Monday, November 06, 2006

A review i wrote last year for a mag

I just finished reading The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. In fact I got this book only after seeing one of my uncle reading CM's Historical Caesar & Rome related books which she has written almost half a dozen.

Right at the start I knew that this book is meant to be for women. The way 4 year old Maggie Cleary is described, you immediately come to know that she is different in a way women in our Indian Hindi movies are portrayed, extremely sensitive, and one who suffers all pain and never expresses it or complaints about it.

Again right at the start you know that this book is full of women's inner feeling. And specially feeling that very few of them is capable of entertaining lest they want to be labeled as a sentimental fool. But yet they are very rare, touching and agonizing feeling. Right at start you also come to know that this is story about life and its philosophy because you never know enough of life unless you are on the wrong side of life that is when you have a life that is devoid of everything...a sufferer’s life, a life of poverty a life of loss of love….a life that dies trying to achieve redemption for a guilt that never meant to be a guilt in fist place. And while reading this book we get a chance to live proxy life of a poor through Cleary family. Because most of us need money to look even dignified forget about using it to look good. But then there is one thing different in this Cleary family that is, this is story of poor people who contrary to general expectation don't buckle under hardship of poverty and loose all sense of dignity and finery of life's behaviors and emotions and its feeling, but stick to them and become even more admirable and lovable. And emerge out as people, who give in more to such feeling in hardship when it truly required to be shown. But its written in Mills & Boon style...full of sweet clich├ęd words and diabetic romanticism (though that is how most people love to feel and live and suffer for love) though some of the description and dialogues related to morality and ambivalent desires of hearts (for lovers love to torment themselves on the fickle questions of morality every now and then) and some love making scenes are the one that make this book worth reading. Above all it's the pain author has inflected on its characters knowingly, expectedly, unknowingly and unexpectedly that makes a reader keep on turning pages of this bulky book.

After reading this book I did realize that someone who has lived an underpriviledged life and has indulged in love luxuriantly would truly admire this book. For the pain you get being good and unpriviledged is something you really cherish and sometimes you want more of it as a radical does. It goes for sacrifice too, the more deeply and acutely you feel love and are denied of it, the more of that love you want. For what is love if you can not endure separation and pain and what is life if you can not suffer its hardship and maintain your dignity?

I think being a semi historical author now CM must be feeling odd while acknowledging this book. She must have written this when she herself have suffered bout of romantic delusions and eventually would have decided to paint her own feeling in sweeping epic saga spanning three generations and hundred years.

And she has been successful in doing so.

(right side of the poster also reflect the similarity with the sea beach kissing poster of From here to eternity most memorable poster ever made for a movie...)


Anonymous said...

You emanate through everything you write!


Anonymous said...

You emanate through everything you write!

Anonymous said...

You emanate through everything you write!


Anonymous said...

You are so visible in your writing. I can see you standing there talking, holding in your expressions, wrenching on the inside.

I asked myself wether you were so evident to me because I know you and experience your presence, but I arrived to understanding that even if I didn't, you would still emanate just as well through your writing.

I was thinking of you in relation to Purvi Shah and her book "Terrain Tracks". The question you asked about what bothers her. You said something to the effect that it is through those things that bother, that one writes. It made more evident to me the angst within which you operate...on a daily, momentary basis.

I wonder if you can fathom that it is possible to write and to write well and meaningfully, emotionally, expressively without having a heavy burden of tragedy on your back.

I imagine you vehemently opposing this idea, as that is your reality. And if you did, I would absolutely understand what you are saying, because everything beautiful that comes out of you comes out because of who you are, what you have experienecd, what you have felt and how you have chosen to translate all that into a reality...a reality of your own.

This is something I struggled with and to some degree still struggle with. I believed at one point that everything good that I wrote, sketched, the way I danced all came from that which is tragic inside of me and for many many years I fervently held on to that angst in side of me thinking that as soon as those things went away (which we all have the power to do...even though you may not agree I will no longer be able to be creative in the way that I have been.

It occured to me that many times I sent myself deeper into that tragic place,...enjoying the suffering...(something I still do and enjoy doing).

I'm getting carried away here...what I am asking is basically, has it ever occured to you that art, beauty, poetry can come out one does not live in anguish?

Perhaps Purvi didn't hear your question because it is that is not the way she identifies herself.

I think there is a lot of anguish and pain and suffering in her writing as well, but there is a difference in hers and yours. It is that she has taken a step towards living... I feel she has chosen to turn her experiences around to awaken and change as opposed to you, who it seems to me, use it to delve deeper into your ocean of tears.

I am tempted to give a disclaimer...I don't want you to misinterpret what I am saying...but I will choose not to. If you do misinterpret it then it will give me another chance to be more acute and precise in my thoughts....and that is something I enjoy doing. So, I will not tell you how I want you to read what I wrote above.

One can argue that in saying what I just said, I already gave you a disclaimer....

Once again I will leave that judgement up to the reader!


Derick said...

You are unbelievable! That blew me away.

sbkt said...

"for lovers love to torment themselves on the fickle questions of morality every now and then"
:-D ...loved that remark...ya, its more of an indulgence than anything else...

Don Quixote La Mancha said...


You have caught me completely off guard. The observation you have expressed here does not even allows me to say that by chance I have posted snippets of my writing that have shade of sadness in it if not something that is carrying a heavy load of tragedy. And what I meant by “bothering” is that something that makes people take a painful creative way to express it…..and the things that you cook in yourself before it takes a meaningful form.

And bothering does not always means something that nags you but etymologically it also means a thought that intrude on without invitation or warrant or something that you are concerned about.

But even after saying all this I do agree that I tend to have inclination towards general melancholia. How if I say that even though the sun of happiness shines on me in anyway there will be a shade directly beneath me.

Otherwise, you know how much beauty in every form and even at the most unlikeliest place I see.

manylives said...

brave words...
it takes a lot of courage to write-take a bow.

I am just a visitor to ur spot in the sun, and I am reminded of few words I'd like to quote from the original-

"There is no harm in choosing, to live over and over, now as a man, now as a woman, as sea-captain, or court lady, as Emperor or farmer's wife, in splendid cities and on
remote moors, at the time of Pericles or Arthur, Charlemagne, or George the Fourth - to live and live till we have lived out those embryo lives which attend about us in early youth until I 'suppressed them'."
- Virginia Woolf, "On Being Ill"