Yoohoo…!! I completed 12 books this year. At least I have been able to complete one of my resolution. Although, there are two more books are still to be read, I still believe finishing 12 books – one book one month – has brought a victorious smile on my face. Now, lets move to the serious business of my opinion of the books that I have read – The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol and Clifton Chronicles: Best Kept Secret, Be Careful What You Wish For, Mightier Than Sword by Jeffery Archer.
Nikolai Gogol is the first Russian author I have read. I have never moved beyond American and English authors. This year I read Indian Authors. But Russian was first to me. This Russian was suggested by my friend. And I must say I enjoyed this Russian so much that I am willing to widen my horizons and read more works in Russian literature. For the uninitiated, Nikolai Gogol is “considered a preeminent figures of the Natural School of Russian literary realism” by his contemporaries. (Source: Wikipedia)
Coming to the book, The Overcoat is a collection of 4 short stories, with one story being the Overcoat itself (though individual story is also available). The other stories included were Nose, Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich, and The Old World Landowners. Each story is a classic in itself. Nikolai blends humor and surrealism. Amazing. The language is of the era which witness ‘revolutions’ that changed or rather paved the way we in 21st century think. A bit difficult initially but I fell in love with it too. The Nose was a result of complete romance between humor and bizarre with the even the narrator himself saying ‘it is highly implausible’. The Tale…is a dessert you would want to have again and again. The way each of the characters, environments, and plot are written in a way which evoke laughter. Old world.. and Overcoat brought in a little bit of empathy and little bit of sympathy with the protagonists. Old world is about the sweet loving farmer couple who make you feel you want to be in your final chapters. On the other hand, Overcoat is about non-existent clerk who is happy with his non-existence and whose life or rather death gains an existence because of an overcoat. It only takes a master to create such a masterpiece of art which is this book.
Next 3 books are from my favorite author Jeffery Archer. Clifton chronicles are yet again a master stroke from this master author. I am not sure how to articulate – a thriller masquerading as a drama or a drama masquerading as thriller – or rather which one to choose. This series is both. It keeps you on the edge like thriller. It keeps you hooked like a well conceived drama. It takes you through the trails and tribulations of people believing in virtues. It takes you through the minds and actions of conniving people. There is not a moment of apathy and always a high voltage drama. I am in love with each of the characters. I love to hate Lady Virginia, Major Fisher, Mellor, and Sloane. I love Emma, Grace, Lady Barrington, and Samantha. Women of substance who sets standards so high that normal mortal fail to adhere to. I love all the gentlemen whether portraying positive or negative shades. And most importantly, I love the English Mannerism. We have lost the mannerisms in this era. The book also takes you to through moments, where we along with the protagonists realize the importance of virtues and trust and love.