Asian Writers

June is dedicated to authors with ASIAN of books in this category will be posted all month....

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Life is Elsewhere

Author Milan Kundera
Rating - * * 1/2*
[This book is available for book swap]

This is my second attempt at finishing this book, the first one being three years before. But this time around, unlike the first one I have completed the book and yes I have to concede that many a times it was a test of my will.

Is the book that bad? is the next obvious question. And the answer is - it depends ( a typical consultant answer anywhere in the globe) I will like to cite an example in this case to elucidate on my point. The book - My Name is Red, by Orhan Phamuk, a nobel prize winner no less is a book I loathe to the core. And I have had strong protests on denouncing this book. But the fact remains that this book nor Life is Elsewhere is a typical fiction work that flows in a charmed, seamless manner that keeps you gripped.

Both are works of art, poetic and written beautifully. The literature used in Life is Elsewhere is exquisite and the fact that it is a translation makes it even more amazing. If one is an aspiring writer then this book is a must read as it gives insight into how the ordinary can be transformed into an engima.
The story in itself revolves around an aspiring poet who was unconsciously pushed into this world by his mother. A mama's boy who through out his short life tried to break this bondage, but never had the audacity to put it into effect.
The story has sub characters, sub plots but its two main protagonists are the poet Jaromil and his mother who thinks that life has treated her unfairly. Its their story which you can find at times between pages and pages of philosophy and references of other poets and the travesty of their lives.

Because of these philosophical elements that are liberally strewn in the book, I am pushed to give it an unfavorable rating.Also, when I read, I generally prefer if trips to google for looking up information is minimized. In this book, it was not the case as the country, the poets - almost everything was alien to me, perhaps a reason why the book did't resonate with me. Others may think differently.

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