Soul Warrior is the first book in the trilogy, The Age of Kali, a mythical fantasy fiction series by New York based novelist Falguni Kothari. Soul Warrior, published by Om Books International, draws from the rich character base and events from the Mahabharata, but presents them in a completely refreshed format (Quite literally since they all enter the 21st century!). There is the fictional law-governed Cosmos made up of heavenly, demonic and human realms and its protagonist, Lord Karna, the legendary guardian of the Human Realm, is coerced into training six godlings into demon hunters against a rising demon army.
There is a struggle between the Light and Dark forces of the Cosmos, and also the inherent question- how exactly do you know who are the light forces and which ones are the dark? Then there is the race to control the one soul capable of total cosmic annihilation- demi-god Karna’s and Draupadi’s secret child!
I wanted Karna and Draupadi to have a happily ever after, or some version of it. Karna is the quintessential tragic hero, the man who was wronged for possibly every moment of his life and yet he was generous and honorable in his dealings – well, honorable in most cases except in Draupadi’s, especially during the vastra haran. Despite that dishonorable act, Karna comes across as sympathetic and deserves an eternity of happiness. As you can tell, I am a little bit biased toward him.
Having also read mythological adaptations such as the Palace of Illusions and Jaya and Yuganta, and Mrytyanjaya etc, I felt justified, surprised and confident about writing an adaptation of Karna and Draupadi’s stories.
I’ve lived with Mahabharata all my life. Growing up in Mumbai, surrounded by our myths and legends, immersed in our culture, I’ve always questioned the meaning, the motivations of all the characters. I’ve always looked at the stories from different angles. I grew up listening to these myths and legends from my grandmother and her malishwalibai. And only later, when I was in middle school did I realize they’d told me the unconventional versions—the feminist versions, the versions where the women had a voice, even the center stage! In their versions, the women were equal protagonists and fate-changers as the men. It was only later, after I grew up, did I truly appreciate this unique female-driven point of view, which I hope I’ve managed to weave in through Soul Warrior.
I’m glad you find the concept interesting. Well, from the moment I started writing this story or even before…when I was thinking of using myths as the platform for a story, I was very clear about not wanting to simply retell the myth with a twist or two. The Mahabharata has been retold, revisited so many times, that one more version of it didn’t appeal to me.
One of the questions I repeatedly asked as a child was, “If they are all up there in Devlok right now, what exactly are they doing there?” This series is an attempt to answer that question!
Not at all. It happens almost unconsciously for me. I’m humorous and philosophical in parts on a daily basis. Having said that, I did choose to tell the story in terms of a comic book. I think it would make a great comic book, right?
My contract with OM Books is for a trilogy.
For Indians, mythology is their backyard. They’ve played with these stories, grown up surrounded by them, the gods and the goddesses, the key players of the myths, even the demons have become their invisible friends, maybe even their family members. Mythology is at once fun and entertaining, and a serious life lesson for Indians. It’s simply a part of our lives. This genre is our comfort zone because we recognize it, and identify with it. That’s what’s so appealing about this genre.
I’d say I have a 50/50 readership between US and India. While Indians do connect with this story on a visceral level, my readers in the USA are equally fascinated by it. Karna appeals to everyone. That’s his superpower. Of course, the readers unfamiliar with the Mahabharata or Indian mythology lose out on so many nuances that Indian readers treasure. I usually tell them to think of Karna as the Indian Achilles.
Plenty. Indian readers are super excited that I’ve brought the Gods into the 21st Century. While non-Indian readers have thanked me for introducing them to this whole other mythology that they never knew existed. I’ve had readers Google Karna, Draupadi, the Mahabharata and email me about their findings. It’s amazing how much joy a story can bring into our lives!
Soul Warrior by Falguni Kothari
Publisher: Om Books International (July 2017)
What can a little boy do if his Nani turns into his favourite cartoon character? Deepu is faced with a strange predicament. On a perfectly normal evening, he is fighting for the television remote with his grandmother in a perfectly normal way. Something happens. Then, she turns into a Ninja with Ninja superpowers! What follows is an eventful night filled with adventures. Nani takes her Ninja calling quite seriously. Welcome to Ninja Nani!
Lavanya Karthik introduces the very loveable Ninja Nani in two books, meant to be read one after the other. Ninja Nani & the Bumbling Burglars presents Nani’s fantastic transformation and Ninja Nani and the Zapped Zombie Kids builds on the adventure.
The language in both the books is extremely hilarious. There is an inherent humour in the language (for example, The Schoolbag Of Endless Sorrow as a word to describe his school bag). The situations described are also hilarious (Nani acting like Ninja, soumersauting in celings, backflipping quite efficiently and so on). Both these aspects combine to make for a comical read.
There are many illustrations throughout both the books which add to the fun of reading. In some of the key sections, the books also assume the form of a graphic novel. This is a very novel and interesting aspect.
In the first book Deepu and Nani take on a gang of robbers who are all set to rob a bank. In this book, both Deepu and Nani have just discovered the fact that Nani has Ninja powers. Both are coming to terms with it, and the adventure story forms a part of the entire story.
However, the second book, Ninja Nani and the Zapped Zombie Kids has a very confident Nani take on a huge challenge. She is the Mystery Hero of the town using her great powers quite responsibly for helping the residents of the town. Only Deepu knows her secret, and both of them work in tandem. This time round though, the challenge is bigger and tougher. Mrs.Godbole’s tuition class has something strange going on. Deepu’s friends who are a part of the class are acting like sleep-deprived zombies. Worse, Deepu may just join them! It’s all up to Nani to save the day. A lot more fighting and lots of excitement in store!
While the book is a fun adventure story on the surface, at a deeper level it also shows the beautiful grandson and grandmother relationship in the context of modern times.
Ninja Nani & the Bumbling Burglars
Ninja Nani and the Zapped Zombie Kids
Both books by Lavanya Karthik
Published by Duckbill Books, 2017
As children, all of us have indulged in colouring activities. Well, growing up and colouring books apparently did not go well together for many years, until recently when the market saw a surge in colouring books for adults. Suddenly a whole new world opened up. Adults found the therapeutic benefits of simple colour pencils and intricate drawings. Gods and Goddesses of India by Kanika Gupta adds to this exciting world of colouring books for adults.
Bangalore based illustrator, Kanika Gupta, has explored a very novel idea in the genre of colouring books for adults. This eye-catching therapeutic colouring book – Gods and Goddesses of India, captures the essence of deities worshipped in Hindu mythology.
Kanika Gupta’s expertise in doodling and detailing simply adds on to its beauty. Rest assured, getting your hands on this creative piece won’t just give you an insight into the oldest religion of the world, but the vibrant colours and mesmerizing patterns will help you connect with your divine self!
Detailing is my addiction! I can’t stop once I start drawing, so that’s a style that I have developed. The process was tricky, as it’s a little sensitive to go all imaginative with the Gods. I felt a little restricted at the same time. However, here there are no limitations as well. These Gods have 100 hands, 10 heads and so on, which makes drawing them a fun process! The process was first to shortlist the Gods, as there are so many and each is very interesting. I found shortlisting them the most challenging thing!
Hence, I took to a sequence, with Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. With Vishnu, I made the ‘Dashavtar’. Along with these three Gods were the corresponding Goddesses. I ended with Hanuman as he is said to be immortal, sort of depicting that creativity doesn’t die.
With a couple of references, I drew basic skeleton figures. Once stratified, the inking starts which gets tough to control. I had to tell myself stop the detailing and make it a little simpler for colouring!
I have always seen my mom write “Ram” as part of her meditation practice. This made me think: Why not do a colouring book on this theme? If you can write the Gods name, why can’t you colour his forms?
It’s nice to know a little about what you colouring!
They definitely heal a certain part in you. I run a colouring club on Sunday in a blissful park in Bangalore. people who come to colour there definately feel at ease and relaxed. You are so engrossed in making something beautiful , you are one pointed ..that is mediation
It’s sort of a compliment and a feedback- many have said the book is so pretty that we don’t feel like colouring it and spoiling it! What touched me was that an old client of mine has ordered books for her mother who is 70+ and her friends, and they have been colouring diligently with all the details!
I guess it’s the need. Anything that destresses is popular as in today’s world everyone is so stressed. A lot of people have been focusing on physical health which is good. But now, they do realize its time to give some attention to your mental health as well!
This colouring book for adults is Kanika Gupta’s second colouring book. Well, it’s never too late to experience the healing and creatively motivating effects of colouring.
Gods and Goddesses of India by Kanika Gupta
Published by Bloomsbury
For those of you who are familiar with this very famous form of artistic expression, this is certainly a book you should pick up and read. Those of you, who are also fans of art or artists, should definitely read this soul searching book, which is itself a work of art. B.A. Shapiro has merged the tale of the evolving of Abstract Expressionism, with the tale of Alizée Benoit, whose family is stuck in France due to problem of getting visas to America. They want to flee France, their homeland, because they are Jews, and believe that Hitler will take over France. The family of Alizée Benoit, flees France with a impressive number of other Jewish refugees, most of them innocent children, on the ship SS St. Louis, to Cuba and from there to the USA. However, once the ship reaches the shores of America, they are not allowed to dock, and are literally and metaphorically turned back to Europe, to their death, or as Alfred Lord Tennyson would put it, into the Valley of Death. This happened, because the US President and his Assistant Secretary of State Long, felt that that their applications for visas were not acceptable. They did not wish to take on the responsibility of housing refugees, especially Jewish refugees, for they wanted no part of the war in Europe, they did not trust the refugees, and lastly, they were most concerned that these refugees would take up all the jobs in the US, which rightfully belonged to the American citizens. (Now, where have I heard that before???)
The story, which is gripping and intense, gives us a glimpse of the USA of the late 1930s and early 1940s, as well as the story of Danielle in 2015, who is trying ways and means to find out what happened to her family, the Benoit’s, during World War II, and how Alizée Benoit had a major role to play in Abstract Expressionism of the ‘30s and ’40s. The novel is racy but a tearjerker in parts. The characters are more than real, and the plot is tight with no loop holes.
The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro, speaks to the readers soul, and shows us that at times, we are, or find ourselves, so helpless to save our loved ones, that even something as small as a painting or a mural is used to tell the deaf, mute, and blind world, about pain, grief, and death — meaningless death. Alizée is a very strong character in this novel, and for those readers who love strong female characters in their books, this is the book for you.
I am an Indian, born in the late ‘80s, so I am technically not so familiar with contemporary World War II and American History, and the heroes and villains of this part of history. Nevertheless, B. A. Shapiro’s explanation in the form of a fiction novel is so easy to comprehend, that I began to appreciate many people I came across in this book, especially people like Varian Fry and Eleanor Roosevelt.
You must read this book as soul tonic. Watch out for Shapiro’s depiction of Eleanor Roosevelt, as you are definitely going to love it. It goes without saying, that if you as a reader are interested in a different and unique novel, which is part non-fiction, set in the time of World War II, then this is a book you should read.
For those of you who have been and are being persecuted for your beliefs, beliefs which do not harm anyone, then this book is soul curry for you, to know that you are not alone. The Muralist is evocative and mesmerizing. The book poses a lot of questions to us, questions that are uncomfortable and need to be answered, questions about morals and ethics versus politics and selfishness. One question cut me to the core: Do innocent refugee children, who have come to seek shelter in your country, look like political spies to you? I had to cry, because I am proud of my country, India, who is definitely like a Mother, for she accepts everyone who comes to her for help. There is a saying in India, that you will find a duplicate of everything, except a duplicate of Mother India. We have given shelter over the ages, and over centuries, to Jews, Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, etc., and now they are as much a part of India, as the original Harappan people were. I am proud of my country — Are you?
All these questions can be answered in The Muralist, through its characters, and history and art behind its evolution into a work of perfection. Though I have read a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, about the Holocaust and World War II, this was the only one to bring a lump to my throat, as it dealt with something that is part of the horrible present. Alizée, Henri, Danielle, Babette, and others, come alive to you through the pen of the master literary artist B. A. Shapiro. It questions, it entertains, and it paints — most importantly, it paints.
The Muralist is a must read for everyone, but especially for those writers, artists, poets, journalists, etc., who are being persecuted for expressing their right – their right to freedom of expression. I loved this book. Buy it. NOW!
This story first appeared on www.insaneowl.com
All those of us who love Ruskin Bond know one thing for sure- nature is omnipresent in all his works. His books, short stories, musings and non-fiction features all exude an inherent love for nature. Words From The Hills captures the essence of a lifetime of great writing, and crystallizes it into few interspersed sentences. These appear on the exquisitely illustrated pages of this journal.
What immediately entices the reader are the lyrical watercolour paintings and illustrations by Ahlawat Gunjan that appear throughout this journal. Again centred around the theme of nature, they are mesmerizing to say the least. The falling of leaves from deodar trees, moments of love and loss, beautiful flowers, gentle skies, few isolated objects and shapes, buzzing dragonflies, stained and torn pages of forgotten notebooks…these are just some of the multifarious pictures that you will see in the journal. Amidst these images are simple but deeply meaningful lines and musings from Bond- in true Bond-style! Words From The Hills consists of many blank lined pages for the reader to fill in.
Prolific is a term that describes Ruskin Bond well. He has written over 500 short stories and articles. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014. He just celebrated his 83rd birthday this May and still has something exceptional to offer each time!
Developed around the life, works and philosophy of Ruskin Bond, Words From The Hills is one collector’s piece you cannot miss!
Words From The Hills by Ruskin Bond
Illustrated by Ahlawat Gunjan
Published by Penguin Random House India, 2017.
Oh…the turmoils of a 10-year old! A lot goes on in the minds of children and they have their own set of serious challenges to overcome. Manya Learns to Roar explores this. Manya, a lovable young girl badly wants to be Shere Khan in her school play. The Jungle Book is her favourite film. Moreover, she knows all the lines by heart. The only issue? She stammers.
She may want to act, but not everyone has faith in her ability. Her classmate Rajat openly makes fun of her stammer. Even her English teacher thinks it’s risky to let her get on stage and her principal seems to agree. To make things worse, her stammer worsens due to the anxiety. The book follows Manya’s journey through this very tough and sensitive situation.
The story is quite delightful and is told in simple engaging language. It is easy to read and quite accessible for most kids. Children have their own set of challenges and this book will be highly inspirational thanks to its powerful message. It will not only inspire readers but also sensitize them to the thoughts and feelings of other children who may face a problem or a disability.
The pictorial code language between Manya and her friend Ankita adds an interesting element. The dialogues are also laced with humour which makes the book a very light read.
It is a story that comes straight from the heart. The author, Shruthi Rao, has also grappled with issues related to stammering and the book boldly targets the stereotypes associated with it. The beautiful illustrations by Priya Kuriyan make the reading experience all the more enticing!
Manya Learns to Roar was a winner in the Children First writing competition, organised by Parag, an initiative of Tata Trusts, and Duckbill Books.
Manya Learns to Roar by Shruthi Rao
Illustrated by Priya Kuriyan
Age group: 6 years onward
Published by Duckbill Books
Jane Austen…does she need any introduction? It is a truth universally acknowledged that the genius of Jane Austen stands in a league of its own. The year 2017 marks the 200th year of her death. She died in 1817, when she was but 41.
In order to commemorate her legacy, the Jane Austen’s House Museum, located in Hampshire, in the United Kingdom, has displayed a special exhibit titled “Jane Austen in 41 Objects”. This evolving exhibition tells the story of her life and legacy with reference to 41 different that were an integral part of her life, and continue to be a part of the permanent museum collection.
Bookedforlife highlights some of these objects. Let’s go back to Austen time!
This is an 1813 square piano, similar to one owned by Jane Austen whilst at Chawton. Jane Austen fans know very well that music, especially playing the piano was something that her accomplished heroines did very well. Well, Jane was an ardent piano player herself. 200 years ago, enchanting music from Jane’s piano must have enlivened her house! Jane’s father encouraged this love for music and Jane also received formal instruction in music.
This early 18th century walnut tripod table belonged to Jane Austen. This little table, quite unassuming and simple, is the one where Jane penned down all the timeless works that she is known for. The table is a part of the museum collection. It is placed in the dining parlour at Jane Austen’s House Museum. Undoubtedly, it is one of the highlights of the entire collection. Jane used to place the table by the window to get full benefit of the natural light. She wrote daily. No wonder the table is iconic. Many visitors stand by and ponder, and some of them even cry, as they see this little object. Such is its aura!
The carriage was made locally, probably for Jane’s brother, Edward. It was a convenient and cheap form of transport compared to horses. The carriage was preferable to walking since the roads were often very mucky and dirty.
This imposing and very beautiful piece of furniture was a part of Jane’s life. This George III mahogany bureau bookcase, belonged to Jane’s father, George Austen. He must have worked on this very desk, with his books all kept in the glass fronted display cabinet. The pigeon holes and small niches on the desk would have held his important documents. Jane would have watched him work here as he composed sermons, prepared lessons or wrote letters!
This is a manuscript sheet music book for piano. Music was a key part of her life, but what makes this book special is that the scores have been copied out by Jane Austen herself. She copied music onto manuscript paper with great precision. However, it is her own touch to these scores that indicates that she did not merely copy them, but also imbued something of her own voice in these.
The manuscript book is titled “Juvenile Songs & Lessons”. This is perhaps in the hand of the person who gave her the book. What is interesting though, is that underneath the title, in Austen’s own script, appears the ironic line “for young beginners who don’t know enough to practice.” Now that’s what we call the Austen touch!
No discussion of Jane Austen can end without a mention of Pride and Prejudice. Jane’s novels have been translated into numerous different languages. This book is a handwritten translation of Pride and Prejudice in Danish, made in 1904 by two Danish sisters for their mother who wanted to read the book her daughters loved so much. The beautiful transcription and the wonderful painted illustrations (copied from Charles E. Brock’s illustrated edition of Pride and Prejudice in 1895) make this object a beauty! There is embroidery on the front and back cover as well. In a sense it is heart-warming to see how the love for Austen lead to such breath-taking craftsmanship!
Pictures provided by the
Photo credits: Peter Smith for Clementi Piano, Donkey Carriage, Writing table and George Austen’s bookcase.
Jane Austen’s House Museum for Austen Family Music Book and Danish Translation of Pride and Prejudice.
Shah Jahan and the Ruby Robber by Natasha Sharma is a part of the History Mystery series published by Duckbill. Young Indian readers often see history as a fact-based subject learned in school. They see it as a chronology of events. However, the History Mystery series responsibly juggles storytelling and history.
The book starts off with emperor Shah Jahan waiting to try out his new jewelled throne that has taken seven long years to make. It is a grand throne that displays all the jewels and precious stones that speak of the glory of the Mughal empire. But, wait! The jewel of the throne… that is to say, the star and the pinnacle of the multifarious jewels, the great Timur Ruby is missing! What’s worse, there is a squishy squashy plum in its place!
Moments after the emperor discovers this great mistake there ensues a lot of confusion. A hilarious sequence of events follow. Shah Jahan places his daughter Jahanara in charge of finding out who the thief was. Of course, his brood of seven, including the famed Aurangzeb who is shown as quite the angry young man here, must take up the challenge collectively.
The entire play of events takes place as the plans for the construction of the Taj Mahal are going on. This context itself adds an element of fascination to the story. The simple and surprising twist in the end shows the ingenuity of the author. It proves that if one looks carefully, history has great stories to tell!
There is a lot of subtle humour in the language, which makes it funny to read and is sure to elicit some heartfelt smiles and giggles! Consider the following line:
For before him stood the greatest, the grandest, the most glorious throne in the whole world -his brand new Jewelled Throne. There it stood, awaiting Shah Jahan’s bottom for the very first time.
The genre of historical fiction for children is a relatively undeveloped one when it comes to Indian literature for young readers. However, with Shah Jahan and the Ruby Robber, Natasha Sharma once again merges history and fiction to tell an appealing tale.
Shah Jahan and the Ruby Robber
Author: Natasha Sharma
illustrated by Lavanya Naidu
Published by Duckbill Books and Publications Pvt Ltd.
Salman Rushdie’s latest novel was a much awaited one. The Golden House is about Nero Golden and his three sons who escape a secret past in an unnamed city, later revealed to be ‘Bombay’, and occupy a mansion, the Golden House, in New York. The story follows their lives as they try to come to terms with their past. The initial chapters all build up a kind of suspense as to what exactly have they escaped from, which of course emerges as the story flows.
Are they able to really start afresh or do the ghosts of the past continue to haunt them? How does life play out for them? Central to the story is the narrator, René Unterlinden, a young upcoming filmmaker who finds his muse in the Golden family. He sees in them and their mysterious lives, ‘scoop’ for a story. However, he is quite deftly drawn into the very tale he narrates and he becomes an inseparable part of it. The narrator who starts off as a passive observer, thus grows to be a key character himself.
Rene is a filmmaker in the novel and Rushdie cleverly uses this fact to experiment with storytelling. There are sections that break into screenplay format. The uncensored honesty and hints of irreverence add to the pleasure of reading.
When it comes to Rushdie’s fiction we can’t always separate the personal and the political. The political material is there, though played out in a sense as the background. His characters are not isolated individuals whose lives play out independently of what is happening in the world. In fact, their lives are intricately connected to the social and political realities of the time.
The Golden House starts with the election of Barack Obama. It ends eight years later on the eve of an election in which the lead contender refers to himself as “the Joker”. The issues of “identity” that find expression in today’s times also find a central place in the key characters. Identity issues is one of the big themes of this novel. It thus touches upon modern existential crisis.
Though India, and more specifically Mumbai is central to the novel, it is New York which is at the core. In that sense, one could say that The Golden House is the grand New York novel of our times!
Published by Penguin Random House India, 2017
Orhan Pamuk’s latest novel comes with a beautiful cover depicting a braided bun of a woman with vibrant red hair. The fact that the woman’s face is unseen adds to the mystery the title evokes. In spite of the mysterious ‘red-haired woman’ in the novel, this is by far the simplest narrative by Pamuk. The novel spans across 334 pages of linear narration and makes for an engaging weekend read.
The setting of The Red-Haired Woman is in Istanbul and it’s neighbouring town Oregon. The characters are middle-class Turks with no particularly distinguishing characteristics. However, it is the premise of the narration that sets forth a chain of actions and reactions, and therein lies the entire drama.
To be honest, I was a bit flummoxed by the quotes from Oedipus Rex at the opening. These quotes, as the title and the cover image were shrouded in mystery. As the story unfolded, the strained relationship between the hero/narrator Cem and his father came to fore. The father is involved in leftist politics and is often arrested. It is also quite clear that he is seeing other women. Naturally my mind stressed on making the necessary connections with Oedipus. But there was no possibility of physical combat between father and son or even a hint of incest between mother and son. So, I waited patiently and read on.
Enter the ‘red-haired woman’ accompanied by the most fantastic premise for a story that I have come across in recent times. Cem gets a ‘summer job’ to apprentice with a well-digger. He aims to save money for his college studies as by this time his father had abandoned him and his mother. Master Mahmut is a veteran well-digger who is much sought after for his skills at digging deep wells and predicting the presence of underground water.
A wealthy man in Oregon officiates him with the task of digging a well on his land to enable him to set up a factory. Once the story moves on from Istanbul and takes Cem to Oregon, it can be divided into three sections – Cem’s experiences during the well-digging work, his life after it and the narrative of the red-haired woman.
Cem’s relationship with Master Mahmut takes on the form of a father-son relationship. Master Mahmut regards Cem as a young man with potential and tries to pass on his knowledge to him – through his work he teaches him about well-digging and through his stories he teaches him about life. Cem goes through a gamut of emotions regarding Master Mahmut. From reverence to anger, from subservience to jealousy and from treating him like a master/father to punishing him for wielding authority over him. The high point of this section of the novel comes when Master Mahmut is inside the 20-metre well, digging deeper and deeper, when an accident befalls him. Cem, the only person to help him then, runs off on a whim, leaving his master to a terrible fate.
Even without this horrible accident and Cem’s subsequent behaviour, it is obvious that he is not a good man. When he chances upon the red-haired woman near the theatre he becomes immediately infatuated and puts his work, his phone calls to his mother and even his safety at a second footing. In spite of knowing that she is married, he continues to woo her. He also has no qualms about sleeping with her. He watches her performance although his master had explicitly forbidden him to do so.
The red-haired woman herself is a complicated character. Although we know her name, she is referred to as the red-haired woman throughout the novel, underscoring the connotations attached to the word red. She knows who Cem is, who his father is, who Master Mahmut is and yet decides to get entangled with the teenager. As soon as Cem deserts his master, we see his infatuation for the red-haired woman lessening. In his memories she is no longer as beautiful or as charming as she had seemed at first sight. Both characters are flawed much like the pieces of jigsaw puzzle – they are flawed yet they fit.
My image of the red-haired woman came crashing down towards the end of the book, when she takes over the narrative and explains how she has dyed her hair with a special henna recipe. Everything about her appears contrived.
In the second section, Cem finishes college, marries a decent girl and has a flourishing business. They don’t have any children and Cem is reconciled with his father, too. Both husband and wife take an unnatural interest in the mythological lores of Oedipus and Sohrab and Rustom. The first one is about a son killing the father, while the second one is about the father killing the son. These intertwined tales, one from the East and one from the West, are intricately woven into the fabric of the novel. The focus is so much on father-son duos that the mothers are sadly sidelined.
The Red-Haired Woman keeps you engrossed with its mythological references. Orhan Pamuk’s prose is as elegant as ever and the translator, Ekin Oklap, has managed to bring the elegance forth.
The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk
Published by Penguin
Other Books by Orhan Pamuk: http://amzn.to/2xd67Y1