Thursday, September 30, 2010

Family Matters!

Its been about 3 months since my last post. A post where I promised to myself that I would write at least once a month. I could make a dozen excuses enumerating how strange and different the time has been but I have no patience with specious reasons especially my own.
Instead I will simply write the post. A prosaic (though not poetic) solution.
So I have enough time to do some reading these days catching up on books both good and bad. People often find my reading habits strange. I remember a senior in school being non-plussed to see my name in both Isaac Asimov as well as Agatha Christie books in the library (written on the borrowing cards, not the pages of the books!) after having caught me with a Mills & Boon as well as pontificating on Ayn Rand. Anyway, my guilty pleasure these days is Regency romances (long enough to last, happy endings to suit romantic me) but after amassing many of these, I decided to pick another book of a different sort.
Enter Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. A tale of a Parsi family and the illness of the patriarch, the book looks heavy (the hardback didn't help) but makes for easy reading. On of the themes (Parsi - non-Parsi romance) intrigued me while the who-will-take-care-of-the-ill-father struck a chord. However, Mistry's prose is light and doesn't dwell on the sadness of the story (though the description of the partiarch's affliction of Parkinson moved me). Even the subtle Shiv Sena-RSS sub-plot is well handled but doesn't overwhelm the reader, instead leaving silent questions for us. I especially enjoyed the deft descriptions of the Parsi religion and a provoking thought at how willingly we ignore religions unfamiliar to us. But in the end, what really works for the book is the engaging story and the way it draws us into the quiet life of a Parsi family in Mumbai (not Bombay). And in the end isn't that what a good book (whatever the genre) is supposed to be - A Jolly Good Read?

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