Saturday, June 14, 2008


I like fictions that provide interesting tidbits about the intricacies of human existence. That is the reason I started reading 'Metamorphosis' by Kafka. Kafka stands tall in the 20th century scene of western literature. But, the profoundness and the genius I expected from this book fell terribly short, but what he has been able to accomplish in this book is to capture the anxiety of modern life, and the terrible contradictions that follow us in every path of our lives. I would be reading more of his works as I am not yet ready to write him off. After all, Kafka-esque is a term that I had begun to like even before reading any of his works :)

Friday, June 13, 2008


I picked up Leo Tolstoi's Sebastopol for two reasons - firstly it is a small book by a literary giant, whose books are generally 1000+ pages in size. Secondly, it seemed like a portrayal of war and I was curious what Tolstoi saw in war 150 years ago. And I wasn't wrong. It is a moving portrayal of soldiers, their fears, bravery and the uncanny sense of patriotism.

Much before internet, radio and 24 hour television channels, the story of Sabastopol tells the stories that we haven't heard from Iraq yet. True, it is an art of fiction. Still, the complex analysis of what constitutes a soldier, who stand in the rain of fire and what awaits him in his nightmarish sleep, is masterfully done in this book. The love, hatred and above all the sadness and cruelty of war is evident in this short book. As the book ends when the russian soldiers leave Sebastopol looking back at the city that took their fellow soldiers, I can't help thinking about Iraq - what emotions would besiege those soldiers when they finally leave Iraq?