Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Novel: The Pilgrimage
Author: Paulo Coelho
"An essential voyage towards God"
This book is pure truth. The reality of human condition and the God question is perfectly illustrated here. These are examples, explanations and exercises for all my personal troubles. May none suffer from such trials.
This book is a deeply moving account of Paulo's journey. Its chapters move through at a pace that reflects his passage through the Strange Road To SanTiago. The words and exercises are all relevant to the reader's experience - an experience of the Road To SanTiago via Paulo's lively notes.
So we as readers also travel the Road and learn and live the journey. There are innumerable lessons in each chapter of this book. Lessons learnt through Paulo and his guide Petrus interactions, actions and reflections. Each chapter in this book has a purpose and each exercise shared generously by Paulo has a direction - in all taking us through the Strange Road via Paulo's words.
So live the experience and take this pilgrimage, accept the magic and the miracles, and have faith in what you would question elsewhere - this Road is not traversed on blind belief but requires faith from the faithful.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Novel: The Matarese Countdown
Author: Robert Ludlum
"THE VERBOSE COUNTDOWN"
I want to like Ludlum's works. I really wish to be knocked to hell and back through his global crises writings. After all, I have watched Jason Bourne movies only a few dozen times (starring the brilliant Matt Damon in the title role). Yet this novel was disappointing.
It starts off well enough, with the prologue and initial chapters creating intrigue. Then on the "drama" takes over the "suspense thriller". There are some wonderful chapters or rather the majority paragraphs in them. Yet one cannot stop thinking that there is too much written with too little being said. The verbosity is visible and causes sadness. The 566 page novel, in my mind, should have been complete in 350 pages at the max.
The plot is almost good. It is/ was timely. It is true enough that nations, groups, conglomerates and other vested interest individuals try to manipulate the economy.
The plot is what kept me interested to see the reading till the end.
Europe does have big money, especially the novel's "Amsterdam". The Netherlands is indeed a rich nation with small populace controlling a lot. Add to that the organizations such as G8, G6, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc and the commonly seen manic ups and downs in industries/ sectors of the economy - it makes for a great plot in "The Matarese Countdown".
I am being generous here saying I liked the novel but with an eye of an editor could note some poor writing, often childish or unfitting in a bestseller. Example: The words of pilot Luther at times silly (chapter 35). Then description of banker Wahlburg too racist and stereotypical (chapter 31). The banter between Pryce, Scofield, Shields and Waters at many moments too childish to be believable in a novel about international espionage, in a fight against something as mighty as "The Matarese".
I haven't read the other Matarese novel - "The Matarese Circle" as yet but intend to some time soon. If it precedes this novel, then doesn't matter, "The Matarese Countdown" was complete by itself and not requiring the input of the other novel.
Readable. Not necessarily though.