Three Short Reviews: Ghachar Ghochar, The Arrival and The Regional Office is Under Attack
My goodness it seems that it has been a little while since I have written a review on my blog. I have a number of books that I want to tell you all about, but I have been not been really liking what I have been writing. Have you ever been there? So I thought I would try to break that slump with this post. Here are three books - 2 hits and 1 miss - that I thought I would clue you in one.
Ghachar Ghochar is a short little book that packs a very big punch. Written by Vivek Shanbhag, and translated from the Kannada, the novel tells the story of a poor family that changes their fortunes when the start a spice trading business after their patriarch looses his job. Quickly they go from everyone living in a two room shack to a mansion. From poor to rich.
The novel is narrated by the son as he outlines not only the changes to himself, but how is mother, father and sister all react to this new found wealth. The company is really started by the uncle : who we quickly learn will do anything to grow and expand the family wealth. The scenes with the father are especially powerful, as he sees how money has changed his family and does not always feel it is for the better. The son marries a woman who holds her own opinions about the family and her opinions point out the hypocrisy in the family dynamic.
The novel itself has the feeling of a parable regarding the traps that money can set for people, and the choices that need to be made every day to not allow money to suck away a person's humanity. This is a fantastic translation - and the writing is just beautiful. I really enjoyed this and highly recommend this quick read.
The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a hard book to talk about. To call it a graphic novel takes away the power it possesses as just plain art. But to say it does not have a very set story, also takes away its power to teach lessons. This book has no words, and is a story told only in pictures. At the start of the book, a father is leaving his family to go to a new land and start a new life for them all. When he arrives he struggles to find work and also communicate with home. There are elements of fantasy to this world, that powerfully depict how strange a new land can be for someone who has never been there.
This book is an immersive experience. Each square shows you in detail an aspect of the journey that the father goes through in making his new life and the struggles that come with it. The art work is brilliant. So do yourself a favor, get this book and sit in a chair and slowly go through the entire story. I promise you will not be disappointed.
I had such high hopes for this novel. The premise sounded amazing: a group of super powered woman save the world and their headquarters is under attack. However, the premise is truly on the back of the book only, and the story did not deliver for me.
The book is broken down into two sections - the story of Rose a trained assassin and part of the group breaking in and the story of Sarah a woman with a mechanical arm that is dedicated to the company for which she works. Told both in present time and flashbacks, the book shows how each woman has arrived at the point where the office is under attach and how the got to their part in the situation. There are also flashes to Henry, a man who has a role in each of their lives and also the attack itself.
I wanted this book to be a fun super hero romp that just absorbed me in the story. But I found it to be a bit too melodramatic and the attempts to pull on my heart strings too heavy handed. There were times that I totally forgot that there were super people in the book at all - and really they were used just to point out how everyone has flaws. The messaging just came off to be too on the nose. So, this one was a miss for me. Have you read it? What did you think?
So, those are three quick reviews and I hope you liked them. I hope to get a few full length reviews up soon. Until then - Happy Reading.