Quick Reviews: Sexing the Cherry

Sexing the Cherry by Jeannette Winterson is out there to thwart all our perceptions about reality be it the concept of time, or stories or strands of history or even how we may be connected to our ancestors.

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What is the book about?

Bordering on the fabulist, Sexing the Cherry, is seemingly about a large woman named Dog Woman because of her fierce love for her dogs and her adopted son, Jordan. Set in London in the 1640s’ with the upheaval of Cromwell’s clash with the Royalists in the background, the story talks about these two protagonists’ views of each other. Jordan develops a love for sailing and travels the world to witness the quirks of the world and the Dog Woman was worried about how Jordan cannot save his broken heart.

Interspersed within is a beautiful tale of twelve dancing princesses whom Jordan meets and who each retell their stories and subvert the very idea of the portrayal of a damsel in distress in a fairy tale.

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Haroun and the Sea of Stories

‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ is a fabulous book written by Salman Rushdie that can be interpreted at varying levels by the reader. It can be viewed simply as a creative fairy tale written by a father(Salman Rushdie) for his son(Zafar) or can be seen as a commentary supporting free speech or as a postmodern fairy tale  or a criticism of the postmodern novels or whichever way one wants to see it. The book will nonetheless not fail to enthrall the reader as Rushdie takes you into the realms of an exuberant, richly created magic world.

Taken from penguinbooksindia.com

The story has two protagonists-Rashid and Haroun. Rashid has a gift of telling stories upon stories to anyone who would request him one. This talent earned him the sobriquet, Shah of Blah. However, one day, his wife,Soraya, leaves him for a better life with a Mr Sengupta who was their neighbour. As a result of this tragedy, Rashid loses his ability to tell stories. He just simply runs out of them and cannot summon the magic with which he used to narrate his never ending stories! His only son, Haroun, therefore sets out to restore his father’s talent. However, Haroun soon realises that this task is far from easy. His father’s stories come from a subscription to the water supply to the Gup City in Kahani. This subscription has been canceled and now Haroun must go to Kahani, to the Gup city to renew it which will renew his father’s story telling gift as well. While over there, Haroun finds himself embroiled in another adventure. The princess of Gup city is kidnapped by Chup city who forbid people from speaking and where it is always dark. He and Rashid discover these two cities while saving the princess and helping Rashid to once again become the Shah of Blah.

‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ is an upbeat, imaginative, buoyant fairy tale that works as an allegory along with drawing parallels between Rushdie’s and Rashid’s life. Rushdie has used references from several past books as well like ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Wizard of Oz,’ ‘One Thousand and One Arabian Nights’ etc. Rushdie’s brilliant writing, lucid style and imagination and copious humor will appeal to all readers-from young to old, to literature students and scholars. There are so many layers to the story and can be seen from so many numerous perspectives that one can can get lost in the depths of the story. Each character has a parallel in real life and the some of the places mentioned in the book are obviously inspired from real life places.

It is a wonderful book to peruse, a delight for all bookworms the world over.

Go grab it and fly along with Haroun to the Gup and Chup city!

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard

‘The Tales Of Beedle The Bard’ by J.K Rowling is a short novel of 105 pages. It has 5 tales of fantasy that make for an interesting read and a great companion to Harry Potter series.

Taken from bargainbooks4kids.com

The tales in the book are similar in terms of structure to the Aesop’s fables and Jataka tales i.e. as well as being entertaining and childish, they also give a message. In other words, they are didactic. After each tale, a note by Albus Dumbledore, the former headmaster of Hogwarts school, is written which furthers our understanding of the tale. It provides a unique glimpse into  Harry Potter’s world and its history. The tales are excellent anecdotes that prove once again J.K. Rowling’s imagination is superior and simply marvellous. Her ability to weave a tale and connect it with the main Harry Potter series is incomparable.

‘The Tales of Beedle The Bard’ is a fast read, a book that can be read in an hour or so. Its a bit expensive for a book so thin but considering that the royalties will go to charity, Children’s High Level Group(CHLG), it seems justified to buy the book.

When one reads ‘The Tales of Beedle The Bard’, one feels like one is reading in Hogwarts library and has come upon a quaint treasure of tales of olden times. Its a definite must rad for all Harry Potter fans who are curious to know more about Harry’s magic world, that goes beyond the seven books. It is a great collection to owe, a real prize.