image source:]

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