March 18, 2018

Book: The Slow Regard For Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:16 pm

imageI have an extremely high regard for Patrick Rothfuss. The only two books so far published in the King Killer Chronicles, The Name of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear are excellent, and so I could not wait to get my hands on this book. Like The Hedge Night of the other master fantasy storyteller George RR Martin, I expected a treat in Kvothe’s world that is not part of the main story but nevertheless as entertaining.


This book could not have been more different.



Tells the story of Auri but is a very small book, almost a short story. Auri is just tromping about in the tunnels. She gets some gear, and then moves around various rooms, rearranging things. Pretty little story, really and a complete waste of time reading this.


She arranges each room and explores new rooms. She goes endlessly arranging stuff. There is atmosphere but no story to support it and it gets very boring even to finish this tiny book.


She endlessly wanders around, the only link to the great Kingkiller Chronicles is the fact that she waits for Kvothe to arrive.


The endless wanderings, worrying about what is exactly right and what is not, worrying about what fits where, endlessly washing herself, and running around in the tunnels – all of these fit Auri’s character perfectly well but I do not understand what the point of the whole story is. It does not go anywhere, or do anything. It is like the diary of Auri, ending as arbitrarily as it began – oh, I know that she completes what she set out to do and there is a kind of ending to it, but I fail to see the whole point of investing time to read this book.


Give it a miss. You will not miss anything, and it certainly is not like the original series.


1/ 10


– – Krishna


Book: Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:04 pm

imageBilly, the narrator, seems to have a dysfunctional family and a cavalier attitude to life. It reminds you of the feckless hero in the Clockwork Orange, but without the violence; or, come to think of it, without even a story behind it.


He does all kinds of things that are not good but definitely not amusing. Which is a surprise because this one is supposed to be a comedy. He destroys calendars given to post to steal the stamp money, he hides letters where not even money is involved out of sheer spite. He disdains work and wants to be a scriptwriter and run away to London. He is insolent to everyone around him.


He goes to work and indulges in stupid puns. He dates two women at the same time, both uninspiring. One of them, whom he calls a Witch, he tries to seduce by adding ‘love pill’ powder in chocolate and is disappointed when she resists his pawing. He has borrowed back the engagement ring he had given her ‘for repair’ and has given it to the other.


He goes on compulsively lying and behaving irresponsibly, indulging in “No 1 thinking” where he is the Lord of All He Sees in a fictional world called Ambrosia and behaving obnoxiously. Even when his grandmother is in the hospital dying, he does not seem to care one way or another.


It all seems so pointless and he seems to go around getting into stupid mistakes because of reckless or self-centred behaviour and does not even seem to realize it.


If the author wanted to create such a character to tell a story, well, we could understand but if the entire story seems to be a description of this character, where do you go from there? And why is it funny when a guy behaves with utter disregard for everyone else? If the author is thinking of characters like Dennis the Menace or the delightful William series, or Tom Sawyer, he seems to have missed the mark by a mile.


It is a small book, but could have been made smaller by not writing it at all, without any loss of significance.  Give this one a wide berth.


1/ 10


– – Krishna

Movie : Ferdinand (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 6:57 pm

imageWell, the animation is superb and the characterization, in parts, is not bad at all. It has all the (now formulaec) elements that tug your heart.  A giant but gentle bull that eschews the family tradition for which his father and ancestors lived and wants to find a ‘better way’. The evil bull that is both jealous of the strength of the central character (yes, it is a bull; yes, it is Ferdinand) and contemptuous of the pusillanimity of the beast.


It has cuteness in the form of a girl who loves Ferdinand and sees into his soul and not just the frighteningly big physical form. It has a crazy goat called Lupe that is so endearing (adorable voice work by Kate McKinnon) that helps him. It has features where he wins over previously antagonistic fellow bulls one by one.


Still, it does not rise to the level of Frozen or other great movies. There is something that is missing in the total package. At least for me. Don’t get me wrong; this is definitely a good movie to watch but is it a great movie to remember for a long time? There I have my doubts.


This is based on a series of children’s books. Ferdinand, as a young calves are just dying to see which is the next bull that would be lucky enough to be picked to fight a matador. When Ferdinand’s dad is chosen, he is thrilled and waits for him to come back victorious but the dad never comes back. Ferdinand cannot fathom why.


Now, he also has a gentle heart, trying to protect a young sapling on the grounds from the other boisterous bulls and is bullied by other calves, primarily Valiente, a ‘bull’y and his sidekicks Gaupo and Bones.


Finally, when he gets the chance, he runs away and finds a lovely family – consisting of a florist called Juan and his daughter Nina and their dog Paco – who bring him up as their own.


Ferdinand goes to the flower festival every year with them and loves it but when he grows big, Nina tells him he cannot come with them because he is too big. He disobeys and sneaks in by himself, only to be caught and sent back to his original ranch.


The rest of the story describes how he copes there, how he himself gets picked by the ranch to fight the most famous matador of all times and how it all ends nicely.


You get to meet other characters along the way : the three hedgehogs (who try to teach Ferdinand how to ‘stealthily’ go across the ranch in a hilarious sequence), three horses who seem to have a French accent and snooty manners to match, and many others.


There is also a tongue in cheek reference when Ferdinand goes into a China shop and tries to tiptoe around a half blind old lady minding the shop.


As I said, not a bad movie – just a fun ride that is worth watching if you don’t mind yet another movie with clichés and growing up and making friends among strangers.



– – Krishna

March 10, 2018

Book: Black Alice by Thomas Disch and John Sladek

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:02 pm

imageA very different book from the normal fare that you read.


Alice, eleven, is waiting for her governess Miss Godwin to pick her up by the car. The latter seems to be late by more than an hour. She meets a sleazy “reverend” who comes by in a car.


She realizes that it is probably a kidnapper and accidentally avoids him by running towards a friend whose parents came to pick that kid up.


Roderick Raleigh, a crook and a failure is envious of his brother in law Jason Duquesne and his millions and hopes to get it all when Alice inherits it and he and his wife are named as guardians. He is rebuffed by his brother in law when he wants an increase in his allowance and is angry. How to get more money out of the cantankerous old man?


His wife, who is the man’s daughter is a hypochondriac who resents both the old man, her father, and Alice, her own daughter, for cutting out the flow of money.


Alice one day is taken in a limo with Miss Godwin and realizes that she is being kidnapped. The language of the child is authentic and interesting to read.


But then the story sags with her being cooped up in the house. A “pill” makes her black (temporary effect) so she is literally a black girl, merging with the kidnapper’s family, who are all black.  She means turning to be a black person in reality. What? Where is this pill ? The author has temporarily gone mad?


Now she realizes that her mom and dad may be behind the kidnapping.


Raleigh’s side of the story reveals how he wanted to drive Alice crazy so that he could become the guardian and get at the considerable fortune for himself. But failing that, he comes up with the kidnap plan and plays the grieving, anxious father with the police.


Things totally unravel from that time. Alice escapes, is found by the father and brought back to the kidnappers. He has killed his accomplices and made it look like they killed each other in a quarrel. Roderick wants Alice killed but Bessie saves and escapes with her to a church where the black congregation is attacked by the Klan.


The various escapades of the kid and the characters and the various plots of Roderick are all told beautifully, and the sequences have some Wodehouse like twists, even if this is not intended as a humorous book. Has crazy unbelievable aspects to it, but overall, I’d call it a nice book to read. As I said in the beginning, very different from normal fare in parts sounding tongue in cheek and in parts a serious and sentimental story.


6 10

– – Krishna

Book: Uncertainty by David Lindley

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:46 pm

imageThe full title, to give it its due is : ‘ Uncertainty : Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr and The Struggle for the Soul of Science‘.

Lovely at the start, really. A book about the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle that opened the way for the weirdness of Quantum Theory.

Did you know that Heisenberg was only twenty years old when he wrote a thesis on that principle? Who was his teacher? Niels Bohr himself!

Very well told tale, again at the beginning. It is fascinating to learn how Einstein was disdainful at first and then became a reluctant convert, even then arguing that it is only a partial solution and a more elegant answer is waiting to be found. He was unwilling to commit himself to it fully.

The narration is brilliant and captures the passion for the subject matter the author feels. The argument that Brown (of the Brownian Motion fame) initially found perplexing movements in items like the pollen and even the leaves, ‘thereby kind of starting observations that culminated in quantum mechanics many years hence’ is fascinating and, to me at least, novel.

A lovely argument about how Einstein came up with the mathematical model for Brownian motion and how it moved science from a precise, measurable branch of knowledge into the realm of equations and verifications of impacts – much to the chagrin of positivists, who kept insisting that atoms are not real as they cannot be seen or measured directly.

The story now branches into the equally interesting history of the discovery of X-Rays (Rontgen) and radioactivity (with the addition of both Plutonium and Radium to the newly created periodic table) where most of the work was done by the Curie couple. How radioactivity overturned the principle of cause and effect hitherto considered sacrosanct in science (“The rock just sits there and emits energy out of nothing?”) is well told.

So is the discovery of electrons that led to the amazing realization that atom is not the smallest particle known.  The rays coming out of the vacuum tubes were “tiny electrically charged particles smaller than anything known before – and therefore named electrons. What is equally fun to read is the personal profiles of the personalities involved.

Especially Niels Bohr. With his bushy eyebrows and a thick jaw and a mouth drooping downwards, the big gangly man, when deep in thought, stood slack and looked, in the words of a fellow scientist “like an idiot”.

The idea of a nucleus of an atom is deduced by shooting electrons *the newly discovered particles with mass” through a gold foil. Most electrons sail right through as if the foil is not even there but inexplicably, a very few electrons bounce back. What is stopping them? Exhilarating definitions of how the atom’s structure was put together piece by piece.

When Bohr stumbles on the math involved, the German scientist Sommerfield takes over and the nucleus of research in this field shifts to Germany (prior to WW II).

There is also the interesting description of Planck supporting the German side during WW I and even supporting the Nazis so far as to deny any cruelty was being perpetrated by German army. At the end of the War he is left looking stupid and rapidly backpedalling.

Einstein’s iconoclastic views all through his life is also well described. The adamant and nonsensical obstinacy of Bohr to accept that light could be a particle, even in the face of mounting evidence is surprising to read.

The book  has a lot of detailed descriptions about the debate between classical and quantum theory camps. The only interesting thing towards the end is how adamantly Einstein was opposed to the uncertainty principle, even after repeatedly being proved wrong.

And the fact that the famous Schrodinger’s cat example was devised to prove how ridiculous quantum theory is – that is, to disprove it. You will like  the explanation of the author as to why that example is wrong.

Nice book but towards the end gets very verbose and draggy. An interesting read but not an exciting one. Could have been elevated to the level of truly great science books with a little adept cutting and pruning.


–  –  Krishna

Movie: Before Sunset (2004)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:32 pm

imageLook, I went to see this blind. What does that mean? Let me explain. This is supposed to be the sequel to Before Sunrise where the t


wo protagonists (Jesse and Celine) met and fell into a one night stand which was really love and they did not understand it then. That movie ended with a question mark on whether he will find her in Vienna in six months as she promised. He waits in in the designated spot in Vienna, and the movie ends with no answer to that question. But I did not see that movie. If you see this movie without seeing the first one (never mind my question : ‘Why would you want to see either?’ which is implied in my review below) you would not miss the previous story. They make it abundantly clear like in game shows (In a ‘Previously on BIG BROTHER….’ sort of way).


The cute thing is that this is a sequel that happens nine years after the events in that movie and they have made this precisely nine years after that movie, and with the same lead pair. (Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delphy) so there is no need to age them through make up. They have naturally aged to the right age!

I should admit that I was captivated in the first 10 minutes. He has written a book about his experiences and is signing off books and a reading in a book store in Paris where she drops in unexpectedly. Then they catch up on all that happened in nine years since they parted. Of course, they have to reveal that she did not come to Vienna. In the meantime, he has married, has children and has moved on with his life. Or has he?

Quickly it turns into just conversations about their lives, their interests, her house, her tea making and finally what happened and why she did not come to Vienna that day. Only half way through the movie you realize that, probably just like the first one, there is no great story and this is simply dancing around an incident that happened in their lives; yes, romantic, no doubt; yes, left a deep impression in their mind, surely. And yes, that probably was love, though neither can face it and say so, even after nine years.

But how much can you drag this ruminant mastication without boring the audience? Not surely as long as they have done in this movie. Also, they leave it in a yawn inducing uncertainty : Will they throw everything (he is married and she did not marry so there is not that much to throw away for her) and get together again? We will never know because after another 9 years after this movie was made (2013 it would have been) there was no sequel. Perhaps they had finally figured out that making touchy feely movies with no story in it is not a winning proposition.

The story? Really, there is nothing. They walk through a café, near his car, through a Paris marker, to her apartment and she entertains him with a guitar. Satisfied?

Unless you are a sucker for meaningless sentimentality, you can skip this movie safely.


–  –  Krishna

February 25, 2018

Book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:27 pm

image.jpgThis needs no introduction but it was a huge surprise for me to read it. I have this concept that well regarded classics are have complex narration, old fashioned descriptions and serious stories. Many books have completely demolished that notion. The Count of Monte Cristo was one. (Our review earlier tells why). Tolstoy’s War and Peace is another. And this is the third. The story is simple, and, if written today, will not garner the epic fame that it has garnered with movies and plays galore being made out of it. Or, perhaps, I don’t know what a classic is or should be.


What is the story? Actually it reads like a Bollywood or a Hollywood movie plot!


Jean Valjean enters a French town (D_) as an ex convict, with a yellow passport as was the custom there. He is refused accommodation everywhere but a priest kindly takes him in and treats him decently. So you are shocked that he steals the priest’s silverware at the first opportunity and runs away.


You learn his back story. To avoid his only relatives in the world, his widowed sister and her seven children, from starving to death, he tried to steal bread and was arrested and thrown in jail but he stayed there for seventeen long years due to unsuccessfully trying to jailbreak multiple times and getting caught, thereby having his sentence extended every time.


When he runs away, the police (gendarme) catches him and brings him back to the priest and the priest chides him for ‘not taking the silver candlestick also, as he had been given that’ and sends him away with more loot. He then steals a coin from a small boy and then repents and runs away.


Confused about what this is all about already? If not, then consider this. The story now forgets all of them and zooms in on Corset, who is a child left by a poor hapless mother with an evil family of Thenardiers, who sell all its clothes, take all the money sent by mother for her upkeep and demand lots more and generally keep her as a kind of French Cindarella. (Minus the magic or the animal friends)


The story then veers to a mysterious man who founded a factory, became rich but focused on doing good. His name is “Father Madeline” but it is really not hard to guess the twist. He rises to become the Mayor of the small town, despite wanting to keep a low profile. The author introduces the silver candle holders and remove all doubt in your mind.


The only one not taken in completely is Inspector Javert who moved in from Paris recently and seems puzzled that he had seen this man somewhere, though he could not quite remember where. The style is simplistic and straightforward. We are told that even this is an abridged version as the original tends to wander off in tangents a lot. Surprised that this book has such a great reputation and a cult following (not to mention a Broadway musical).


The story gets interesting when Javers tells Monsier Madeline that the “real” Jean Valejan has been caught and is about to be tried. Jean is torn between duty and safety.


The good deeds of Madeline is to keep many factories afloat when they were in trouble.  He is almost a saint. So when he admits to being Jean to save a criminal, the whole region is stunned. There is also a girl who is admitted into an asylum (hospital in the old days?) to get well whom Jean seems to be looking after.


The brutish Javert oscillates from total submission when he thought he had mistaken Madeline for Jean to roughhandling when the latter’s confession is known. Meanwhile Fantine, the mysterious ill person being looked after by Jean dies without knowing about her missing daughter. This has all the elements of a melodramatic movie in it. Indeed a Bollywood producer would be thrilled to get a script like this. Alexander Dumas, I remember, also writes in a similar light vein, purely to entertain and not to inform.


We then shift focus to Marcus, whose father, a good man, was not allowed to see him. He is taught to hate his father but realizes the truth only when his dad is dead. He meets and falls in love with young daughter, whom Jean adopts. He shows his interest and a suspicious Jean disappears.


Marcus meets him when he is blackmailed by a neighbour, but Jean escapes by the arrival of Javert. In the meanwhile we learn that Corset also loves Marcus. They meet. But a suspicious Jean takes her away and Marcus joins the revolution against the government and the king.


When Jean finds out the truth, he rushes to the help of Marcus. When the place is about to be overrun, Marcus is wounded and falls unconscious. Jean carries him through the sewers to safety.


Marcus comes to and vaguely remembers the benefactor. Even after happily being reunited with Cosette and his erstwhile estranged grandfather, he is tormented with the idea of finding and thanking his mysterious saviour.


Jean informs Marcus of who he is, in private, and slowly withdraws from their life.


He feels miserable but due to a series of coincidences, the story comes to a suitably melodramatic end.


Interesting.   5/ 10

– – Krishna


Book: Stash by David Klein

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:12 pm

imageThis is David’s debut novel. A great debut, as David has the capability to tell you the story from the various people’s perspective, and simply escalate the everyday conflicts and tensions of the characters to a more and more alarming situation that gets tenser by the minute. A no nonsense narration, you will enjoy this book. .


Gwen has two children, Nate and Nora. She escorts Nora to swimming. She meets Jude, her ex lover. Talks about their child together who is growing up with Jude. Jude also appears to be supplying her with drugs and implying that he is still attracted to her.


The title should have warned me!


She “only” moderately does drugs (“unlike her friends”) and gets high “only” socially, taking care not to do it when she is pregnant or breastfeeding. What responsible behaviour, you marvel. (Yes you are right, I am being sarcastic.)


As opposed to her college days where there was indiscriminate weed smoking and indiscriminate sex. That, of course, was irresponsible. Her friend talks of weed as if it is one of the essentials of a weekend in a cottage.


She gets into an accident, phones her husband Brian in the middle of a pharmaceutical presentation from the hospital. The police behave totally differently, even though the fault of the accident was not hers, when they discover the packet of Marijuana in the car.


The other driver has died and Brian realizes that they are in deep trouble. His friend Robin who is a lawyer, agrees to represent her. She is bullied into giving up Jude as a source of her drug supply and even after complying, she is harassed.


Meanwhile Theresa, his sexy assistant, makes almost open overtures to him.


Jude’s daughter, who has a disfigured face, finds acceptance and happiness in sports, especially running. She gets a university scholarship on sports ability.


Jude leaves the daughter at the University and ties up with Da Da Sweet who is a sports star looking for illegal medication and weed. He brings a consignment from Canada by bribing a specific border guard with a smuggled in Vietnamese girl. Yes, right again. The girl is the bribe for the guard.


Gwen compounds the problem by admitting to Jude that she gave Jude’s name to the police.


He is initially angry but still proposes, causing her to be confused. She agrees to phone him back from outside the cabin and gets lost in the forest. The husband calls the police, especially the detective Keller whose children are in the same school as theirs and lets him know on the entire story and the son helpfully provides the licence plate on the van that Jude uses to smuggle drugs.


The tension escalates and reaches fever pitch. For instance, Kelly finds the cabin and finds a murdered body in the porch and finds the weed plantation inside. Dana meets Jude’s assistant who tries to date rape her, but she barely manages to escape.


All of it is told from everyone’s point of view. You even understand Jude’s outlook in doing all he does and yet be a doting father to Dana. You understand the boyfriend’s thought process – not to condone but you get into the minds of the people. In some ways it is like reading Gone Girl where you understand the perspective of both the husband and the wife.


Towards the end, when life is back on track, Gwen goes to a pumpkin festival and finds that temptation again stares her in the face and yields to it again.  Crazy viewpoints but good narration.




  • – Krishna

Movie: Thor – Ragnarok (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:00 pm

imageFirst, about today’s Hollywood : What a revival of fortunes for Marvel, by  the way! In the comics crazy forties and fifties it reigned supreme and lay by the kerb until animation caught up with the imagination of the comic story creators so that Hollywood can adopt it fullscale and start churning out one after the other. Did those fail? No problem. Do not stop making them. Just ‘reboot’ them, telling the story from a different angle and it will become a hit.


Not that I do not enjoy the movies, but it struck me that most of the top grossers (Pixar excepted as they go in for original stories) are superhero films these days. (Or the other franchaises like Star Wars or Star Trek).


If you have seen the previous Thor movies, you realize that the scaffolding is the same. An enemy bent on destruction of (not the world but) Asgard, the hero saving it. Build in Loki’s mischief and other things, and you have got another movie to build within the framework.


In this, the initial demon enemy Surtur gets destroyed in the first few scenes (after the initial humour where Thor is hanging upside down dejected after his love dumps him)


Dr Strange is now in firmly in the franchaise and helps Loki and Thor by finding out that Odin is in Norway (They are trying to find him after Loki had put a spell on him and sent him initially to New York in order to assume Odin’s form and enjoy the throne of Asgard. This is actually the end of the previous Thor movie, if anyone still remembers it).


They discover that they have a sister who was consumed by the dark side. She, Hela, wants to take over Asgard. (Hela is played by Cate Blanchet, and her performance is nice. Not spectacular but nice.)


Hela seems not to fear Thor’s hammer, easily destroying it before our shocked eyes. She also enters the portal when Thor and Loki try to flee and also expels them before she herself reaches Asgard before them.


Loki becomes a slave in a strange planet ruled by a man called Grandmaster and is attached with a shocking device. Also Loki seems to be in a position of favour there. There is a scene where Thor meets and duels with Bruce Banner in the form of the Hulk and where, after he brings the Hulk back to his senses, convinces him and the rebel girl who captured him to join him in saving Asgard. The rest of the story goes on predictable lines.


Nice story and keeps interest going but you suddenly start to see Star Wars like scenes appearing with space ships and battles etc.


There are amazing gigantic hounds who are part of Hela’s army and the massive fight between the Hulk and the giants. There is also preaching about realizing your own potential and getting the inner strength from within. (Thor’s hammer is not strictly necessary for Thor to win, if he believes in himself enough.  Go figure).


Asgard ends up destroyed so that Thor can spend all his time in his new homeland to which he is now destined : The Earth. (And in Hollywood, the earth is always synonymous with the United States of America, of course).


Fun to watch but nothing new conceptually.   6/ 10

– – Krishna

February 17, 2018

Book: A Lucky Child by Thomas Bluergenthal

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 10:09 pm

imageThis is a very different book.


It describes the experience of a small boy who survived a holocaust concentration camp. He was born in Czechoslovakia, in what is currently Slovakia.


He talks about his father’s birth in Poland and successive moves to Germany and then Czechoslovakia. It is well told, with his mother saving them from being collected in Czech territory when the father is away and they being shuttled between Czech and Poland borders many times. They manage to get into Poland but still are not out of danger.


They are heart-achingly close to escape with UK almost granting them a visa and they go to Poland, and then try Russia, give up, and try to cross Poland with no success. His childhood torments in the hands of other, orthodox jews and his belief in the supernatural elements of the religion come out well, providing a different strand from the grimness of the main tale. Initially.


It had a vague Anne Frank kind of vibe, not just because both are experiences of the Holocaust but also because there are the daily living trivia amidst menacing background and how a boy (as against a girl in the other one) copes with the odds and where they find the strength needed to move on and endure. But as you read on, you realize this is a very different narration. The author, since he reminisces many years as an adult, is aware of what is going on in grim detail while Anne Frank wrote her diary as an ordinary girl in hiding, without (apparently) a full realization of her precarious situation.


This one tells the story straight from memory and feels like the life of a real boy in a concentration camp. The details are fascinating. For instance, how he slipped away every time after the roll call and before the ‘selection’ of prisoners to the gas chamber, how he got separated from his mother immediately and his father after a few months, how his father protected him by getting him gainful employment from friends who were barrack bosses. Also how friends in his city turned squealers when he and his family tried to slip away one day to freedom. All amazingly and simply told. It has a feel of sitting in front of him and listening to him reminisce about the old days. Nice.


The brief glimpse of his mother and the forced march where if you could walk no more, you were shot, are all told simply but with devastating effect.


His memories at the orphanage and comparative “luxury” are well told, as are his minor mischieves in getting a discounted ticket and blowing the money given on candy etc.


He gets a note from his mother through the orphanage and is thrilled. After he is reunited with his mom, the story reads like an ordinary boy’s but there are flashes of his extraordinary life and how he became famous in Norway due to the write-up of Nansen, a Norwegian Red Cross person who had helped him in the camp and wrote about him when he returned to Norway.


The book could have ended earlier, when he was reunited with his mother after his travails but it would have been even shorter, so I guess the story needed to be elongated beyond the subject matter that is core subject matter intended. .This takes away from the book only because it tackled such a serious subject with verve only to meander a little bit at the end.


7/ 10


— Krishna

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