Amba : The Question of Red

Some books are meant to be read.

Some books are meant to be in the wishlist.

Some books are meant to be read and added to everyone’s wishlist too!

Amba by Laksmi Pamuntjak  comes in the third category. Yes, for those who have read it know the virtue of a good book that infuses so many things seamlessly into one.

 

Languishing in my TBR list, finally I picked this book and started reading. In all honesty, I was skeptical. Not in Laksmi’s skills as an author but I was wondering how this book could be any different from the mythology or mythofiction books that are doing the rounds these days. Reading it could only answer my doubts and I am glad I did read it!

After a long time (about 2 months) I read a book that was thoroughly absorbing and filling both the sides of my brain. The political conflicts in Indonesia, the meeting with Bhishma, her engagement with Salwa, the coincidences of names/persons, the undercurrents of mythology and Amba’s own shaping up as a woman – All make this book a beautiful amalgamation of politics, history, geography, culture & mythology and women studies.

Laksmi has filled up the gaps in mythology which is very interesting. In Mahabharata, no one knows about Amba’s childhood or how she became the woman she became after Bhishma took her away. This book fills all the gaps without much reference to the mythological story and still you have that itch to know whether really Amba was like that. Isn’t that a great way to get the reader engaged?

Its a beautiful novel and I highly recommend it! Read the summary below. You can buy it from Speaking Tiger online.

 


Summary:

Myth, culture and politics weave together in a beguiling tale of profound love.

Named after a tragic figure in Indonesia’s and India’s shared mythology, Amba spends her lifetime trying to invent a story she can call her own. When she meets two suitors who fit perfectly into her namesake’s myth, Amba cannot help but feel that fate is teasing her. Salwa, respectful to a fault, pledges to honour and protect her, no matter what. Bhisma, a sophisticated European-trained doctor, offers her sensual pleasures and a world of ideas.

In this devastating novel of love and redemption, empathy and forgiveness, Amba, Bhisma and Salwa attempt to undo the ancient legend of the Mahabharata—that timeless allegory of war within a family—with tragic consequences, as the story moves from rural Java to Europe and to the prison camps of Buru Island, where approximately 12,000 alleged communists were incarcerated without trial during the Suharto dictatorship. Through its memorable cast of characters—each of them a metaphor for the vast diversity that is Indonesia—the novel asks us not to see history in terms of ‘black’ and ‘white’, ‘good’ and ‘evil’, but highlights, instead, the grey zones of human existence and the human spirit. It also shows us ways in which men and women often attain their highest humanity at the point of destruction.


THE REVIEWER:

Kavita Singh is the Founder of Kaffeinated Konversations.

Being passionate about reading, writing, arts and culture, she has founded “Kaffeinated Konversations” – a registered community that supports like minded people, provides a platform to them for intellectual sharing and stimulation and also encourages them to bring out their skills. Kaffeinated Konversations Book Box is a brand product of the venture. She trains writers/bloggers too through workshops and training events.  She is a highly sought after book reviewer.

Being a voracious reader and book addict; her handbag; apart from containing innumerable nick-knacks that every woman carries, it always has a pen and diary as a constant companion for jotting down her thoughts on the go.

You can connect to her on kaffeinatedkonversations@gmail.com

 

Different Beads of the Same String

Having read too many anthologies and many short stories, I didn’t know what to expect from this book when I was asked to review it. Once thing was sure… I didn’t want the same romance fare. And Sujay Malik did keep his word by stringing together a lovely collection of stories in the book “Different Beads of the Same String” (Published by Notion Press)

 

There are 10 stories in this book. Each story is beautifully held up and has its own narrative style. With the different kinds of situations and people brought to life in each of the stories, the most eclectic part of this book is that the stories cut across all age levels too.

I totally loved the completely unexpected way that the story has evolved in “Feelijus”. “The Boy who uttered ‘that’ word” was a simple story but again very differently put up showing an academic life that we all have faced and yet never given much thought too.

As is my method, I won’t reveal much but I greatly recommend this book for a good read. Hope to sample more stories like this, Sujay!

You can buy it from Amazon 


THE REVIEWER:

Kavita Singh is the Founder of Kaffeinated Konversations.

Being passionate about reading, writing, arts and culture, she has founded “Kaffeinated Konversations” – a registered community that supports like minded people, provides a platform to them for intellectual sharing and stimulation and also encourages them to bring out their skills. Kaffeinated Konversations Book Box is a brand product of the venture. She trains writers/bloggers too through workshops and training events.  She is a highly sought after book reviewer.

Being a voracious reader and book addict; her handbag; apart from containing innumerable nick-knacks that every woman carries, it always has a pen and diary as a constant companion for jotting down her thoughts on the go.

You can connect to her on kaffeinatedkonversations@gmail.com

 

The Conspiracy at Meru

There are some books you want to read slowly, what’s frustrating is that my speed of reading goes against the nature of slow read and I ended up being miserable in the case of this book. The misery was not because I didn’t have anything to read but because when you know that the 3rd book of the series is yet to be released, you are deliberately trying to be slow.

Why I recommend this book?

  1. The Vikramaditya Veergatha triology (Book 2) “The Conspiracy at Meru”  by Shatrujeet Nath has intrigued me with its amazingly vivid prose that excites imagination and makes you feel in the middle of the happenings. Yes, it is a beautifully engaging book.
  2. The vividly striking imagery certainly remains in mind long after you finish reading.
  3. This is one of the best mythofiction book by Indian author
  4. Geography meets history in a great storytelling style.
  5. The heaven, the hell and the human king in between – its a tightly packed story that doesn’t slack anywhere.
  6. This is the second book and personally I can’t wait for the 3rd one. Shatrujeet will have to really come out with it as soon as possible to quench my thirst to complete the story.

All in all, an amazing book if you love to read mythofiction. And in case if you seem to think what is the difference between mythology and mythofiction, do read this Guest article by Varun Prabhu.

Where you can get the book?
Buy the book from Amazon and get immersed in this awesome book.


THE REVIEWER:

Kavita Singh is the Founder of Kaffeinated Konversations.

Being passionate about reading, writing, arts and culture, she has founded “Kaffeinated Konversations” – a registered community that supports like minded people, provides a platform to them for intellectual sharing and stimulation and also encourages them to bring out their skills. Kaffeinated Konversations Book Box is a brand product of the venture. She trains writers/bloggers too through workshops and training events.  She is a highly sought after book reviewer.

Being a voracious reader and book addict; her handbag; apart from containing innumerable nick-knacks that every woman carries, it always has a pen and diary as a constant companion for jotting down her thoughts on the go.

You can connect to her on kaffeinatedkonversations@gmail.com