Book Review, Graphic Novel

Kari written and illustrated by Amruta Patil

kari This is the first Indian graphic novel that I have read (albeit written and illustrated by Amruta Patil who is an NRI). I simply loved it. The storyline and the rough hewn sketches come together to create a visual mood that a simply worded book would find difficult to evoke. Being a novice in the world of graphic novels, one aspect of the genre that I have realized is that, in the hands of a gifted illustrator with imagination, the story told can be immensely compelling. The pictures are like poetry that can speak more than a thousand words – in fact can speak where language fails.

The novel is dark, ironic and poignant in turn. There is an undercurrent of gallows humour in it which prevents the book from becoming foreboding. The setting is Mumbai and contains all the elements that people have loved and hated about it (often the hate and love is about the same thing). The story is about Kari, who works in an advertising agency and lives in a two room flat with two other girls (though it is usually populated permanently with her roommate’s boyfriends). From the dank sewers, sweaty trains and a city that needs to be constantly on the move, Kari’s story is told.

She is a rebel without being one, dispassionate observer and passionate lover in turns, never fitting and knowing that perhaps she never will, drawn to individuals that are abandoned by others. All along is her dark, ironic humour and observations of the life around her and her unflinching honesty to herself about herself. All of this makes up a jpg_extrait_kari-9c536 story which is very urban-contemporary and which contains within itself a multitude of threads; each of us will find atleast one thread that we recognize intimately as our own.

This is a love story, a story of everyone who fits in without really fitting in, a story of death and of ghosts, a story of life in its starkest practicality. I found it a story that gives echo to hidden parts in us, parts that we, like Kari can only explore alone and write our own inarticulate poetry about

 

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Book Review, Classics, Graphic Novel, Non-Fiction

(Book) The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

the_little_prince_011 Ok, this is one my eternal favourites. I read this again after atleast five years. This book, like Animal Farm, can be finished in less than forty minutes, but the effect that this has on you is so profound that its essence stays with you for a long long time.

The best books, I have always believed, are the ones whose certain phrases and words come to you at the right moment; when you are feeling something similar and these words come rushing back to you. That’s when you realize that the book has really been internalized.

This for me is a prime example of this. The parable of the rose in the story is one of the most moving pieces of literature that I have read. That such a seemingly complicated part of life can be explained by such a simple passage, is truly a wonder.

The book is a fairy tale parable that can be read as easily as when you are 10 years old as when you are 70. Its just that at different times in your life, you would be able to mine different meanings of the same 50 odd pages.

The little price coming down to earth after many small adventures on different planets and finally ending his journey by the side of the author who at the start of the story was pressed with more ‘urgent’ matters. In a way, the little prince is a manifestation of the lost childhood of the author himself who ‘grew up’ after he faced the cynicism and the blandness of the adults who saw a hat instead of an elephant inside a boa. This then is as much a fairy tale as much as an internal journey of self discovery – a journey that we should all undertake if we are to save ourselves lest we become completely adult.

To tell more of the book is taking away the magic. If you are reading this and haven’t read the book, please do. They may be the most important 50 pages of your life….

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