Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “Gone Girl”

by Gillian Flynn.

Narrated alternately by Nick and Amy - either by means of relating present accounts, or by means of recounting the past - this is the story of a married couple and the mysterious disappearance of one of them.

Let me sum up my thoughts on this book in 4 short sentences:

1. Amy Elliott Dunne is one of the most irritating characters of all time. Reading those diary entries was sheer torture, and after a point I was skimming through most of it.

2. There is no payoff to this unnecessarily long book; things happen, and then they stop happening.

3. This does not fall in the crime / mystery genre - it is a psychological study of two people; and while neither of them is typical of the sex they represent, neither is unique or interesting enough to warrant such a detailed study.

4. There are stories which are based on a great idea but are expressed poorly. There are stories with generic ideas at the core, but are narrated so beautifully that one feels compelled to keep reading anyway. And then there are books which are simple both in content and execution. This was one of them.

There's not really much else I can add to this review. I didn't abandon it, so I suppose there was some level of interest that the author kept alive, to see me through to the end. Perhaps if someone could have edited out about 200 or so pages - preferably from the first half, it might have made for an interesting read.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “The Cuckoo’s Calling”

by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling).

The first novel in the Cormoran Strike series of detective novels, this investigation of a model's death takes us to the flashy world of multimillionaire movie producers, socialites and rock-stars.

In following up on the suicide of famous supermodel Lula Landry, we are introduced to an extremely wide range of characters from a homeless woman to a famous rapper to an eccentric designer. And for me, this was the highlight of the narrative. First we get a description of the clothes. Then come the mannerisms. Then they start speaking ... and slowly the characters come to life. The driver. The security guard. The make up girl. The store assistant. The poor birth mother. The rich adoptive mother. The actor. The model. I really felt like I was watching these characters move and speak.

I also really liked Cormoran Strike and his "temporary" secretary Robin - both individually, as well as their relationship. Robin's fast-paced, clever means of follow up formed such a perfect foil to Strike's slow but tenacious unearthing of clues.

The plot itself was generic. Very early on, I had correctly predicted who the perpetrator was, and I attribute that to a very standard mystery.

Still, it was an enjoyable read. Despite the simple plot not once did I feel the reading to be a drag.