Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

goldfinchBildungsroman” – That’s what books like these are called. A rather thick touchy one written in a first person monologue at times similar to that by Camus’s Meursault or Sam Raimi’s Elliot.But it was so simple and fluidic. Like sipping wine, something to relax on everyday, though it was kinda pointless at times.

Story spans through the teen ages of Theodor Decker towards his middle ages, which If given more papers Author might have extended till death. And the protagonist was as helpless as the reader in controlling his story. I really want to give some points on liking this book which on usual circumstances isn’t my type of read, except I don’t have any. Having that masterpiece painting, well allegedly, was giving Theo some strength, though the reveal of same might ruin his life, it was an excitement worth taking the risk for. He was often portrayed emotionless, especially around his Father, far better than that moron kid in The curious incident of the dog at the night though. And he was a schmuck for not contacting Andy, but somehow as a reader I understood him with his faults. It wasn’t pity for sure, since he wasn’t raised badly nor was in short of good company. Maybe, that was the magic of this book for me, it transcended really smooth.

And Blin!, Boris was exactly like that cheeki breeki Slav on youtube, he deserves a squatting ovation for saving the book. Though If given the chance I would edit out parts about Mr. Babour, I had no serious problem with the book being too long. In fact by the last few chapters I secretly wanted for more, though I knew there wont be any solid clincher. Like little puttertje in Fabritius’s Goldfinch, Theo was chained to his own mysterious blue chest. He was a pet bird almost all his life, delusional, lost and longing for care. And like they say, One had to be lost for others to be found.

the_goldfinch_puttertje_by_carel_fabritius_postcard-re2cdccb2d614441191712ba48ca5f938_vgbaq_8byvr_512Goldfinch was my fat companion over the last few months, I almost kept the piece away for days towards the last chapter. It was slowly becoming my personal Damascus, the way station and apogee like Amsterdam was for Theo, thanks to the unusual amount of time and emotions I had invested in the read. And there is a part of me contemplating to keep the library copy for my personal shelf much like Theo preserving the Fabritius’s Trompe-l’œil (I don’t know how to write or pronounce it, but word is fancy af).


The Tantric Curse

captureA smooth pleasant read with occasional feeds about the tantric world and the preconceived notions it usually drag along. This is the life story of a little girl, growing up in an ashram, somewhat secluded from outside world. She posses a natural trait to the tantric practices, and staying along the line of tantra makes takes her life through turns she wasn’t prepared for. I might have overdid the intro there, but its actually a light read on friendship and love, with scientific information of tantric ways, channeling along with.

The mystic world of vibrations and sainthood reminded me a lot of Don Juan and Castaneda’s “A Separate Reality”. Also I couldn’t help but get reminded of Chanakyas Chant along way, mostly coz of Varanasi and the play of powers, devoid of the latter’s crookedness though. There were portions I found difficult to digest, portions off kilter to my usual thought process, still the delightful writing took me through, till the end, like standing in a quagmire.

An issue I had with the later portion of book was, the characters were lettings things to go south deliberately, like its something out of their hand. Maybe I am wrong in my own understanding, but taking a stand would have made life easy for them, at least for the ones they were involved with if not them. Instead the novel went all New Moon with Rhea-Krishnam saga. Again like its been said, everything happens for a reason and the imponderables made sense by the end.

Tantra has always been a clouded area for me, something mystic, something to be away from, something no one seems to have a proper understanding. This book has done a brilliant job in clearing many things up, in fact had me wish for illustrations at that “chakra” part, which was quite brilliantly put. Also author expressed the characters in their imperfections, in not just the learning part, but also in maturity. That in unison with authors brief bio compels reader to ponder on the possibility of facts in this fiction, probably some she lived through.

“To find stillness in motion is the paradox to accomplish, rather than just being still while in stillness”.

And it comes with an utterly terrific cover art, capable to hypnotize in the very look. Also I extend my great-fullness and regards to Team TTC for an early review copy.

Heptapods, Gallafriyans and Tralfamadorians (Guest Article)

spoiler alert

Includes themes from Stories of your life and Doctor Who

Today was short on any meaningful accomplishments and yet bigger on the inside, interspersed with a string of little epiphanies. Here’s one that lead to an obnoxiously loud “Eureka!” moment. So if you have read Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang I bet you’ve been as intrigued as me. Picturing the Heptapod B language was way beyond my skillset. Now here is where I get to the good part (the epiphanic one). Gallifreyan is an excellent example of Heptapod B, one composite sigil which progressively increases in complexity as the sentences grow longer.

Furthermore, Timelords see time as a sphere rather than a linear progression. Every point in time exists simultaneously which are distributed along the lines of the space-time continuum, a bit like how Kurt Vonnegut’s Tralfamadorians saw it. That’s how the Doctor detects timelines in flux as well as the unchangeable focal points of important events. This is in perfect accordance with what we know of the Heptapodical view of time.


And here, my dear Watsons, the deductions reach their grand finale. Heptapods were Timelords with a perception field around them which made them look like seven limbed cylinders to the unsuspecting human populace. And for the last act; Dr. Louise Banks, after learning Heptapod B, was Chiang’s version of Dr. Donna. I know I know. Thank you “10th” for letting me get this off my chest in your fantastic blog.

Stories of Your Life and Others

This is a clever book with snazzy concepts and technical jargons, masqueraded under dull titles that sound more like high school English composition topics. Don’t let them fool you.storiesofyourlife
Few weeks before I got to read The Story of your life during a train journey, impressed me very much in its intellectual and literary aspects. Aliens, Fermat something, linguistics, Whorfianism, calculus of variations, all in a Mom’s monologue to her kid. The tipsy tenses and concepts impressed me quite as much to bag the complete book and dwell in this delightful sci-fi juxtaposition.

Below is me being brief, giving a peek into this cool book from my bland inane mind, hoping it be a little conviction to read any of the shorts. They did quite whet my appetite for more, one after the other.

Tower of Babylon is a philosophical story about the search for heaven and earth, surprisingly devoid of the biblical language tragedy, mixed with enough marvel, vertigo and claustrophobia.

Another one Understand got a Flowers of Algernon type Charlie going all Limitless and Lucy in a near future world. It’s a bit mind blowing, dishing out concepts that help one accept most of things sci -i, when it comes to extreme human intelligence and manipulative controls. You might even give Purple Man from Alias/Jessica Jones some slack.
Division by Zero is the story of a mathematical genius where every reference felt like an archaic unknown enemy from old question papers – x. And most of my readings were intuition based than understanding here.

Seventy-two letters felt more like a journal review article, that every scholar got to torture oneself through, during literature survey. Except this one made sense in its own strange way in a well-crafted weird lexical universe. It’s a macabre story set in an alternative world with unconventional gestation, where movement of inanimate objects are controlled by words, superseded by our known thermodynamic principles. And do google “Shemhamphorasch”
Then a really short, short on obviousness of something obvious –The evolution of human science

Hell is the absence of God is one bitter sweet theological take on various doctrines of God thoughts. Remember that portion in Bible where Jesus was asked the reason for a particular person’s blindness, his sins or his ancestor’s? This story trails around his answer, “this has happened so that the works of Lords might be displayed in him.” This short is deep and I couldn’t help but compare the angel visitations with the alien zones in Roadside Picnic, giving the premise a whole different perspective.

Liking what you see: a documentary, as the name suggests is a compilation of interviews and articles from people having various opinion about a neuro tech that eliminates the bias towards pretty looks. Sounded more like a Fair and Lovely product, if they were an IT company. Like most of the other stories around, it’s not the flow of circumstances that grips you in, but the concepts and school of thoughts we ignore always.

It’s funny how every story is interpersed with linguistic undertones except the one you most expect to, Tower of Babel. And I have a new fav sci-fi author now.