books, REVIEWS

After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Literally just finished the book and although it’s midnight I know I can’t go to sleep without putting my thoughts out.

#theguywiththebookreview presents After The End by Clare Mackintosh (Gifted by @littlebrown)

This book is divided into two parts, Before and After. Pip and Max have a son who is terminally ill and they are faced with the heartbreaking decision to either let him go or try unconventional medication which might delay the inevitable but will not improve his health.

Max and Pip do not agree and end up in court to decide the fate of Dylan.

‘Before’ deals with this part of their journey as parents (up-to the courts decision)

‘After’ follows their lives after the courts decision and is surprisingly even more heavy on the heart than ‘Before’.

There are three perspectives in the book, Max, Pip and Dylan’s Doctor Leila.

All are in first person and that gives each chapter a very personal touch making the impact of their tough situation even more haunting. The inclusion of Leila is especially helpful as it adds another dimension to the story which breaks the alternating chapters between Max and Pip. Really effective story telling.

I cannot write more without spoilers but I really want to. (Please don’t read onwards if you have already made your mind to read it) You can pre order the book HERE.

Spoilers…

‘After’ is made extremely interesting because Clare takes us into two directions: One where the court decides that Dylan is in too much pain to live and the other where Dylan should get the medication required to live for as long as possible.

These two directions are managed in alternating chapters and are again told from Max and Pips perspectives. In each they get what they wanted from the court (Max – Dylan lives; Pip – Dylan is let go)

After I read the book, I read Clare Mackintosh’s Note where she tells how more than a decade ago she faced a similar situation. Reading that made my heart fall and so I couldn’t wait to write what I felt about the book. Clare does acknowledge this would be a difficult book for many readers to get through so please pick it up only if you are okay with reading a tough story.

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If you are looking for book reviews, please find the links here:

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

The Man-Eater Of Malgudi by R.K.Narayan

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Long Wall To Water by Linda Sue Park

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

books, REVIEWS

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

There are so many things to talk about this book but discussing almost anything is potentially a spoiler, so I’m going to try sneak through this review like a kitty cat 🐈

#theguywiththebookreview presents If Cats Disappeared from The World by Genki Kawamura

In this surprisingly heartwarming story of our unnamed protagonist who is diagnosed to die soon, The Devil appears and offers one extra day to live against making one thing disappear from the world.

Then starts the grueling daily routine where he has to choose what thing to get rid of from the world for one day of life. The characters, pace and writing all come together very nicely to give a short yet impactful experience. There is a sense of nostalgia portrayed in the book which might make you pause and reminisce.

Not necessarily meant to be a very serious book, but it does take a nice detour in the closing chapters and the book wraps ups very nicely! Would definitely recommend it to cat lovers and especially those who loved The Travelling Cat Chronicles.

You can buy the book HERE through my affiliate link.

If you are looking for book reviews, please find the links here:

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Man-Eater Of Malgudi by R.K.Narayan

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

After The End by Clare Mackintosh

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Long Wall To Water by Linda Sue Park

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

books, REVIEWS

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I guess it was ‘maktub’ that I won’t like this book at all and struggle to finish it without making faces every other page.

#theguywiththebookreview presents The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The book is about chasing our dreams and giving everything to fulfill our ‘personal legend’ which for Santiago according to a fortune teller, is to travel to the Pyramids wherein lies a treasure waiting to be found by him.

Obviously the journey to find the treasure isn’t expected to be easy and Santiago keeps taking risks and working hard to get closer and closer to his goal. At no part dod I feel any empathy, sympathy or any emotion towards Santiago or his so called journey, I just couldn’t be bothered. Extremely bland protagonist and so were the rest in the book. One of the worst aspects about this book was the repetition. We get it, the whole universe conspires to make our dreams come true. We don’t need being told that half a dozen times.

That’s basically what the Alchemist is about with a lot of life lessons, some subtle but most of them forced towards the reader making them feel extremely unnatural. It’s very much like how The forty rules of love crammed in 40 rules randomly making it sound more like a lecture you don’t want to be part of.

There was one part in the book where it’s implied that Hijab is for Married women but not for single women, so yeah…Maktub indeed.

I have an affiliate link you can use to buy the book…but why bother…? Use it HERE to buy something else.

books, REVIEWS

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Before we go down The Road (Excellent pun, Faroukh 👏🏼) I need to say that Cormac McCarthy instantly became one of my favorite authors!

#theguywiththebookreview presents The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Dystopian narratives are something that I have usually struggled to like and even though this book seemed to go nowhere in it’s dystopian setting, it kept moving steadily.

The book is about a Father and Son’s journey towards the Sea, where they hope to find safe haven from a dusty world. All they have is a little food (they scavenge along the way) and a shopping cart which they use to push their meager belongings.

I cannot point out why but the book gripped me from page one, the writing is absolutely beautiful and care has been taken to polish out everything unnecessary.

Father-Son narratives are one of my favorites (my favorite childhood book being Danny the champion of the world) and in my mind I was thinking of The Road as a fictional Jump Sequel to it.

I would absolutely recommend this to everyone, even those who are not fond of Dystopian fiction. The ending is one of the best I’ve read in a long long time, absolutely heartbreaking yet hopeful.

Click HERE to buy.

books, REVIEWS

The Man-eater of Malgudi by R. K. Narayan

Probably one of the most famous fictional cities in India, Malgudi was a little part of my childhood too!

#theguywiththebookreview presents The Man-eater of Malgudi by R.K. Narayan.

Set in Malgudi (based somewhere in South India) we have Natraj, a very hardworking owner of a small 2 man printing press which is also a daily place to socialize for a couple of local men. Sastri is Natraj’s assistant and the book sets off in a very relaxed pace until Vasu, a taxidermist moves to town and somehow manages to rent out Natraj’s attic but never pays him a dime.

Vasu has ironically a very straight forward approach when it comes to getting things done but has no problem twisting things when it comes to being responsible for his own actions.

The Malgudi series of books seem to have been a very genuine commentary on Indian culture and way of life. Through the inclusion of a ‘loose’ woman and the different reactions of men to her presence Narayan manages to seamlessly navigate through and deconstruct the thoughts of different people.

Midway through the plot picks up pace and the final 25 pages take a very intriguing turn in events and the book is no longer just a social tale.

I think the brilliance with Narayan’s approach of using a fictional town is to detach the characters and events from any particular place and via fiction make us all look into ourselves transparently. (I don’t know if this makes sense but it’s been 5 minutes and I don’t know how to say this any other way)

Pick this up! Rating 🐘/5

Click HERE to buy. (This is linked to a 2 in 1 book which also includes A Tiger for Malgudi)

books, REVIEWS

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

A short story collection in which Murakami explores the mundane and treads the thin line between magic and reality (as usual!)

This was my second short story collection by Murakami, having read Men without women I had a general idea about his style when it comes to short stories.

I always have trouble reviewing short stories as it seems to become more about the author than about the plot or characters, there are simply too many.

Which gives me full rights to fangirl on this review!

What I like about Murakami is how he squeezes out interesting moments from daily life and how he can focus on one moment and make it feel like time is not a factor, like he’s taken us on a story telling limbo.

Another thing I’ve noticed is how almost all of his characters are regular people, no one too beautiful, no one too out of reach. The one thing he does seem to work on his characters is their absolute mediocrity. People with unfulfilling jobs, broken relationships and silly thoughts.

The highlight of this book was The Second Bakery Attack and The Elephant Vanishes.

The first is a weirdly eventful night between a newly married couple who end up roaming around town looking to steal bread from a bakery.

The Elephant Vanishes is one of those of Murakami’s where he leaves things unanswered and flirts with the idea of endless possibilities. You can buy the book here

If you are new to Murakami, I’d suggest reading my blog post ‘Why I no longer recommend Murakami to readers’

Another Murakami I have reviewed is his latest Killing Commendatore

books, REVIEWS

A place for us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

I have always been secretly proud of my ability to express my thoughts on books in concentrated ways enabling readers of my reviews to decide for themselves if they would like to read them or not. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can or want to do that with this one, you HAVE to read it.

I’m going to stick to three main points of the book:

▪️The Storytelling

▫️The Characters

▪️The Relatability

▪️What struck me most within the first 50 pages of the book was how expertly the plot is handled and weaves around the characters. The narrative jumps ahead and around multiple times and it doesn’t take much effort to know when it’s taking place. I noticed subtle hints are included within the first few paragraphs of each new timeline and I’d automatically readjust the ages of each character to fit the narrative.

▫️At our core, we are all flawed and most of us try our best to do what we can to improve ourselves and adjust to our surroundings; to embrace our traditions and yet accept new ones. Writing such characters never seems like an easy task, but to write such characters and join their lives together in a way that compliments and completes them is exactly what Fatima has accomplished. There isn’t one character I could clearly point out and say was right or wrong. They all had their reasons behind their words and actions.

▪️Having been born in a foreign country and then lived almost all of my life outside of my own, there are things that I know and understand and experience regularly but have unfortunately never had the privilege to hear out loud. A Place for Us became my little place where I found solace in the five days I took to read it. It’s going to remain with me for a very long time and perhaps finally become the first book I might revisit year in and year out.

I had the privilege to talk to Fatima right after I read the book, it reminded me of what JD Salinger wrote in the incomparable voice of Holden: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” Well, it happened! Thank you Fatima!

You can buy the book here