Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nutshell- an explosive book

It's a small book, but so very tightly and explosively packed with 'reading delight', that you need to read paying a lot of attention to fine details in order  to savor all that this book has to offer. The delicacies in the book lie hidden in clues amidst a maze of a seemingly 'cliched' story line. One needs pay attention to unravel these sweet rollings. 

i have tried to list out the delicacies in the read i could unravel.

The author has made this book different  by letting a fetus narrate the story to us. If one is bothered by this and can't appreciate or accept the fetus as the narrator, he cannot enjoy this book. for this book is not so much about a strong plot or a tight story line but about the novelty in the narration. There lies the succor of this book.

While we have the baby in the womb as the narrator we get some very insightful observations from some vantage points. as if that were not enough, the author spruces the narrative by dropping some very pithy but profound statements. These are such a joy to reflect and relish.

the author also shows a natural inclination for dramatizing the narration and bringing out some fine imagery in the descriptions. The author also astonishes us with his fine taste for things like wine, music, poetry and lectures.

i have put my observations of the novel under these different heads..

The foetus as the narrator:

Look at these observations and thoughts of the Foetus, they are bound to bowl one over.

The child declares his sincere intentions to see his parents come together, ' it's in me alone that my parents forever mingle, sweetly, sourly, along separate sugar- phosphate backbones, the the recipe of my essential self.... like every child of estranged parents, i long to remarry them, this base pair, and so unite my circumstances to my genome'. This deep, witty and profound statement captures best the style of narration in the book.

The child has this to say about why he feels involved, 'I am an organ in her body, not separate from her thoughts. I m party to what she is about to do' (pg 42)

The child is projected as someone toying with that thoughts before him, once as a philatelist and elsewhere as a DJ. (pg 43)

The Child finds himself inescapably locked into his mother's wicked plans and rues, ' monstrous injustice, to have such pain before my life's begun.'

there are worldly wise observations like, ' there are not many options that follows an afternoon of drinking. only two in fact: remorse, or more drinking and then remorse'

there are times when the foetus can shock you by making sexist observations like, ' she is a swollen gorgeous fruit, a prize he can't bear to lose' 

At times the narration is touchy as,- ' well', my father says, meaning more than he can know, ' i ll be going'

There are times when the child really extrapolates his conceptions and surprises you with his fine observations like, ' Her use of tense is correct but offensive ...Trudy will mind more than i do.( referring to his deceased father being talked about in past tense) pg 149.

The narration also serves in a way of stitching together things said at different instances..

for instance, when you suddenly read ' We are now in New Zealand' you need to go back to the previous para to understand that this a reference to the drink from NZ they just had. 

And when much later he talks about 'the country of third choice' you need to go back a few chapters to decipher that the refrence is to France.

And when on pg 145 he says, '  Biology is not destiny afterall'...

The novel is strewn with pithy and profound statements, that stand on their own and worthy of deep reflection..

' Household duties might confer household rights' pg 17

' The body cannot lie, but the mind is another country' pg 41

' Adversity forced awareness on us' pg 46

drawing from Hobbes, ' The state must have a monopoly of violence, a common power to keep us all in awe.' pg 54

' Words.... can make things true' pg 59

' Mother and child- a great religion has spun its best stories around this potent symbol.' pg 132

' Whats an imagination for but to play out and linger on and repeat the bloody possiblities?' 135

' Revenge unstitches a civilisation' pg 135

and talking of composing poetry, ' if it doesn't come at once, it shouldn't come' pg 151

The author displays some fine taste for music etc in the course of the narration-

/ to be contd/