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Two characters particularly stand out and I kept thinking about them throughout my reading of the book: Amy, Ella, and especially, Darky Gardiner (author’s father) in terms of their emotional quotient to the entire heart-touching story. Darky Gardiner’s death in the jungle was impossible to believe and difficult to accept! The circumstances under which he dies shocked me. For the doctor, acim, returning to Amy was a foregone conclusion, and Ella, goodness poor Ella!

The book reads like a long sonnet. The narrative is magnificent. It won the 2014 Booker. Very well-deserved though. But I have a hinge: “The Lives of Others” by Neel Mukherjee could have been the one to win the Booker Prize. Is it cheeky of me to suggest that? Nope. However, I do sympathize with the heartfelt story of the book “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” winning the Booker.

Neel Mukherjee’s “The Lives of Others”:

I mean… sure… “The Narrow Road… ” was a difficult book which took many years to write, yet I felt “The Lives of Others” was far better and more complex to constituting a literary epic like that, and is an intricate piece of narrative (it reads like a dream) than the one which was adjudged the winner. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both the books and that’s why I could shape my own safe supposition. Read these two special books to know what shining gems they are. They are truly marvelous works of contemporary English literature.

“Lisey’s Story” by Stephen King:

I’ve recently wrapped up reading “Lisey’s Story” and I had a great experience. A tomb of over 550 pages that I’d labored through was definitely worth my time! I figured it would be a horror story that Mr. Stephen King is so famous for, but no, in a way it isn’t. Rather, it’s more of a psychological thriller that seems to haunt you till the end.

For me, the supposed ‘action’ (minimalist though) starts at the 248th page (I noted it down) and from that point on it is unstoppable. Prior to that, however, it was a little tedious, I’m afraid, to wade through the first half of the novel. The first half of the story lacked action that I was anticipating but that’s okay, it didn’t always have to be like that; in fact, the book is about finding the epic subtle elements in unremarkable things in Lisey’s and her husband’s life and her sisters’, that also includes Mr. King’s staple: black humor. Epic is the word for it. I’d persevered and was rewarded with the brilliant second half with a fair bit of ‘action’ I was so craving for. It’s been like goodbye to sleep when I was reading the better half of the novel. Over and above this I’ve just mentioned, I think I can tell you adoring the story was no problem, especially the kind of harrowing childhood experiences Scott or Scoot had really moved me. Writing is great, lucid and typical King style.

“The Ice Twins” by S.K. Tremayne”

“The Ice Twins” by S.K. Tremayne is a super spine chiller: an emotional psychological thrill ride for sure. It is so well-written that I read the book quite obsessively.

Set on a tiny Scottish island, the story is about mistaken twin identities (of two identical twin sisters). One dies, another survives. I loved the depiction of a family broken apart by pain and grief on losing one of their loved ones. I give four big stars for the author’s storytelling virtuoso.

“Hungry as the Sea” by Wilbur Smith:

Just got done reading Wilbur Smith’s 1978 novel “Hungry as the Sea”. What is most special about Mr. Smith is that he is not just a great but a super extraordinary storyteller.

If you want to read a book that is replete with adventure, history, intrigue, revenge, and romance then you ought to read Wilbur Smith books. He is one of my favorite authors. Apart from the riveting descriptions of storms, high seas, and search and rescue of ocean-going salvage tugs, Mr. Smith is exemplary in his writing about ships during storms; in fact, that’s the best part of the book. Of course, Africa is still his specialty and always will be but “Hungry as the Sea” is a good stand-alone adventure-thriller. I strongly recommend this book. A must read.

“Warlock” by Wilbur Smith:

I have been reading “Warlock” since last month and have just finished reading it. Of late, I’ve been ravenously reading books and Wilbur Smith was high up on my reading list. Arguably, he is one of the greatest adventure writers of our time and it gladdens my heart to know that he is still at the height of his powers and means business. Reading this title was special for me.

The days when I used to travel by trains a lot, I would see this book placed on the show racks of AH Wheelers at the railway stations across the East Coast corridor of our country. On several occasions, I’d wanted to buy it but couldn’t. So I thought enough is enough. I bought it the other day and started reading it and boy! I was utterly flummoxed by the epic treatise. “Warlock” is a tome of over 500 pages depicting great African adventure – from the bygone era of Egyptian Pharaohs and adept Princesses.

This is one genuinely adorable book that you’ll love reading it in copious chunks. I have a hardback copy. Reading it was akin to an achievement of a personal milestone – a truly special feeling now that I’ve accomplished reading one of his, dare I say most critical works yet?

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