BOOK REVIEW

2020-2021

The Shock Doctrine

by Naomi Klein

Aryam Padhy

XII H

The Shock Doctrine is a 2007 Book by noted social theorist and Author- Naomi Klein, the word ‘Shock Doctrine’ is most famous for the series of measures implemented in the post-Soviet Economies called ‘Shock Therapy’. The concept of Shock therapy referred to a drastic transition from centrally planned economies to those of laissez-faire capitalist economy. Klein argues that these types of policies have become commonplace in today’s neo-liberal society.

The Book is divided into a number of chapters which span as mini case studies of certain historical situations which have happened around the world. Klein mentions many diverse settings ranging from Chile where the first instance of ‘Shock Therapy’ was utilized by a band of infamous American educated economists called the ‘Chicago Boys’ to the western world where countries like the UK and US have also implemented measures akin to the ‘Shock Doctrine’  by refocusing their peoples’ attention away from economic issues and instead put up red herrings like the Falklands war and the Iraq war.

In conclusion we can say that even though the book was written in 2007 it was relevant then, it was relevant in 2009 during the financial crisis and is even relevant now during the ongoing global crisis of 2020.

GIVE YOUR HEART A BREAK
Author: Anuj Tiwari 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

A splendid plot about a women’s quest for herself with the help of her brothers who stand by her vowing to seek justice for their sister.

Addya, a flamboyant, new-age woman conquered bypatriarchyand domestic-violence, manages to elope from the hell-like company of her husband and in-laws. But this is where the story begins. Standing by her, is her sibling Agastya, and cousin Arjun whose ceaseless love shields Addya and her baby daughter from the ruthless society.Addya’s view of life,Agastya’s tenderness for his sister, his devotion for his lady-love Tarjani, Tarjani’s passion for artand Arjun’s life lessons-every aspect of the story is heart-warming yet strong. The fragile contrast between the toxic relationship between Addya and Baliand the special connect between Agastya and Tarjani is remarkable. The story is peppered with inspiring quotes, which one can’t overlook. The narration is quite comprehensible and involving. The content enlightens the reader about self-loveand finding reasons not to give up on life.

Thistale about abuse, courage and love, highlights the much-faced situations of a woman and the rare bond shared by siblings. Penned with softness and fury, it’s definitely an escape from the monotonous schedules into a world where hope persists.

ADYASHA MAHAPATRA

XII B Science

Thirteen Reasons Why

 

 

This novel is written Mr Jay Asher. This is his debut novel for teens. For the readers of “Thirteen Reasons Why”forewarned that the book never had a page which hadn’t been so difficult to read.  This may sound like a criticism, but in fact it's a compliment, for this is the story of a suicide's aftermath, and Asher's ability to convey the anguish of someone who was left behind is truly remarkable.

 

 It is the story of a young high school student named Hannah Baker, as she descends into despair brought on by betrayal and bullying, culminating with her suicide. She details the thirteen reasons why she was driven to end her life in an audio diary(tapes) which is mailed to the the people who were the thirteen reasons of her death.

 

 Another big character in the book is Clay Jensen, a high school student, who was one of the thirteen reasons why Hannah Baker took her life.
Clay Jensen returns home one day, not long after Hannah's death, to find a package full of cassette tapes that she recorded. All of the tapes include the reason why she died and who caused them. Each person who was the cause of her death was sent the tapes, where they had no choice but to listen to them and pass them on. If anyone failed to pass on the tapes, it was given out to the public and of course anyone who makes an appearance would be a disgrace forever.

 

Furthermore, Jay Asher's book is definitely a story you remember because you start to think about life and different people's attitudes and behaviour. You begin to learn that the actions you do can potentially affect someone's life. I recommend this book to everyone as it truly is amazing! It is beautifully written, with so many emotions and feelings portrayed. Moreover, this book is life changing!

 

 

NOTE: There is actually a Netflix series created based upon this novel. It simply accentuates the beautiful story telling of the novel.

Don’t get me wrong, I have read the whole novel, and I think it’s a masterpiece.

Anshuman Behera of

Class 12 D

   LIKE IT HAPPENED YESTERDAY

by Ravinder Singh

By Jay Asher

Astha Panda

XII H

SUMMARY:When you just want to forget the present and just want to relax in your past, then there will be only one period where all of us would love to travel i;e our very own childhood.  The book  “LIKE IT HAPPENED YESTERDAY ”deals with such a joyful story of the most beautiful journey of our life. It takes us to those days when we were  ready to have an injection only because our father promised to give us a frooty after that. Or remember the days when we wonder how Kunti got Karna from Suryadev after watching Mahabharata on TV. Or the 1st day at school when we were not ready to leave our father’s hand and the last day when we were not ready to change our school and leave our friends and teachers. And remember the best part of childhood when owning a cycle and watch of our own was the dream of every child. Yes it all appears that it happened yesterday only.This  book is going to take you to an entire journey to that part of our life which is totally ours but yet we can’t visit there once again. Starting from the plot that is set in our very own Burla in Sambalpurto the different characters it’s a perfect blend of joy, sorrow,anxiety, pain and happiness which we all had once.

CHARACTERS : “RAVINDER SINGH” : He is the author himself as well as the narrator.  His joyful yet serious character will make you remember your own childhood.

“JITENDER SINGH” :He is the younger brother of the narrator , his constant companion in his childhood.

“THE ENGLISH TEACHER ”: She was the child hood attraction of the narrator when he was in class 9.

“SUSHIL AGARWAL”: The author’s best friend, a hard core back bencher and his partner in crime.

“NITIN RAMACHARI": The author’s competitor turned best friend in class 12.

OVERVIEW:On an overall note it’s a book with the spices of childhood, the tensions of an adolescent and above all the ultimate truth of human life i;e all of us enjoyed our childhood like no other. But the book lack only one thing that has  limitedno. of characters, there could have been more no. of characters . At last it’s worth your time and a must read for the ones who wants to have a journey back to the childhood.

When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi

AISHWARYA PRUSTY

CLASS- XII D

When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Indian-American neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Kalanithi. It is a memoir of the young doctor who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36.

Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon. A passionate reader and writer. In his mid-thirties, while he was on the edge of completing his decade long training as a neurosurgeon, he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Everything turned upside down and the future he imagined with his wife seemed uncertain.

What makes life meaningful enough to go on living? If the unexamined life was not worth living, was the unlived life worth examining? He talks about his thoughts and experiences related to these life-death questions in his book.

The author was a proficient doctor. He tells us how the role of a doctor in a patient’s life is more important than doctors realize. He believed that he must first understand his patients’ identity, their value and what makes their life worth living, before treating them.

This book gives us an insight into the painstaking life of a doctor. Living between life and death, while one person takes their first breath, another takes their last. The overwhelming stress in this field has compelled many doctors to leave their jobs and even cause self-harm.

Amidst these stressful conditions Kalanithi continued to protect his patients’ lives as well as their identities. But sooner than he realized he was another patient in the face of death, questioning his own identity as a doctor and a patient. However, he didn’t let his life come to a standstill- “Even if I’m dying, until the day I actually die, I’m still living”. He was courageous, honest and sincere till the very end.

This is a heartbreaking yet very powerful book. Paul died in 2015 while working on this book, however his message about living a meaningful life continues to stay in every reader’s heart. Learning about Paul Kalanithi’s life through this book is a journey worth taking and it’s sure to leave you sobbing.

Naveen Patnaik by Ruben Banerjee: BOOK REVIEW

Reviewed By

Sahil Pradhan Class-IXA (2018-19)

When Naveen Patnaik first joined politics, he was perceived as a lightweight socialite. Little did his opponents, or friends, know that beneath his charming exterior lay a politician with a shrewd killer instinct.

A top IAS officer who served Naveen for a long time insisted that Naveen possesses ‘X-ray eyes’. He is suspicious by nature. The moment he sees a person, he sizes him up, without letting the person know what he is thinking of him. ‘Naveen’s gut feelings are strong and he relies heavily on them,’ another senior official explained. Those who have worked with him closely say that Naveen hides his emotions well. He may have a very poor opinion of someone, but the person will never get to know that. On the contrary, it is more likely that the chief minister’s warm hospitality would have floored him and the person may go away thinking he has made a good impression on Naveen.

With Odia names being Greek and Latin to him, there were moments of embarrassment, too. During a visit to Chandikhol, the town along the national highway halfway between Bhubaneswar and Balasore, he mistakenly referred to it as “Chadikhol” (meaning “open your underpants”) in the middle of a public address. Another time, he was in Balasore, where he attempted to invoke the name of the state’s most famous litterateur, Fakir Mohan Senapati. The long-dead Senapati hailed from Balasore and is still revered for his seminal works such as Chha Mana Atha Guntha and Rebati. But Naveen got it wrong, referring to the writer as Fakir Mohan Satpathy. It was equivalent to a Bengali politician getting Tagore’s name wrong. But these harmless, and hilarious, gaffes showed Naveen as unsure, simple and still uncooked, perhaps only a ploy to further lull his potential rivals into a false sense of security.

Naveen Patnaik’s uninterrupted winning streak is due to his spartan image, TINA factor in Odisha and a combination of economic growth and populist measures.

After the death of Biju Patnaik, when son Naveen launched the Biju Janata Dal, a splinter group of Janata Dal, on 26 December 1997, Odisha accepted him as “Biju babu’s” son. Nobody expected a political novice like Naveen to emerge as a successful regional satrap though.

It was an amazing transformation of a socialite whose books Jacqueline Kennedy had written a foreword for. He has created a record joining the club of longtime chief ministers like Pawan Kumar Chamling (Sikkim) Manik Sarkar (Tripura) and Jyoti Basu (West Bengal) in two decades. Under his leadership, the BJD has performed outstandingly in five Lok Sabha and four assembly elections since 2000.  In  2014, it bagged 117 assembly seats out of 147 and 20 Lok Sabha seats out of 21, despite the Modi magic.  

No wonder Naveen celebrated the two decades of the BJD at a glittering ceremony in Puri, on 26 December recently. He reminded the voters,  “Our motto is service, struggle, good governance and dignity.”  

What is the secret of his uninterrupted winning streak? The leader of BJD in Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab asserts, “His personal lifestyle is spartan. His detachment from material possessions has endeared him to the people as also his personal integrity.”  Pinaki Misra, BJD MP from Puri, agrees, “It is because he has managed to convey to the people that he has no family, except the people of Odisha. People believe that ‘this man exists only for us’.”

Secondly, there is no credible leadership in the opposition and this TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor had helped him. After J.B. Patnaik of the Congress faded away, there was no other leader who could challenge him. The BJP too did not develop any strong leader so far.

Thirdly, Naveen has proved his secular credentials when he parted company with the NDA in 2009 after the Kandhamal carnage. It was from here that Patnaik emerged on his own.

He has kept equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP.

Fourthly, and most importantly, Odisha has come a long way from 2000 when he first became the chief minister. If the rural poor like him for the cheap rice scheme and the distribution of bicycles to schoolgirls, the middle classes have equally benefited from the mining boom in the state. More than eight million people have moved up from below poverty line. Construction of one million pucca houses and other such populist schemes gets him the votes.

Defending the populist measures Patnaik himself told an interviewer: “When we came to office in 2000, the state’s finances were in such a terrible state,” pointing out “Now we have an excellent economy, which has a number of anti-poverty programmes running successfully.” Even his critics agree that under him Odisha’s economic progress has been impressive. The state’s GDP grew an average of 6.66 per cent annually in the past five years and per capita income has grown six-fold. The focus was also on improving the lives of the 22 per cent tribes, the highest in the country.  Even the United Nations praised him for his disaster preparedness for the way he handled the cyclone Phailin of 2013.

Naveen has also dabbled in national politics in 2012 when along with Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, he had projected former Speaker P.A. Sangma as the presidential candidate. He has taken on the Centre on issues. In a signed article on the occasion of BJD’s 20th birthday, he said, “Our party is fighting on issues like Mahanadi, Polavaram, minimum support price for farmers, special category status for Odisha and central negligence.”

However, it is not all kudos for Naveen.

From a soft-spoken socialite, Naveen has now emerged as a ruthless and authoritarian leader who refuses to develop second-rung leaders.  Over the years, Patnaik has sacked at least 36 ministers. His detractors also point out that in the past two decades, he has driven out almost all the founding members fearing challenge. He threw out Bijoy Mahopatra in 2000, a man who helped him in the initial stages. In 2012, he ousted his political adviser Pyarimohan Mohapatra who tried to engineer a coup. But Pinaki Misra argues, “If you go after his chair he is going to react. They underestimate his strength.” For the past three years, his private secretary V.K. Pandian has become all-powerful. The party does not like this over-reliance on bureaucrats. There have been controversies over the POSCO steel plant and other major natural resource projects.

What about his future? Though Naveen was successful in demolishing the opposition until now, his party is facing a serious challenge from the BJP. The BJP’s growth from just 36 Zilla Parishad seats in 2012 to 297 in February 2017 has alarmed Patnaik. The upcoming urban local body polls are crucial.  

The BJP has kicked off its “Mission 120+”, targeting to win over 120 of the 147 assembly seats in 2019. To counter this, the BJD has set an ambitious target of 123 seats, a feat achieved by Biju Patnaik.  The million-dollar question is whether Patnaik will win for the fifth time in a row or the BJP will expand further.

The book, a 300-page wonder, focuses on the times of the longest running CM of Odisha and the second longest running CM in India. The book uncovers layers of mystery along with layers of the real and unbiased life of Naveen Patnaik. Banerjee is clever, he does not mix up the heady mix of politics in the politics in the book, he well maintains the vibe of making a book a part history and a part non-fictionious retelling of this amazing story. Banerjee mixes his part of the tale, of fearless journalism and unbiased retelling of his own felt experiences, which even sometimes creates troubles for him. though based in a recent era of politics, the story of Naveen covers era over almost half of the world, for his powerplay over India and even over the seat of the PM is unimaginable. Ruben creates in front of us a world of politics, which one sees through the spectrum of truth, not through the hazy eyes of Gandhi-capped persons or mike-holding and camera facing idiot and puppets of the former.

the book would appeal to everyone who wishes to know the hidden story of this man who would maybe select the next PM in 2019 and one who is the cradle of political powerplay and killer instinct in Odisha- a silent killer.

 

Ruben Banerjee is the editor of OUTLOOK magazine. He was formerly the national affairs editor of the HINDUSTAN TIMES and has worked with AL JAZEERA, INDIA TODAY and the INDIAN EXPRESS. This is Banerjee’s second book, the first being THE ORISSA TRAGEDY: A CYCLONE’S YEAR OF CALAMITY.

Reviewed By

Sahil Pradhan Class-IXA (2018-19)

THE LAST MUGHAL BY WILLIAM DALRYMPLE: BOOK REVIEW 

Reviewed By

Sahil Pradhan Class-IXA (2018-19)

On a hazy November afternoon in Rangoon, 1862, a shrouded corpse was escorted by a small group of British soldiers to an anonymous grave in a prison enclosure. As the British Commissioner in charge insisted, “No vestige will remain to distinguish where the last of the Great Moghuls rests.”

Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the last Mughal Emperor, was a mystic, an accomplished poet and a skilled calligrapher. But while his Mughal ancestors had controlled most of India, the aged Zafar was king in name only. Deprived of real political power by the East India Company, he nevertheless succeeded in creating a court of great brilliance and presided over one of the great cultural renaissances of Indian history.

Then, in 1857, Zafar gave his blessing to a rebellion among the Company’s own Indian troops, thereby transforming an army mutiny into the largest uprising any empire had to face in the entire course of the nineteenth century. The Siege of Delhi was the Raj’s Stalingrad: one of the most horrific events in the history of Empire, in which thousands on both sides died. And when the British took the city—securing their hold on the subcontinent for the next ninety years—tens of thousands more Indians were executed, including all but two of Zafar’s sixteen sons. By the end of the four-month siege, Delhi was reduced to a battered, empty ruin, and Zafar was sentenced to exile in Burma. There he died, the last Mughal ruler in a line that stretched back to the sixteenth century.

Award-winning historian and travel writer William Dalrymple shapes his powerful retelling of this fateful course of events from the groundbreaking material: previously unexamined Urdu and Persian manuscripts that include Indian eyewitness accounts and records of the Delhi courts, police and administration during the siege. The Last Mughal is a revelatory work—the first to present the Indian perspective on the fall of Delhi—and has as its heart both the dazzling capital personified by Zafar and the stories of the individuals tragically caught up in one of the bloodiest upheavals in history.

History written by Britons has not been kind to Bahadur Shah II, even though he was the last of the Mughal emperors of India, a descendant of both Genghis Khan and Timur the Great (Marlowe’s Tamburlaine), among others who are much better remembered. He has rarely rated more than a paragraph or two, sometimes only one sentence, and as often as not has been referred to merely as the King of Delhi – which is rather like describing the Pope as the Bishop of Rome in order to diminish him. But now William Dalrymple has magnificently rescued him from near anonymity, and in doing so has greatly increased our understanding of what went on in the old Mughal capital at the time of the Indian mutiny.

The last emperor was also known to his familiars as Zafar – the pen name he used when writing poetry – a word which means “victory” and which could scarcely have been less appropriate, given that it was attached to one of history’s great losers. For he died five years after the mutiny, in faraway Burma, a frail 87-year-old who was spoon-fed on broth by the handful of family and retainers he had been allowed to take with him into exile. He had been banished not so much for what he did during the mutiny as for what he represented to the mutineers – Hindus as well as Muslims – who regarded him as the touchstone of an old and deeply rooted way of life which the Victorian Evangelicals, who dominated the making and execution of British policy, were determined to replace with the prejudices and habits of muscular Christianity. To them, it was vital that Zafar should be put down, precisely because, having a Hindu mother, he appealed to both sides of India’s own great religious division.

Delhi, however, was a profoundly Muslim city at this time, unlike Lucknow, Calcutta and other centres that had found certain western habits attractive and were beginning to evolve into multicultural cities. The capital was therefore regarded with particular enmity by people such as the Rev Midgeley John Jennings, who wrote: “Within its walls, the pride of life, the lust of the eye and all the lusts of the flesh have reigned and revealed to the full, and all the glories of the Kingdoms of this portion of the earth have passed from one wicked possessor to another.” As Dalrymple depressingly notes, such caricatures are still circulating in the western anathemas of Islamic societies today. No longer were Britain’s Indian policies in the 1850s conducted by the likes of Warren Hastings and William Jones, who understood and respected Indian values and traditions. Instead, “this steady crescendo of insensitivity” on the part of people like Jennings and their governing superiors was directly responsible for the mutiny: the gaffe (and it was no more than that) of the greased cartridges was simply the last straw for the already resentful sepoys who mutinied. If the army had followed its instructions – that goat or mutton fat would not offend the religious susceptibilities of either Hindu or Muslim soldiers, but that on no account must either beef or pork fat is used – there would have been no problem.

The worst charge that could be laid against Zafar, in fact, was his indecisiveness, which plagued him in his domestic life as well as in the more hazardous area of interracial politics. His crucial mistake was to give his blessing to the sepoys, but only after they had persistently harassed him and more or less taken over his palace until he gave in to their demands. Within days, as the British residents of Delhi fled for their lives, Zafar gave his protection to 40-odd of those who had been captured when they tried to escape. Some might see this as a hedging of bets, but it was, in truth, the reflex of a lifelong ditherer; and that is not the stuff of which rebel leaders are made.

He had earlier insisted on retaining his doctor after the man had converted to Christianity, in spite of pressure from Muslim courtiers to sack him. A British surgeon who attended Zafar in his captivity said: “His countenance gave no sign of cruelty, but appeared mild.” WH Russell, the celebrated correspondent of the Times, wrote of “a dim, wandering-eyed, dreamy old man with a feeble hanging nether lip and toothless gums”, who was being sick in a basin when the journalist entered his room. “I could not help thinking, as I looked at the old man, that our rulers were somewhat to blame for the crimes he had committed.”

There was savagery on all sides in 1857, while at home Lord Palmerston wanted to see Delhi deleted from the map in reprisal for what had happened there. Atrocities against the British were also committed at Kanpur, where women and children were butchered without mercy, too, which guaranteed the appalling retribution that followed when the rebellion was put down. John Nicholson, who became a cult figure among his native troops (they thought he was an incarnation of Vishnu) and his fellow countrymen, proposed “a bill for the flaying alive, impalement or burning of the murderers of the [British] women and children of Delhi”; and one of his soldiers (a Quaker, no less) habitually bayonetted sepoys while chanting Psalm 116. That’s the one that begins “I am well pleased: that the Lord hath heard the voice of my prayer”.

Dalrymple has here written an account of the Indian mutiny such as we have never had before, of the events leading up to it and of its aftermath, seen through the prism of the last emperor’s life. He has vividly described the street life of the Mughal capital in the days before the catastrophe happened, he has put his finger deftly on every crucial point in the story, which earlier historians have sometimes missed, and he has supplied some of the most informative footnotes I have ever read. On top of that, he has splendidly conveyed the sheer joy of researching a piece of history, something every true historian knows, telling of his elation at discovering in Burma’s national archives all Zafar’s prison records, stored in Acrobat PDF files – “something the British Library has so far failed to achieve”.

Dalrymple lets the characters tell their own tales: a 12-year-old Muslim nobleman who watched the defeated Indian mutineers and conquering British “vying with each other as to which should carry the day in pillage or robbery”; a functionary in Zafar’s court with the wonderful title of “Keeper of the Dynastic Fish Standard of the Mughals”; and a poet who saw that the mutiny was only empowering the uneducated Indian soldiers to wipe out his humanist class, “as the moon is engulfed by the eclipse.”

As for the British, Dalrymple focuses on a few whose emotional transformations are the most idiosyncratic: the gregarious son of a poisoned British official is driven to homicidal rage in the battle to retake Delhi; the editor of the city’s English-language daily becomes the leading voice in the movement to raze the capital; the wife of a senior British officer gives birth during her harrowing escape yet, almost alone among the participants, retains her sanity and humanity.

Sanity, alas, is not Zafar’s strong suit, at least not by the time he flees the city, only to dither on its outskirts and take refuge in the tomb of an ancestor, Humayun. This is fitting, as Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, was also more suited to poetry than politics and also lost his throne, regaining it just in time to pass it along to his remarkable son Akbar in 1556.

No such fortune awaited Zafar: he was arrested, given a kangaroo trial and exiled to Burma. What blame does he deserve for the bloody fiasco? Dalrymple feels it is “difficult to see what more Zafar could have done,” but the details he has so painstakingly assembled tend to undermine such sympathies.

Consider two events in the mutiny’s first week. On May 14, upset that some Indian soldiers were defiling a beloved garden, he began “refusing audience to all.” This was a threat to withdraw his imprimatur from their rebellion, and the mutineers moved on. Two days later, when the rebels discovered 52 Europeans Zafar had hidden in the palace, the emperor “wept and brought the mutineers not to take the lives of helpless women and children,” but stepped aside as the executioners went to work.

At the pivotal moment of his doomed reign, Zafar concentrated not on his role as a leader of men or on the sparing of innocent lives, but rather on his flowers. Deep in their tombs, one suspects, Humayun sympathized, Aurangzeb scoffed and Genghis Khan wept silent tears.

Reviewed By

Sahil Pradhan Class-IXA (2018-19)

THE LOWLAND BY JHUMPA LAHIRI: BOOK REVIEW

By 

Jhumpa Lahiri

Two brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel–set in both India and America–that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.

Growing up in Calcutta, born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead of them. It is the 1960s, and Udayan–charismatic and impulsive–finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty: he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he comes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind–including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.

Suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowlandexpands the range of one of our most dazzling storytellers, seamlessly interweaving the historical and the personal across generations and geographies. This masterly novel of fate and will, exile and return, is a tour de force and an instant classic.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” wrote Tolstoy in Anna Karenina. In Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel, The Namesake, and her short story collections Unaccustomed Earth and Interpreter of Maladies, she is adept at depicting the particular unhappinesses at the core of the families she crafts. So too in her intricate novel The Lowland, shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and Man Booker prize: tracing how brotherly bonds become broken by violent politics, it is suffused with sadness.

The landscape, as well as the lives unfolding within it, is conjured magnificently: the marshy lowland in Calcutta is thick with water hyacinth, its periphery dotted with simple huts, the poor wading in to forage for food. This is a place where certain creatures “laid eggs that were able to endure the dry season. Others survived by burying themselves in mud, simulating death, waiting for the return of rain”. Survival is fraught for the humans, too, in this engrossing novel.

Two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, often walk across the lowland on their way to play football. Though very different, one cautious and one of them reckless, the boys are very close: “Subhash was 13, older by 15 months. But he had no sense of himself without Udayan. From his earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there.” Yet this is a novel in which the most tender of ties are torn asunder, and Lahiri traces these lives as they become haunted by the absence of loved ones.

The daring that Udayan displays in childhood is fatally demonstrated in adulthood, too, when he is swept up in the country’s Naxalite rebellion against poverty and inequality, while Subhash pursues a peaceful life of scientific research in America. After Udayan’s untimely death, Subhash returns to India and marries his brother’s pregnant widow, Gauri, but theirs is far from a smoothly functioning family. The ambitious, if uneven narrative traces the tensions between husband and wife, and between mother and daughter, as Gauri’s parental instinct battles with her yearning for independence.

the best part of the book is its beauty in the simplicity of language and the complex and gripping narrative. I felt that the beauty of the enchanting narration makes the book truly a “masterpiece”. one cannot put down the book in the middle if you have started once. for the narration, it is just mind-boggling. the way she captures each character and emotions in their pen would leave you enthralled. the book is very meticulously researched and this intense work is very well channelled through their extraordinary narration and captivating plot. the book totally is worth reading. and if you have not read it, it is totally your huge loss. overall the book is in simple words a “masterpiece”.

The Lowland is an engrossing family saga steeped in history: the story of two very different brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn apart by revolution, and a love that endures long past death. Moving from the 1960s to the present, and from India to America and across generations, this dazzling novel is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.

Reviewed By

Sahil Pradhan Class-IXA (2018-19)

2017-18

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: Book Review

by

Anne Frank

The book is about Anne Frank's experience of nearly 5 years. Anne Frank had a very good habit of writing Diary each day. She was a jew and co-incidentally during that time Adolf Hitler had started his war and torture against the Jews. In the early period, Anna Used to enjoy her life. She had an elder sister, Margot. His father's name was Otto Frank. They had a very good life. Until the day came for Jews to suffer. There were very rigorous rules made against the Jews and all those were suffered by the Frank family. In their family they also had their mother and granny. It was the day of sorrow for all of the Jews as they had to search out for their hiding place. The Jews were not allowed to use cars. They could only go out the house in between 6 pm to 8 pm. There was a threatening for all the Jews and Otto Frank had to find a hiding place. They went after some days and the place, it was in his father's office, also some of the relatives came to stay with them. The place where they stayed was after a cup board which could be slided and then they could go inside the house. But they could not hide any more and were traced out. In that destructive attack, the sweet, craxy Anna Frank died -in their family Otto Frank was the one to survive and he found the book and published it. The book gives a lasting impression of the voice of a little girl.

Reviewed by 

Pratistha Pal, VII-D. (2017-18)

The Hunted Museum-The Titanic Locket By Suzanne Meyn

by

Suzanne Weyn

This is a story written by Suzanne Weyn who is an american writer. In this book, Samantha and Jessica are out on a trip in Titanic-2, the exact replica of Titanic. Before starting their  return-trip, they visited a haunted museum, where they see pictures of the actual Titanic travellers and other beautiful ornaments which included the 'Titanic Locket' Jessica touches it by mistake and this mistake change both of their lives. While they are in the museum, they notice a cute boy John but they aren't able to back with him as their ship aeparts. But strange things start happening with them. Their cabin numbers keeps changing and they near scartching sounds from behind the wall. and the locket which Jessica touched in the museum, scenes to be following fem! Jessica start calling sam with other in a different behaviour. Samantha is still confused until she gets to know the whole story of the 2 sisters on the real Titanic. It is one of Suzanne Weyn's best selling book which entertains all readers.

Reviewed by

Satakshi Das, VII-B.(2017-18

Malory Towers- Third Years by Enid Blyton

by

Enid Blyton

This is one of my favourite book. Once you start reading it, you cannot put it down. In every paragraph, you will find a twist in the story. Malory Towers is a school with a hostel where all ages of girls read. After a vacation when they meet again, they have a lot to share. A new girl named Zerelda joins the school. Darrel a girl who is in third year is very excited to meet the girl. Zerelda is a very stylish girl who keeps on making her hair and makeover every now and then. There is another new girl too-Wilhemina, short for bill. She just loves horses, and had brought her horse-thunder to malory towers. Zerelda being in fourth year finds it difficult to adjust with the fourth formers. Shefor her bad vehaviour is demoted to third. Like Zerelda bill was just thinking about her horse everytime during her classes. meanwhile, there were 2 problems, one is Thelnder's ill, he can die any moment and Bill's just crying and the 2nd problem is their friend goes missing. Their teacher helps them a lot. During this time, your heart beat increases, many question will arrive likewill thunder die? will her friend go missing? A fabulous book which each and every child should read

Reviewed by 

Jennice Mishra, VII-B (2017-18)

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

by

Shel Silverstein

Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy and every day the boy would come and he would gathere her leafs and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide and seek, and when he was tired, he would sleep in hers shade and the boy loved the tree...... very much and the tree was happy. But time went by and the boy grew older and the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came by the tree and said, " Hi dear". the tree said, "come and play with me". I am no longer a kid, i don't play around tree's and more replied the boy. With passage of time the boy gradually lost intrest in playing with the tree. But the tree continuous to serve him when the boy asked for money to buy toys. The tree surprised the man goes by selling which the boy earned money by selling it and was so excited When the boy grew up and asked the tree for shelter the tree sacrificed its branches for the boy. and not only this when he want to sail in the river the tree sacrifised its trunk to make him happy and finally when the boy turned into an old man he was still supported by the tree with the help of her roots on which he took rest.

The moral of this valuable story is the tree played role of parents who constantly take care of children but when the children, when grow old do not have time to spare for their parents. 

Reviewed by

Aditi Mohapatra, V-B, (2017-18)

Stories of Tenali Ramanby C.L.L. Jayaprada

by

C.L.L. Jayaprada

I loved the book "stories of Tenali Raman" written by C.L.L. Jayaprada very much. It is fill with witty stories of Tenali Raman. It makes entertain and laugh every time. It makes my mind relaxed and refreshed. In this book, I like the character Tenali Raman, He was solving mischivous problems of the king's name was Raja Krishnadaya Deva. I love to read it again and again. The book is just like "witty stories of Akbar Bribal" that I have in my home. The "stories of Tenali Raman" has a great. I would love if to read in my leisure time. I like it very much that I'll buy it soon. I can not forget this book as it gave many interesting stories to read. In the book, some ministers were jealous of Tenali Raman. But he was always praised by the king and the people. He was famous in that kingdom of people have problems, they would ask Tenali Raman. He would help them without any hesitation. So, I like this character and the book. It is the best among all books i have read in the school library.

Reviewed by

Shreya Sahoo, V-D, (2017-18)

Panchatantra by Bishnu Sharma

by 

Bishnu Sharma

We, the human beings are the most intelligent creature on the earth. but sometimes we forget the basic moral values of life though we suppose to be the best, but we behave like a animals sometimes so, it is required to remember the morals & basic lesson of life through intersting stories. The author of the book explained the values very simply through some stories . This values remembers us the basic life of human.

Review by 

smrutirekha Routray, V-C, (2017-18)

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