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Joined March 2019

Bookworm poring through an endless bookshelf. Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/80017757-nathan-drake Instagram: nomadliterary
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In her thirties, Olivia Liang moves to New York and almost immediately finds herself dealing with the kind of loneliness she has never dealt with before. The kind of loneliness that feels all-consuming at first. And, in a way, it stays all-consuming, atleast throughout the duration of this book....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Liang in fact gets so consumed by this near perpetual state of loneliness that she starts charting not only its inherent nature, but also its history. The result of this emotional and historical mapping is THE LONELY CITY.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....Liang primarily talks about how art has been representing loneliness. Initially Edward Hopper and especially his "glass" paintings are Liang's primary focus. How glass is something through which his subjects are visible but at the same time that very transparent glass is also the source of their confinement is something that Liang uses as a parallel between Hopper's art and our "hyper-connected" times of the human experience.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....How, inspite of moving to cities more "accessible" and "interconnected" and how inspite of the transparent glass windows of our homes, we are drifting into existences lonelier than usual. 1d
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nathandrake1997 ....But, Liang then reveals that when Hopper was asked about whether the central theme of his work is loneliness, Hopper replies by saying that there actually is no central theme to his work. On the contrary, he paints purely by impulse and the result is a byproduct of his subjective experience with the collective human experience.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....Liang's focus then shifts to another painter, David Wojnarowizc. Unlike Hopper, Wojnarowizc's work had a central theme and it while not explicitly stated, is in a way loneliness. A scarred and wounded gay man, Wojnarowizc's formative years were marked by horrific instances of sexual abuse.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....Liang writes about how being a victim of such horrific abuse resulted in an emotionally lonely existence during his formative years. When he grew up, his art in subtle yet profound ways had traces of the loneliness induced by a tortured past.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....Wojnarowizc's story is then used as a segue into the AIDS epidemic of the 80s and how the discrimination and stigma against the LGBTQ community during the homophobic socio-political climate of that time pushed prominent members of the LGBTQ community like Wojnarowizc into further loneliness.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....In an instance of history, art and life merging into one, a building that Liang moves into later turns out to be a building where once people diagnosed with AIDS were sheltered and treated..... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....Another prominent figure who makes a prominent appearance in the book is the artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol. According to Liang, loneliness afflicted Warhol in such a manner that it hindered his ability at forming emotional connections with fellow human beings.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....In fact, he feels "true emotional connection" when he acquires a tape recorder and says that "I have finally found a companion!". Warhol then uses the tape recorder to document the conversations he has with people, exasperating his subjects in the process. Warhol also uses the tape recorder to document his own thoughts exactly the way they occur.... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....He then uses these documented tapes to write his novel A...A NOVEL. Termed as unreadable gibberish back when it was released, with time it gradually started being hailed as a defining text documenting the human experience in a manner as unfiltered as possible..... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....Liang draws a modern parallel or the relation shared between Andy Warhol and his tape recorder with the Spike Jonze film HER (2013) in which Theodore Tombly (played magnificently by Joaquin Phoenix), a loner in the process of getting a divorce forms a friendship which then transcends into a romantic relationship with his operating system named Samantha (voiced magnificently by Scarlett Johansson).... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....There are other allusions and references to loneliness in history and pop culture as well. From the Chelsea Hotel (a cultural epicenter of the 60s-80s art scene in New York) and its queer inhabitants including a certain Robert Mapplethorpe (fans of avant garde photography and Patti Smith's landmark memoir JUST KIDS will especially be chuffed).... 1d
nathandrake1997 ....) to seminal films that explore the parallels between technology and the human experience and the common thread between both in a way being loneliness, like BLADE RUNNER (1982), the list of references and allusions are so vast that the book ends with a 14 page list of references followed by a list of bibliography that spans 12 pages. 1d
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Memories and travel. There is more alike to them than meets the eye. We travel to both live in the moment whilst simultaneously making memories. The "making" process is something that eludes us, atleast when we are enacting moments that eventually transcend into memories. And then, when the days get too cold, cold enough for snow,we stoke the fires of nostalgia, both consciously and unconsciously, through these very memories(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Jessica Au's delicately understated and melancholic novella COLD ENOUGH FOR SNOW, is about one such trip that more often than not relies on memory. There are instances of the "making" of memories, like clicking photographs near monuments or purchasing gifts for loved ones or the very act of following an itinerary..... 5d
nathandrake1997 ....This is a novella about travelling. But, its not merely about the "place to place" travelling. The "travelling" that occurs in this book is more of the introspective and contemplative kind. Set during a trip that a mother and daughter embark on to Japan, the novella plays out like a travelogue..... 5d
nathandrake1997 ....But, its not the usual kind of travelogue. While mother and daughter are traveling from one place to another, the "places" that the novella is instead interested in are memories. From an earlier visit to Hong Kong to an unrequited love story of a certain uncle, these memories span a gamut of emotional tonalities. Each landmark visited in the trip is marked by the memory it evokes.... 5d
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nathandrake1997 ....So, in a way there is a lot of "travelling" here, but not the kind one usually reads about. Here, the travelling is more through time than space.... 5d
nathandrake1997 ....The "snow" in the title could also be an allusion to the nature of memories. While an imprint of them remains in our conscience, its usual form melts and deforms as time passes. And this formal deformation informs the form of Jessica's prose.... 5d
nathandrake1997 ....Each memory is mentioned in a manner that feels as fleeting as a flake of snow would, or rather, how the act of grabbing a flake of snow would feel. While the flake of snow itself melts upon contact, the shiver it sends through our bodies stays with us for a while.... 5d
nathandrake1997 ....And those shivers could also be an allusion to the nature of memories. Some of them lead to butterflies in our stomach while some of them lead to shivers in our spine. While poles apart, memories are shivers nevertheless. 5d
rockpools Beautiful review! 5d
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Simple Passion | Annie Ernaux, Tanya Leslie
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2017, The garden outside the Louvre museum, Paris. A subtly windy afternoon. Standing in a queue outside a stall selling baguettes and coffee. My turn arrives. The barista turns towards me and asks me about my order. I stand there unable to utter a word because.....I know, as cliched as this sounds.....I was smitten the moment I saw him....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....He was waiting for me to place an order. If memory serves me right, he probably had a book beside the coffee machine. A book in French. My mom interrupts the moment and asks me to place my order fast. Snapped back to reality, I fumble my way through words and place an order for a chicken baguette and an Americano with an extra espresso shot.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....Then, my hands fumble their way through my wallet and tender exact change. The fact that I managed to fish out exact change from my wallet sounds unfathomable in retrospect. Was it exact change? Or is memory being its malleable self yet?.... 7d
nathandrake1997 .....In retrospect, I wish I had asked the name of the book lying beside the coffee machine, so that I could find an English translation and retain a sliver of him. At times, I still wonder if he is still working at the coffee and baguette stall or has he moved on? .... 7d
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nathandrake1997 ....Reading Ernaux makes me wander recesses of my memory that otherwise might be fleeting in nature. I have since been smitten by numerous men, the fact that none of those instances went beyond the "smitten" stage is a different story altogether, a memory probably waiting to be dug out by a different Ernaux book.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....Ernaux is often addressed to as a "diarist" and there couldn't be a label more apt to describe Ernaux's prose. Rather than conforming to the usual literary framework of contemporary literature, Ernaux's prose instead feels like those instances when you revisit entries from a diary one once used to religiously keep, until life happened. Ernaux's SIMPLE PASSION feels like one such instance.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....Chronicling a year long extramarital affair Ernaux embarks on with a married man, this is not the usual "first sighting - secret courtship - ensuing drama" arc. In fact, we never really find out how the two of them met. What Ernaux instead chronicles is the emotional experience of embarking on an extramarital affair..... 7d
nathandrake1997 .....The book opens with Ernaux's first viewing of an "X-rated" film and discussing in detail that feels both blurry yet detailed. While the faces are pixelated, the genitals are clearly visible. While the expressions of the participants are indecipherable, the sperm oozing out of the man's penis is clearly visible.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....This could be interpreted as an allegory to the form that Ernaux frames the book in. And sex does play a huge part in the book. A considerable portion of the book is about Ernaux's longing for this man she chooses to address as "A". But, as the title "SIMPLE PASSION" alludes to, the book is.....simply about passion. The "passion" here being both emotional and sexual in nature, both intertwining in more ways than one.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....For example, she writes about how constantly thinking about her lovemaking with A is like her brain having an orgasm. Orgasms play a significant part in the book as well, a part in fact more significant than sex itself. But, its not about an orgasm being merely a sexual concept. In a way, the book is more concerned about what it feels like to experience an orgasm than chronicling the orgasm itself.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....In one instance, Ernaux talks about how she doesn't take a shower until the next day after making love to A so that she can retain his sperm inside her for a bit longer. There are many more instances of similar "prolonging" that is in some way or the other connected to the orgasms she experienced with A.. 7d
nathandrake1997 ....These orgasms in a way form imprints in Ernaux's memory about this particular liaison, imprints she traces in its at times clear, at times smudged existence to recreate a memory, a memory then leads to several memories and these several memories lead to an entire year.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....The year following the year of the liaison is the year in which she documents said liaison. So what we in a way get is a meta narrative about recording a narrative.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....I have tried and royally failed to describe what the book actually is. And, as strange as it sounds, that is the beauty of Ernaux's pared back yet evocative prose. Its always more about what one feels than how it is constructed.... 7d
nathandrake1997 ....True to the title, the book is simply about the passion she felt for a married man. But, it is the kind of simplicity that is layered and nuanced where Ernaux demands the reader to read the subtext along with the text itself. 7d
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Sterling Karat Gold | Isabel Waidner
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Sterling Beckenbauer. A non binary individual walking down a street minding their own business. A bunch of bullfighters gang up around them and provoke Sterling into an unsolicited bullfight. Before long, a football referee suddenly appears and disperses the crowd. A few days later, Sterling gets arrested because of this bullfight in which they didn't even want to be a part of in the first place...(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Sounds like a load of nonsense, right? A bullfight occurring randomly on a street and a football referee quelling the fight? And Sterling being the only one from this bullfight being arrested?.... 1w
nathandrake1997 .....Now, what if, those bullfighters were actually a bunch of police officers ganging up on Sterling and gaslighting them into inciting violence and later arresting them on the grounds of being violent towards a law enforcement official? And Sterling being the sole target because they are transgender?.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....Now, even though logically it might not make sense, it sounds scarily relevant, right? Could there be any plausible explanation justifying in "rational" terms about law enforcers in various countries selectively targeting someone and inflicting violence upon them solely for their gender?.... 1w
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nathandrake1997 ....Any attempted rational explanation justifying the above question will undoubtedly sound like a load of nonsense.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....Isabel Waidner, a German-British transgender author, takes the inherent nonsense in the justification of the above question as a concept and weaves it into a stunning novella that defies form and is instead its own, dazzlingly original narrative structure that reaches for highs so dizzying that there is clearly no looking down from there.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....The aforementioned bullfight is one of the many allegories that Waidner uses to discuss systemic racism and violence against the transgender community. They do it with the kind of humor that is so razor sharp that it bleeds on contact.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....After Sterling is arrested, their trial takes place in Sterling's bathroom. Now this line might sound nonsensical at first glance as well. But imagine if a place one called home one day started feeling unfamiliar due to an autocratic regime determined to make one feel like an alien in their own home,.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....the reasons used by the autocracy will undoubtedly sound like a load of nonsense, but since they are in power, they are able to wield the law their way and gaslight one into thinking that they do not belong in their home anymore..... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....I have expressed how I dont recognise with the gender assigned to me at birth on multiple occasions here. Those occasions of expression felt liberating. But, while I have expressed my queer self on the internet, in real life though, the amount of people who know that I am queer can be counted on a single hand. The reason being, I am afraid.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....During my school days, I remember being beaten up on multiple occasions by my bullies for not conforming to "masculine" tenets. I was also gaslit on multiple occasions with phrases like "it's all in your head", "you should start hanging out with 'real men' " and many more phrases that send so many shivers down my spine that it ceases my finger from typing.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....On multiple occasions while reading STERLING KARAT GOLD, there were instances so scarily relatable that while the intention of Waidner was probably humor, it instead led to goosebumps.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....There were multiple instances when I almost audibly exclaimed remarks like "I wish I hadn't related to this!" or "I wish this wasn't so scarily relevant!" or "I wish being my own unfiltered self didn't have such a huge societal price tag!".... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....I know I'm yet again talking more about myself than the book itself. But, there are some books that do that to a reader. They make them realise that what they experience with the text draws from what they have experienced in life and that both scares and intrigues the reader..... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....While reading, I don't really seek comfort. On the contrary, the kind of prose I gravitate towards could be likened to a mirror. That to me sounds like a stronger statement of solidarity than comfort. Because, comfort after all is a temporary interlude in otherwise perpetual existential misery. 1w
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The Morning Star | Karl Ove Knausgaard
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The Morning Star. The star according to the Bible that guided the three kings towards the manger where Jesus Christ was born. A birth that signified death, since Christ was born to be sacrificed to atone for humankind's sins....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....The Morning Star in more contemporary times. An author fresh off the success of his landmark autobiographical series MY STRUGGLE writes about a supernova that impacts the lives of nine characters or true to the author's fashion "impacts the lives of nine characters but said characters are so absorbed in the mundanity of their day to day lives that the impact of this supernova is reduced to background noise".... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....The author is Karl Ove Knausgaard. He makes biblical allusions to his morning star as well, but instead of following a linear sequence of birth-life-death, Knausgaard views life through the lens of death.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....The aforementioned nine lives are people we have probably seen in our everyday existence. One is an author on a holiday that is turning tense due to his wife suffering a manic depression episode. One is a priest who conducts the funeral of a man who she saw merely hours ago. One is an "arts and culture" journalist who is covering the case of the disappearance of a rock band who are part of a satanic cult.... 1w
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nathandrake1997 ....The aforementioned descriptions might not necessarily sound "everyday". But that's where the "Knausgaard-ian" flavour of Knausgaard's prose comes to play. He grounds the magnificent to everyday mundanity.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....The previous paragraph is also an allusion to the way he treats the titular supernova as well. It provokes fantastical happenings like crabs crawling inside a dense forest, a person rising from the dead, people seeing ghosts, happenings of the ilk.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....But then, the characters are so absorbed in their everyday existence that the aforementioned fantastical happenings and the supernova itself turns into background noise.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....This is echoed in the way the star is talked about in the second half, mostly talked about through background murmuring, hearsay or news recordings emitted from a radio in the background.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....Fantasy novels usually are about characters' lives being impacted by a "fantastical" inciting incident. It could be a boon or an omen. Here though, Knausgaard tricks us into thinking that he is probably writing his first "fantasy" novel, or rather, his first "genre" novel.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....That is especially apparent in the first half when the events build up towards each character seeing the titular supernova. But then, the trick under Knausgaard's sleeve is revealed in the second half where instead of talking about how the characters' lives are impacted by the supernova, he instead talks about how events in their lives happen but they are not necessarily due to the supernova.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....This ambiguity in "event" is something Knausgaard retains till the end. By doing this, he cleverly writes not only an "anti-fantasy" novel, he also yet again writes a novel that defies "genre" classification.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....The strength of Knausgaard's prose lies in the fact that it doesn't necessarily conform to any literary tenet. He is after all known as "everyone's favourite author without an editor". For example: in a traditionally "edited" novel, a character going for a grocery run might be summed up in a single sentence.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....But in Knausgaard's prose though, not only does this grocery run span multiple pages, the end of the grocery run, the billing, also spans multiple lines. Any other writer might probably finish a character billing their groceries in a single line like "they paid for their groceries and left".... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....But in Knausgaard's case it is "they waited for their turn, they placed this belonging on the counter, that belonging on the counter, since they are a Knausgaard character they picked up a few cigarettes from the billing counter and placed them as well, after placing all the groceries they want to purchase they remove their credit card, enter the card in the machine, enter their pin when prompted.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....a 'payment accepted' message appears on the display of the machine, a receipt is printed out of the machine, they collect their card and the receipt and start placing their groceries in a bag and then they finally leave.".... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....The aforementioned example is probably a sample for a "make or break" deal for the reader while contemplating about whether they want to read Knausgaard or not. And, to add further context to the aforementioned contemplation, the "grocery run" instance happens multiple times in the book and each time it is written about in a maximalist manner as mentioned above.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....While Knausgaard's prose might seem maximalist at a glance, his prose actually is a lot more minimalist than meets the eye. While there are elaborate descriptions of the everyday happenings of the mundanity of daily life, buried under those elaborate descriptions are the thematic nuances that Knausgaard is aiming to portray.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....Although, in terms of themes, this is probably the most "maximalist" that Knausgaard has ever been. The key thematic conundrum of the book is about viewing life through the lens of death.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....This is something which Knausgaard contemplates both historically and existentially in this book. Knausgaard closes the book with an almost fifty page long essay about death that one of the key characters writes.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....In the essay, through the character's voice, Knausgaard muses about how life and death and everything that happens in between is something that has been contemplated about in various ancient existential texts, but they fail to solve a lot of key questions due to what in Knausgaard's eyes is a shared flaw among them, the lack of an "emotional" layer in these texts,.... 1w
nathandrake1997 .....a layer that is in a way the gateway for a human mind to engage with these texts cerebrally, he goes on to call these texts as "un-human" because these texts, although written by human hands lacks something which makes them inherently human and that something is "emotion".... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....This very "something" was then added by Greek philosophers and playwrights when they wrote their tragedies and comedies. These ancient Greek texts made the aforementioned "un-human" texts "human" by adding the human "emotion" layer.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....But, according to Knausgaard, they have a fatal flaw as well. While they rationalised "life" for the human mind by adding emotion, they forgot to rationalise "death". Hence death is something that still remains a mystery to the tenets of plausibility of the "rational human mind".... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....This essay also muses about the fact that whether time is as linear as perceived by humans or is there more to it than meets the eye. He cites various examples of ancient texts describing that the past, present and future run parallel to each other rather than the usual linear manner that the rational human mind has comforted itself into believing.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....Another aspect the essay talks about is the fact that the middle ages had an abundance of "miracles" because they chose to believe in miracles while miracles have vanished in contemporary times since people have ceased to believe in them. According to this essay, what's visible to oneself is what one's rational mind chooses to believe as "rational".... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....But also according to the essay, this "rationality" is what is preventing the human mind from understanding the phenomenon of death or to be more precise, what exactly happens after death? Is there an afterlife? Is it nothing but a switch turned biologically off? Does a person actually ever die?.... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....These and many existential questions of the ilk is something that Knausgaard leaves to the readers to contemplate. While he provides us context on the aforementioned questions through his subjective perspective, he is mature enough to be upfront about the fact that the context he is providing is indeed "subjective" from his lens through which he views life... 1w
nathandrake1997 ....and if the reader wants answers, all they can get are answers viewed through their subjective lenses through which they view life. 1w
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Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan
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Bill Furlong, a Dickensian gentleman who ticks all the "good boxes" (good husband, good father, good neighbour and maybe a good son), is a timber and coal merchant who spends his day dropping off orders of timber and coal to his clients.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Before our rendezvous with Bill though, we are introduced to the world he inhabits. 80's Ireland in festive season, a few days shy from Christmas. There are meat pies to be baked, furnaces to be stoked, hot whisky to be chugged. But, amidst this festive cheer is lurking something really sinister.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....That something sinister being the abhorrent Magdalene Laundries, a catholic run crime ring where women that a patriarchal society considers of "ill repute" are caged and exploited while their illegitimate children are forcefully put up for adoption at high prices.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Bill delivers timber and coal to one such dubious establishment. Bill is aware that not everything about this particular business transaction is as it seems on the surface, but is rendered in a position of helplessness due to the world he inhabits.... 2w
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nathandrake1997 ....So far, it seems like one of those "helpless cog in a larger machine" stories. And when Keegan sticks to that particular framework, her prose soars.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....There is a particularly poignant segment half way through when Bill spots a victim of the Magdalene Laundries and while interacting with the perpetrator, has to come to terms with his existential helplessness, drives the themes of the novella home in a poignant manner.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....We see Bill being a family man while unwittingly helping a ghastly institution that wrecks families. This moral conundrum lends the novella its heft and layered complexity.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....It drives the point home that for better or worse, this is a "human" story and more often than not, the "human experience" and helplessness go hand in hand. And that seems to be the point that Keegan is trying to make. Until....she doesn't.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Towards the end, the novel abruptly shifts in an optimistic direction where Keegan leads her protagonist to perform an act that feels so out-of-character that it took me a few moments to come to terms with the fact that the conclusion and the moments preceding it are part of the same novella.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....For the first two thirds of the novella, Bill is trying to come to terms with the helplessness of his participation in this atrocious situation. But then the sudden pivoting in a "oh I know what's happening is quite bad but there is so much good that has happened as well" feels difficult to buy into because Bill is a regular Joe.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Yes, regular men can be heroes, but what doesn't work with Keegan's approach is the startling lack of nuance while handling this thematic and emotional shift. The transition from "helpless pessimism" to "hopeful optimism" needed more scenes, more moments, probably more layers to Bill's character as well.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....A lack of the aforementioned things leads one to think of the novella committing an act of thematic dishonesty. I'm not sure how well this comment will age....but the last third of this novella evoked the thematic and emotional dishonesty of an Ayan Mukerji film.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, SMALL THINGS LIKE THESE worked for me until it didn't. 2w
BarbaraBB You‘re the first so-so review I‘ve read but you make perfectly clear why it didn‘t completely work for you 2w
BookwormM I didn‘t get on with this one either but that was because I felt it was too saccharine and because for this particular story I felt a female narrative would be more appropriate say Bill‘s wife also would have liked to hear more from a Magdalene‘s point of view 2w
batsy Appreciate your review! I was feeling quite monstrous for not being sold on this book like others have—I felt the ending was too neat, and in a way kind of emotionally manipulative. Which bummed me out, because I really loved how she set the scene and wrote about his inner conflicts and turmoil. 2w
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB When the longlist was revealed, I was actually rooting for this novella because I love novellas. But, when I finally got a chance to read it, I was genuinely heartbroken by how disappointing the novella turned out to be! 6d
nathandrake1997 @BookwormM Bill's wife would have been a much better narrator. Also, I wish the Magdalene Laundries subplot was more fleshed out. 6d
nathandrake1997 @batsy I found the ending manipulative as well. For a novella about something as ghastly as the Magdalene Laundries, ending on a "so a lot of bad has happened, but a lot of good has happened as well" note left a really sour aftertaste in my mouth. 6d
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Treacle Walker | ALAN. GARNER
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Joe. A precocious kid who lives alone. In a distant land, free from the trappings of a certain phenomenon known as "adulthood"....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....Treacle Walker. A merchant of both enchanting and dubious wares. Arrives one day on Joe's doorstep. Trades a few wares signifying Joe's childhood innocence for a rag and a bone, two tools probably being the first glimpse to Joe of a certain phenomenon known as "adulthood"?.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Joe and Treacle Walker then start trading stories of distant places, distant times, fantastical places, fantastical times, mythological places, mythological times and an unconventional friendship is almost formed....yes....almost..... 2w
nathandrake1997 .....Joe wants to be friends with Treacle Walker, but is a bit wary of him as well. Probably wary because he radiates a certain stench, the stench of the "adult" world. A world he is happily distant from.... 2w
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nathandrake1997 ....Adulthood, a smorgasbord of false promises. As a child it appears enchanting, the alleged "freedom" being one of its most deceptive kind of scent.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....But once we enter that certain existential door, the force of the door slamming shut makes us fall face down on the unpaved ground and the resulting bruises are the first signs of initiation into the phenomenon known as "adulthood".... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Joe stumbles upon a bog. One of the dead in the bog strikes up a conversation with Joe and when the name "Treacle Walker" is mentioned, the dead cautions Joe of the dubious charm of Treacle Walker by denouncing him with a barb stating "I'd not trust that one's arse with a fart!".... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Joe seems puzzled about what to do. While his "almost" friendship with Treacle Walker is gaining depth, the murky depths of the bog warn otherwise!... 2w
nathandrake1997 ...Adulthood is a phenomenon that one looked up to almost "mythically" when one is a kid. That's where the formal decision of Garner to lace Treacle Walker's utterances to Joe with a decadently deep dollop of mythology and folklore hits home the most.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....The various references that Treacle Walker uses might be lost at first glance for an international reader. Now, this is where the reader has two options: either take the "adult" route and go down the internet rabbit hole.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....or instead take the "child" route and hear what Treacle Walker has to say and either be struck with wonder at the prospect of something potentially alluring or let that shiver run down your spine at the prospect of something terrifying, keeping the ambiguity intact and leaving the talisman of "meaning" wrapped around Treacle Walker's neck instead.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Alan Garner, in a mere span of 152 pages, manages the rare feat of writing both the most innocent yet the most deceptive novella about childhood. Innocent because of Joe, deceptive because of Treacle Walker.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....There is a lot to Garner's literary form than meets the eye. His prose appears innocent and simple at first, almost deceptively simple. But then Treacle Walker arrives and with him does his bag of references and layers as well. 2w
nathandrake1997 ....That's where the almost "blanching a spinach" kind of formal shock is inflicted upon the reader by the prose. This is the "make it or break it" deal the reader has to broker with the novella.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....We have heard tomes being crowned as an author's magnum opus, but we seldom hear such claims for a novella. Maybe we can change that by crowning TREACLE WALKER as the magnum opus of Garner's illustrious career. 2w
batsy Gonna come back to this review once I've read it! 2w
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After Sappho | Selby Wynn Schwartz
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I recently wore a pair of shorts that I thought were mine and I felt so comfortable in it in a way I haven't felt wearing any article of clothing in a while. I walked into the dining area and was immediately laughed upon by my folks for accidentally wearing my sister's pair of shorts....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....While I felt embarrassed by the slip up at the moment, it also made me realise that this was one of my first instances of cross dressing, a desire I have always harboured, and in a way it made me smile. I always wanted to try my sister's wardrobe in some point.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....A few months back, I was at my aunt's place. My niece was playfully applying nailpolish on everyone's fingers. While every one else feigned irritation, I was actually looking forward to my turn and honestly, my niece is quite adept at applying an exquisite shade of nailpolish..... 2w
nathandrake1997 .... I wish I had clicked pictures of my hands back then as a keepsake. While I got laughed upon by my aunt as well as all my relatives whenever they saw my nails adorned with nailpolish, the sight of those nails brought a fleetingly rare smile on my face.... 2w
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nathandrake1997 ....My mom has exquisite taste in selecting clothing, especially sarees. Whenever she selects a great piece of clothing, my first thought is "wish I could try that someday!". Well, life has taught me that wishes are pipe dreams, but I guess in a fairer world, this would be a harmless wish.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....One of my friends affectionately called me "Didi" (English translation: elder sister) for a while and I don't know if she knows it, but it immediately brought a smile to my face..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....The male gender, a gender I have been assigned to in birth, is something I have never felt comfortable in. I once remember having a conversation with a friend and mentioning my desire to transition.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Selby Wynn Schwartz's AFTER SAPPHO is about trailblazing feminists gloriously embracing womanhood and sapphism while shattering the shackles imposed by patriarchal stereotypes..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....It is not merely stereotypes that get the razor's edge of Schwartz's gloriously sharp satire, Selby also flings some much needed barbs at the problematically patriarchal inner workings of a suffocatingly archaic bureaucracy.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Written in the form of fragments that segues from one iconic feminist to another, the form feels fitting, especially in context with the fact that although Sappho's poetry survives in fragments, the echoes of those fragments continue to echo from generation to generation and even though patriarchy does its laughable worse to stifle these echoes, the echoes then reverb with an even more resounding clarity.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....AFTER SAPPHO is a masterwork meant to be read, re-read, passed on to family and acquaintances and just like Selby echoes Sappho's voice through taking the work of trailblazing feminists in context, it is our jobs as readers to take Selby's trailblazing work and let it shout its glorious echoes.... 2w
nathandrake1997 .....It is an absolute shame that this formally dazzling and thematically rich feminist masterpiece was not included in this year's Booker Shortlist, because this is not only a book that deserves to be on that shortlist, it is one that deserves to win..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....AFTER SAPPHO is a novel that I'll forever be indebted to for giving me the courage to embrace my inner womanhood ❤️ 2w
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The Six Thousand Ship. An intergalactic spaceship meant to transport a species to another "habitable" planet once their planet of previous habitat has been reduced to ecological ruin. The ship needs to travel quite a distance. In order to keep the ship functioning, the passengers need to be kept "productive"....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....There are two kinds of passengers on board: humans and humanoids. The humanoids were created to resemble as closely to their human peers as possible, while at the same time, also to fill the existential gaps that the "human experience" renders in a human being, so that productivity in the ship can be increased.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....There is a room in the ship where certain objects are stored, objects meant to remind the passengers of their "Earthly" connection. A committee has been established to conduct interviews of both the humans and the humanoids about their relationship with these objects and the consensus of these interviews will be used to improve productivity on the ship.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....Now, the above synopsis sets the stage for Olga Ravn's delicately melancholic existential novella THE EMPLOYEES. The narrative structure is a fragmented form wherein each fragment is an interview of a passenger. The passenger can either be a human or a humanoid.... 3w
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nathandrake1997 ....The fragments initially appear to be arranged out of order because numerically the fragments indicate so. But, while reading between the lines for thematic nuances, one realises that in a way these fragments are indeed arranged in order, only that the order is thematic rather than numeric.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....In the initial fragments, the passengers talk about their relationship with the aforementioned objects, mainly about how in some or the other way it reminds the human passengers of "home" while the humanoid passengers experience a spark of curiosity pertaining to the human experience.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....But as the fragments pass by, the musings get more existential. From humans questioning the purpose of this seemingly never ending journey to humanoids wondering whether "productivity" is all there is to existence.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....The humans also gradually start musing about the point or rather the pointlessness of life, especially on the thought tangent that whether life is worth preserving in these circumstances when day to day existence doesn't even resemble the human experience anymore.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....In one of the most evocative fragments, a woman muses about a recurring dream she has about her burning her dress and the dress turning into violet eggs before burning away. She is in charge of disposing malfunctioning humanoids. Humanoids turn into violet eggs before burning away completely.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....Eggs are usually related with birth and the burning away of an egg in this context can be interpreted as a subconscious desire of the woman to wither away from existence. Maybe her mind is writing a visually vivid suicide note while physically she is constrained with the indoctrinated notion of "being productive".... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....The above example is one of the many instances of symbolic allusions to existential experiences that Ravn masterfully weaves within the mosaic of a formal fabric that presents a thematic whole to the readers willing to partake in the aforementioned weaving along with Ravn.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....In many instances, Ravn's writing, while gloriously original, also evokes intriguing influences that feel like an homage rather than mere imitation.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....Some fragments speak about a potential romance brewing between a human and a humanoid passenger, echoing Andrei Tarkovsky's science fiction masterpiece SOLARIS (1972) while the later fragments where passengers contemplate about terminating the program at the face of impending doom reminds one of the penultimate scene in Tarkovsky's final and often overlooked masterpiece THE SACRIFICE (1986).... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....where one of the principal characters burns down his house along with all his possessions while attempting to escape into the unknown out of fear of the impending doom imminent to be caused by the nuclear war that has broken out.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....Along with Tarkovsky, one can even find references to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science fiction classic 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, especially during the instance when one of the fragments is about a rogue humanoid who, after murdering a human passenger, is talking about how humans are detrimental to the program and speaks about his despicable actions in a positive light... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....because the rogue humanoid feels like he has contributed to the "productivity" of the program and wouldn't think twice before perpetrating a similar crime again. Reminds one of HAL 9000, right? 3w
nathandrake1997 ....There are many more potential references I probably missed, a prospect more than enticing for an undoubted re-read! 3w
nathandrake1997 ....Inspite of its concise 125 page length, this is a novella so thematically rich that it has a lot to offer both on the first read as well as in subsequent re-reads.... 3w
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, Olga Ravn's magnificent novella THE EMPLOYEES is that rare literary miracle that is concise in form and encyclopaedic in scope ❤️ 3w
batsy I found that it evoked Solaris and Space Odyssey, too! Felt like a written form of those visual wonders. I haven't watched The Sacrifice and shall make a note to do so. 3w
nathandrake1997 @batsy If Tarkovsky had written a novel, it would have been something like this ❤️ 3w
batsy I just saw that when I reviewed it a year ago I also felt it had Solaris vibes 💜 3w
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On what should have been a regular morning, Anders, a white cis-hetero man, wakes up to find that his skin colour has changed to a darker tone. He finds this change so unfathomable that for the first few days he refuses to go to work. An absence he is granted rather easily inspite of his boss uttering empty threats like "you better be dead", because, according to his boss, he is still a white cis-hetero man....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Anders is so scarred by this change in skin tone that for the first few days, he even refuses to go on a grocery run and instead survives on protein powder. The first person he comes out to about this change is his girlfriend Oona. Now, this coming out provokes an initial reaction of shock but gradually leads to a night of lovemaking.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....This "coming out" instance is a comment on how while the tone of his skin colour has changed, he was once a white cis-hetero man and all thanks to his history of being white, the privileges associated with being white isn't something Anders has shed yet.
And that leads me to one of the prominent themes of Mohsin Hamid's latest Kafka-esqe novel THE LAST WHITE MAN. The theme being "privilege". Yes, privilege with double quotes....
nathandrake1997 ....Privilege is something which is so generatioanally and ubiquitously ingrained in our society that one feels that one can't notice it anymore unless highlighted. That's what Hamid's novel in a way is about, the highlighting of systematically ingrained privilege.... 1mo
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nathandrake1997 ....n order to understand Hamid's act of highlighting, one has to take in context what happens further in the novel. Gradually, more and more white cis-hetero people start changing their skin colour and initially when the ratio between white and "former white" is substantial, riots break out on a regular basis when white people desperately try to retain their "whiteness" and these attempts of retention often escalate to violence.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....But once the amount of "former white" people increases to the amount where almost the entire population turns into "former white", the violence dies down, since even though they were now of a different skin colour tone than they previously were, they probably acknowledge the fact that they were once white and hence, this transition to a "darker" skin tone is compatible with their bigoted lenses.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Towards the end of the novel, when Anders and Oona have a child, the only surviving grandparent, Oona's mother, teaches her grandchild about the "virtues of being white", because according to her, while the tone of their skin might have changed, they were still inherently "white" and that according to her is something that should be preserved and passed on to future generations..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Now, this might make one contemplate that the novel exclusively focuses on "white" people and yes Hamid does that, but, maybe I'm reading into this too much, Hamid's intentional "white" focus mirrors the white "first world" focus of the current affairs of our times.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....For example, while the heatwave in the United Kingdom made headlines, did we see even a remotely close amount of coverage for the devastating floods in Pakistan? This is one of the many instances where Hamid comments on the state of the world through form.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Talking about form, this is quite a formally innovative novel with its innovations being understated to the point where one might not be aware of it first.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....For example, it took me a while to understand that the novel is written in these long, paragraph spanning sentences, because, especially in part one, each of these sentences is crammed with so much "event" that just like the characters, the reader also isn't given breathing space to contemplate what just transpired! 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....This initially gives the impression of the novel being overstuffed. But once part 2 begins and once the "event" driven paragraph spanning sentences give way to the "existential musings" kind of paragraph spanning sentences, the novel becomes a lot more contemplative and gives the reader the space they need to ponder upon what's on the page.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....A few sentences back, I called the novel's formal innovations of being of the subtle kind. An example of formal innovation in a subtle manner is the aforementioned lovemaking scene. While the novel is narrated otherwise in a third person manner, during that sequence, Hamid subtly shifts to a second person perspective wherein the prose talks about the reader's reaction to the lovemaking rather than describing the lovemaking itself.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Once the sequence is over, the prose slips back to third person narration and this is done in a manner so spellbindingly seamless that it actually made my jaw drop.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Now, coming back to the paragraph spanning sentences, these sentences feel like the prose equivalent of the visual grammar of a long take in a film. The language feels so inherently cinematic that one can't help but visualise everything from the word go.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....While some sentences feel like the chaotic long takes one would find in a Lijo Jose Pellisery or an Alfonso Cuaron film, some sentences feel like a more visually still long take, the kind of which one might find in an Abbas Kiarostami or an Andrei Tarkovsky film.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The first few paragraphs of this write up might make the reader believe that I have given away too much of the plot and I admit, yes I have given away a bit too much, but inorder to provide context while talking about the themes of the novel, I felt it was essential to give parts of the plot away.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, Mohsin Hamid's latest is both topical and formally innovative and a novel I wish had made it to this year's Booker dozen! 1mo
BarbaraBB Very intriguing. I wasn‘t that interested in this book because of @Megabooks review but now I am again! #choices 1mo
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31st July 2021,

At a hospital after quite a while. Had an episode of dizziness a few days back and thought of getting it checked by my family doctor. He had ordered a few blood tests back when I consulted him a few days back via video call.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....So, I had to show him the reports as well. After hours of waiting, my number finally comes up and in we go. Doctor checks all the reports and says everything looks fine, but before leaving he says "his thyroid gland has swollen a bit, get a sonography done"..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The doctor conducting the sonography looks concerned while looking at the monitor..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....2nd August 2021,

At the hospital again, this time to show doctor my sonography reports. Our number arrives yet again after a long wait. Doctor sees the reports, looks concerned, orders a biopsy. We book the next available biopsy appointment which is after a few days....
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nathandrake1997 ....A few days later (can't remember the exact date 😅),

The doctor looks at the biopsy reports, refers me to one of his colleagues in the cancer department of the hospital....
nathandrake1997 ....On a certain Monday whose exact date I can't recall,

The doctor looks at my report and asks me to meet the surgeon in the hospital....
nathandrake1997 ....A few days later,

The first statement the surgeon utters after going through my reports "It is cancer. Thyroid cancer." But then, he makes attempts at glossing over the gravity of the situation with statements like "Thyroid cancer is a non topic in the doctor's circle" or "1 out of 4 people have thyroid cancer" and statements of the ilk. Then he says we will have to get a surgery done....
nathandrake1997 ....The next few days involve prep for surgery which also involves consuming calcium supplements since calcium levels drop to an alarming level after this particular surgery.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The day of the surgery arrives. The doctor makes small talk. The anaesthetist injects me with anesthesia and my eyes go shut.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....9 hours later, I wake up at the observation section of the operation theatre. The doctor walks in and says that "It was an excellent surgery! We managed to remove all visible nodes!".... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....I am shifted back to my room and I stay in the hospital for the next five days.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....My surgeon then sends me for radioiodene therapy to destroy nodes invisible to the naked eye..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....A month later the radioiodene therapy is done and in the post radioiodene scan, it is revealed that one node is still left. A node we can't do anything about until it grows to a significant size..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....That node is still present somewhere in my neck.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....While reading Maddie Mortimer's stunning debut MAPS OF OUR SPECTACULAR BODIES, I was wondering why does this book speak to me the way it does? Is it merely because of lived experience, or is it something else as well.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....While pondering about the above thought, I realised it is a lot of facets at play at once.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The most prominent one being the lyrical, dazzlingly fragmented form of the narrative structure. In the first half, we get two perspectives. One, of the protagonist Lia and her family, these parts are delivered in third person and are basically nonlinear events leading up to the diagnosis of the fact that Lia's breast cancer has spread to other areas of her body as well..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The second perspective is that of the cancer itself. This perspective is a first person stream of consciousness narration of everything and everyone around Lia..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The form makes a subtle yet gradually prominent shift in the second half. At first, we get the usual "third person Lia", "first person cancer" narrative style. But, then there is a gradual shift of voice at play here.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....The "cancer" fragments are written using a bold font. The cancer's voice starts making its presence in the "Lia" fragments of the book, at first it is just a line or two, but gradually, lines turn into paragraphs, paragraphs turn into pages and towards the end, pages turn into whole fragments and fragments turn into whole chapters.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....This continues until the "cancer" voice becomes the "Lia" voice. A phenomenon we often experience when one is diagnosed with a life threatening disease. The identity of the person being almost inseparable from the disease they have been diagnosed with..... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....I remember my surgeon insisting on the fact that "I have to forget that I have undergone a surgery." But, what does one do, when even a five minute conversation with a relative begins with "How is your health now?" In instances like this, the "health" question takes precedence even over the obligatory "recognised me?" question.... 1mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, MAPS OF OUR SPECTACULAR BODIES was a book that hit so close to home that I couldn't help but love it ❤️ 1mo
BarbaraBB You should write a book. Your reviews are fantastic. It‘s a wry story that aligns you with this book but you make perfectly clear why you love it. I did too 1mo
CarolynM What @BarbaraBB said. 1mo
batsy I'm sorry about your health struggle and I hope that the treatment you receive will help 💜 I agree with what @BarbaraBB said too and it's amazing how a book can appear at the right time and speak directly to you. 1mo
Suet624 You and your words are amazing. Thank you for sharing what must have been (and still could be) a frightening experience. This novel is stunning, immersive and so impactful. 1mo
charl08 Wonderful review. Thank you. 1mo
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A Town Called Solace | Mary Lawson
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Solace, 1972. Sixteen year old Rose runs away from home. The entire town is looking for her. Clara, her younger sister, visibly distraught, spends her entire day standing at the window, hoping that Rose would someday be back. Meanwhile, Liam, while going through a divorce, moves to Solace in an apartment he has inherited....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....The apartment used to belong to Elizabeth, who has recently passed away and a few days before her death, wrote a will stating that the house and all her possessions should be inherited by Liam. The apartment is the neighbouring apartment to Clara's.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Clara is initially suspicious that Liam is an intruder. But, her suspicions are kept at bay once the two of them strike a conversation. But, how and why Liam fits into this is something I'll let the reader discover for themselves.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....The book begins with a sequence of unpacking of cardboard boxes. Now this in a visually succinct manner tells us what the novel is all about. Under the guise of a "missing person mystery", we get a novel about unpacking, both literal and existential..... 2mo
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nathandrake1997 .....While the story on the surface is about the disappearance of Rose, the book ultimately is about unearthing the various layers of existence in an otherwise sleepy town disturbed by an untoward incident. We learn as much about the characters inhabiting the town as much as we learn about the town itself..... 2mo
nathandrake1997 .....The title "A TOWN CALLED SOLACE" makes a lot more sense in retrospect, because this is after all a town where solace exists only in name. The town itself is as unremarkable as an everyday town can get. A cafe, a bunch of houses, basically a town without the hustle and bustle of one.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....But does the lack of hustle and bustle mean the town is immune from hearsay? Well, in the case of Rose's disappearance, not really. On the contrary, maybe in an instance like this, one might wish that the town was a lot more busier. For the hearsay to die down amidst the clutter.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Anne Tyler has been quoted in the cover of the book and honestly, there are similarities between Lawson and Tyler's prose. Just like Tyler's work being predominantly set in Baltimore and the book ultimately being as much about Baltimore as the people inhabiting Baltimore, Lawson's book is as much about Solace as it is about the people inhabiting Solace. 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Solace in some ways feels more of a flesh and blood character than the people inhabiting it. Now, this is not a flaw, on the contrary this weaves new shades into the already rich tapestry of Lawson's prose.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....In a mere 288 pages, Lawson gives us a mystery, a snapshot of life in a sleepy town, the gossamer-esque nature of human relationships and existential musings.... especially coming from the perspective of a person counting their last days.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....The book is narrated from three perspectives. The first perspective is that of Clara, Rose's younger sister. The second perspective is that of Liam, a recently divorced accountant who has inherited the house of Elizabeth. The third perspective is of Elizabeth.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Clara is keeping vigilant watch for Rose while also taking care of Elizabeth's cat. Liam is moving into Elizabeth's house while arousing suspicion in Clara's mind. Meanwhile, during the "Elizabeth" chapters, we follow Elizabeth leading her final days in the hospital and how she is especially reflecting on a crime she committed thirty years ago.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....While Clara and Liam's chapters are narrated in third person, Elizabeth's chapters are narrated in first person. It is a gossamer of a narrative that weaves a thread so delicate yet layered that one is bowled over by the exquisite artistry at display. 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Lawson writes in a manner that is both understated and evocative. She uses subtlety to delicately place each strand of the ever increasing gossamer in a manner that one would place small chips to form a larger mosaic. She does so by intentionally keeping the reader at emotional distance until pivotal moments. This again is not a flaw.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....On the contrary, this emotional distance enhances the fly-on-the-wall perspective that the reader is viewing these events through. 2mo
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Earthlings | Sayaka Murata
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Usually, I talk about the book itself.... today, I want to talk about my reading experience. Because, there are a few books where one's subjective reaction to the text can be its most objective review.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Today, instead of merely talking about what the book itself did, I am rather going to talk about how the book made me feel.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....And boy did it make me feel quite a bit! From cringing my face in disgust to straining my facial muscles while laughing at yet another shockingly clever instance of pitch-black transgressive absurdist humor.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Yes, for all its trigger warnings, this is a book that makes one laugh and it is usually from instances one might not think about mining humor from.... 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....One of the most hilarious instances of the book occurs right after an attempted act of incest where in a father beats up his son.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....This whole sequence is treated in such a deliberately over the top manner which taken in context with the events preceding it results in a sequence so side-splittingly hilarious that my jaws and my stomach were aching for the next few pages..... 2mo
nathandrake1997 .....There is an undercurrent of deadpan humor throughout Sayaka Murata's EARTHLINGS and this in turn forms the "alien's eye" through which the book views human society and when viewed through this lens, probably nothing could be a better fit than humor because, as per the most pertinent question that the book poses, is there a species more inherently ridiculous than humankind? 2mo
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Young Mungo | Douglas Stuart
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In the opening pages of Douglas Stuart's stunning sophomore novel YOUNG MUNGO, 15 year old Mungo Hamilton is being sent on a fishing trip with two people named Christopher and Gallowgate, who his alcoholic mother Maureen has recently befriended. This trip in her eyes is all about making a "man" out of Mungo....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Set during the 80s in Glasgow, Mungo's world is one that is surrounded by hyper-masculinity and homophobia, to a stifling degree. Wherever he goes and whatever he does, the world around him in some shape or form doesn't fail to mention how Mungo needs to "be a man".... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....When Mungo Hamilton, who is a Protestant, and James, who is a Catholic, fall in love, the first thing they fear is Mungo's elder brother Hamish, who is this spine-chilling epitome of both toxic masculinity and homophobia..... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Now the reason I mentioned the "Protestant" and "Catholic" bits in the previous sentence is because Hamish has this inherent bigoted hatred for Catholics.... 2mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Now, coming back to the opening moments of the book, Mungo is silent throughout the trip. Christopher and Gallowgate are busy chatting away with barely a glance towards Mungo. Starting with regular anecdotes, they gradually start trading dirty, vulgar anecdotes.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....This opening sequence is a smart symbolic allusion to the psychological bildungsroman-esque journey Mungo has been unwillingly made to embark on.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....When we think about the journey itself from Mungo's eyes, being made to travel to a place that might as well can be described as "middle of nowhere" with two people that Mungo has absolutely no clue about, these two people who until a certain point continue to disregard Mungo's presence and start trading vulgar anecdotes at the drop of a hat,..... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....it tells us that this is a story about a boy being forced to take the fast lane to "growing up" while being forced to navigate said fast lane using the morally murky signboards strewn in the world around him. This is one of the many nods by Stuart to the structural nuances of his prose.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Nuance is something that can be found in abundance here, in fact, a lot more than his stunning Booker Prize 2020 winning debut SHUGGIE BAIN. While SHUGGIE BAIN was about the emotionally fragmented relationship between a child and his alcoholic mother, at first glance, YOUNG MUNGO appears like a retread of familiar ground for Stuart,.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....since this novel at first is also about the emotionally fragmented relationship between a child and his alcoholic mother. But what sets this novel apart from and in my opinion, a step above SHUGGIE BAIN, is the widening of narrative scope in Stuart's prose..... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....Here, along with chronicling the relationship between Mungo and his alcoholic mother Maureen, Stuart also elaborates on other facets of Mungo's life. His relationship with his siblings, the kind and ambitious Jodie and the nauseatingly toxic Hamish, is fleshed out in a much more layered and nuanced manner when compared to the fleeting way in which Stuart mentioned Shuggie's relationship with his siblings.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....And then, there is the central romance itself. A James Baldwin-esqe love story with Shakespearean undertones, the romance between Mungo and James is written in a manner so heartfelt that one can't help but be swept away by it.... 2mo
nathandrake1997 ....James is the owner of a doocot, a space where pigeons are caged. Their romance blooming in a doocot is an allusion to the fact that no matter how many flights of fancy they undertake, the world around them will always clip their wings at the first chance they get. 2mo
batsy "A James Baldwin-esque romance with Shakespearean undertones"—that sounds both lovely and devastating! Great review yet again. I really need to read this author. 2mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the book ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 2mo
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French Braid | Anne Tyler
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A family. A family of 2/3/4/etc, go on a holiday, spend said holiday and drive back home. Sounds like a set up ripe for drama, right? After all, books/movies/art in general about travel has a sweet spot in many a heart and part of the reason is probably the drama that ensues....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Now, how about drama whose emotional resonance is not felt immediately during the aforementioned holiday, but decades later on a seemingly mundane afternoon, that too in the absence of most of the participants of said occurrence of drama.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Anne Tyler's latest is about one such holiday a family takes and how its ripple effects are felt for generations to come. From the 1950s to 2020, we follow the Garrets from the first (and the only) holiday they take to them hosting extended family during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....What is the most interesting in Tyler's latest is the form. The family matriarch Mercy Garret is an artist. She visits her clients' homes and paints a portrait of the house after returning back to her studio..... 3mo
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nathandrake1997 ....The paintings themselves are abstract with one detail being fleshed out. That detail could either be a chair or a doormat. That detail, according to Mercy, is an encapsulation of the soul of the house.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Now, Tyler takes this concept and applies it to her narrative structure as well. Each chapter plays out like an episode that appears like it is building up to a potential something, but eventually ends on a moment rooted in the everyday. That "moment rooted in the everyday" is the encapsulation of the essence of the chapter we just read.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Tyler takes these "moments rooted in the everyday" as threads and weaves them into a tightly knit French braid, the French braid being the novel we end up reading.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Tyler keys the reader into the form she is presenting her novel in through allusions seamlessly woven into the narrative. One of them being a jigsaw puzzle that of all people, the children of the house are playing with. Children after all are the ones usually curious about their family history and what is a retelling of one's own family history if not a jigsaw puzzle.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is a lot of subtle depth in Tyler's writing. The key holiday scene itself could have been a trigger for drama and conflict, but even in its most heightened moments, Tyler keeps the writing grounded and understated, in a way telling us that even though this is fiction, what one is reading about are "everyday" people living "everyday" existences.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....In fact, the aforementioned "Mercy's paintings being an allusion to the form of the narrative" is introduced in a manner that is almost blurred in the background. While the family goes to the nearby lake for a swim, Mercy instead chooses to stay back and paint. This is the first ever mention of Mercy being a painter. The other detail mentioned in this instance is that her paintings are abstract in nature.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....It is more than halfway through that one realises that this otherwise mundane moment was actually our first glimpse into the form Tyler chose to present her narrative in.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Another formally interesting aspect of Tyler's writing is the way Baltimore is written about in this book. While her previous novel, the Booker 2020 longlisted REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, was set in Baltimore, FRENCH BRAID is a novel that is more "about Baltimore" than "in Baltimore".... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Characters are either travelling to or away from Baltimore. This "to and away" is used to form a narrative French braid of its own. While Baltimore itself is almost never the setting in the book, the presence of Baltimore nevertheless hovers over the book throughout.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Another interesting, and in retrospect the most profound, aspect of Tyler's prose is the way it comments on patriarchy. Just like everything else about the book, the depiction of patriarchy is rooted in the everyday as well.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....While the eldest son David being distant from his family during his college days and him eventually pursuing drama is considered by the family merely as "following his dreams", decades later, when Mercy decides to move to her studio to pursue painting full-time, it is almost looked down upon, to the point where Mercy is eventually coaxed to return back home every night in order to cook breakfast for her husband the next day.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Decades later, during the peak of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, David's daughter in law Juana is a frontline worker. David is concerned about her, but not about her health, but instead about "if she is working all the time then who is looking after the family?" This is coming from a man who at a certain point of his life was distant from his own family to "pursue his dreams"..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....The book is filled with many such examples and the eventual result is a book that deliberately fails the Bechdel test inorder to make a broader statement.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Overall, Anne Tyler's latest is an understated yet formally dazzling masterwork that makes for a quiet yet enthralling read. 3mo
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Nightcrawling: A novel | Leila Mottley
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Usually I write my thoughts on a book. But this time, it is going to be a bit different. I will express thoughts, but not on a tangent I usually ponder. After reading Leila Mottley's phenomenal debut novel NIGHTCRAWLING, the first thing that came to my mind is privilege.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....Yes, we are reading about a traumatic narrative inspired by a horrific true incident, but the key is we are "reading" it, which is completely different from experiencing it..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....While the protagonist of the novel Kiara is forced to take up sex work after an unfortunate chain of events, we readers on the other hand can close the book and brew or pour ourselves a cup of our favourite drink instead.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....The reason I am mentioning this is because most "negative" reviews of this book mention that they dnf'd the book in the first 100 pages because how it was about nothing but trauma..... 3mo
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nathandrake1997 .....Nothing but trauma", "too much trauma" and phrases of the ilk are commonplace in reviews dismissing this book. But, do the people victim to the ghastly events on which this book is inspired by have this option? 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....In some way, I feel Leila Mottley might have anticipated such a response. Because that is something which is evident in the rather understatedly innovative structure of the narrative.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Mottley spends the first 100 pages to list out everything that is going wrong with Kiara, from being forced to work as a sex worker in order to avoid potential homelessness to becoming a victim of a ghastly crime of sexual exploitation by the Oakland police department to the gradually withering ties of her relationship with her mother, brother, bestfriend and nephew, Kiara's story is not about "hope" or "resilience", 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....but rather a heartbreaking chronicle of a descent into hopelessness due to the world around her failing her one facet at a time. It takes a while until the main culprit, systemic racism, comes into picture..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Mottley saves that bit only for readers who are ready to be with Kiara even after the heart wrenching first 100 pages, because while there have been numerous instances of "systemic racism" gaining prominence in pop culture, has anything existentially changed in that regard? 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....The politician who talks about systemic racism gets elected, the actors playing roles in films about systemic racism end up winning awards and open a bottle of champagne, the white cis-hetero authors writing about systemic racism end up winning awards and they too open a bottle of champagne, 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....but, does anything actually change for the people upon whom said systemic racism is being inflicted? 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Mottley echoes this aforementioned existential hopelessness magnificently in her narrative structure. Usually, there is a set up followed by a catalyst for conflict followed by the conflict itself followed by either a resolution or an end at a note of ambiguity.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....What Mottley instead chooses to do is use the first 100 pages to chronicle the aforementioned catalysts, catalysts that find an echo later in the novel. For example, in the first 100 pages we learn that Kiara's father suddenly started pissing blood and his health deteriorated and he eventually passed away.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Kiara's mother blames the time Kiara's father spent in the prison for this. Now this makes one contemplate that Kiara's father probably contracted a venereal disease due to facing abuse in the prison. But then, in the second half, we learn that Kiara's father actually passed away due to prostate cancer..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Similarly, other facets of the novel are layered and developed upon using such echoes as well. The aforementioned example is also a formal way of commenting upon how one from a more privileged point of view is conditioned to perceive trauma in a generalised manner.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....There are other instances of formal brilliance as well. One of them being about Kiara reading Trevor the second HARRY POTTER book, a work of fiction by a white transphobic cis-hetero author, as a bedtime story.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....This in turn is an indirect comment on the fragmented nature of "solidarity" expressed by people from a position of privilege. How, people of privilege who otherwise claim to be in solidarity with marginalised communities eventually end up still supporting the very people perpetrating harmful stereotypes.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....This support in turn helps the aforementioned problematic people to rise back to prominence and before long, they are back to perpetrating harmful stereotypes again.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Their work becomes so prominent that beyond a point, the most prominent and accessible means of something as "everyday" and comforting as a "bedtime story" is work infested with harmful stereotypes..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Mottley's writing is angry, but there is an astounding amount of nuance in the anger that one can't help but be moved. This indeed is "the great debut novel of our times." 3mo
TrishB Great set of thoughts! 3mo
BarbaraBB Wow. I just finished the book and I am glad I reurned to your review. 2mo
Suet624 What a fantastic post. Thank you. This story is bleak but it‘s real. Sometimes I wonder why I always go for the books that hurt but then I wonder why people are so afraid to experience such a mild form of pain considering the fact that events like these happen so often to way too many people. You nailed it. It‘s privilege. 1mo
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Signe is sitting on a bench beside her house and is looking at a fire blazing a distance away from her. It is a bonfire lit on the banks of a river.Asle has taken his boat down the river and is supposed to be back soon....(continued in the comments)

nathandrake1997 .....But Asle is also trying to spend time with his grandma Aliss by the fire.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Asle's boat capsized, the river was freezing, Asle probably died of hypothermia.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....But Asle is also telling his grandmother Aliss that she is his favorite and Aliss says likewise. Asle lived only till seven.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....But....wasn't Asle supposed to be married to Signe?.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....In Jon Fosse's melancholically hypnotic novella ALISS AT THE FIRE, the tidal wave of grief sends ripples down generations, a wave that breaks one's subjective perception of the space-time continuum and renders the usually perceived linear continuity of time obsolete where generations of a family inhabit the same time and space and while the embers burn down, the flickers still remain. 3mo
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Conversations, an indelible part of our day to day lives. Sometimes free flowing, sometimes rigid and formulaic, sometimes mushy and heartfelt, sometimes cold and calculated, sometimes this, sometimes that. Can something as impulsive as a conversation ever be defined? Is merely "a talk between two or more people" enough? (Also Google, couldn't you find a more laughably simplistic and shallow definition than this?)....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....But, what is Google if not a shallow and at most times misleading mirror of the world around us.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Sally Rooney might have read this definition and thought "wait a minute....that's not how a conversation works!"..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....In an attempt to show the Google definition its shallowness, Rooney writes a magnificently layered novel as an answer. A novel that exquisitely taps into the zeitgeist of our times and gives us a nuanced portrayal of human relationships in the age of the internet..... 3mo
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nathandrake1997 ....From a surface level perspective, this might feel like yet another "love triangle" romance novel, but what sets this apart from most stories following the aforementioned template are the nuances.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is a story about infidelity, but one that doesn't train a judgemental eye on infidelity. Instead, it asks the question, that if humans are impulsive beings, can't the relationships they form be so as well?.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....It's a tough question to ask, especially with society's tendency to put fidelity, especially monogamy on a pedestal. Desire by definition is in a way impulse. So, doesn't it feel at odds when tied to something as restrictive as monogamy?.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....Rooney in usual fashion doesn't give us answers but instead trusts her readers to be smart enough to contemplate these morally ambiguous questions. She writes in a manner that feels both concise and sprawling at the same time, in a way, she probably is the Hemingway of our times..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....And, this might sound a bit outrageous, but while writing about human relationships, Rooney in my opinion outshines Hemingway and to be honest, most of her predecessors and contemporaries..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Rooney makes a comment on polygamy through form as well. Instead of committing her narrative to a single framework, she uses multiple plot devices at once, from first person narration to text messages to emails to anecdotes, this formal polygamy adds depth and texture to her writing in ways I have seldom seen.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....So, after having finally read all three of her published novels, I feel Rooney's writing has a lot more depth and nuance then she gets credit for. The minimalism in her moment to moment writing in particular is a stand out when compared to her peers and it is only fitting that her debut is one of the greatest debuts of our times. 3mo
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The Book of Mother: A Novel | Violaine Huisman
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Trigger warning: Grief, mental health, suicide
Grief, you unfathomable gossamer of an emotion. You always have this nasty habit of swooping in at the most inopportune moment. Some of us were probably having their evening cup of tea/coffee, some of us were probably walking our way back home after a film screening, some of us were probably having supper, some of us had probably just woken up....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....in a way all of us were in the middle of something, when lo and behold, you barge into our existence akin to an uninvited guest. The tone of my aforementioned sentences sounds angry? Well, the closest to a courtesy you could have done was probably given us some form of notice? 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....It was supposed to be just like any other morning. I was supposed to go to the restroom as soon as waking up. But when I opened the door, you decided to show me your uninvited face instead. And, it's almost been two years since, but you still refuse to leave.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Violaine was supposed to go to work. But you instead decided to barge into her life through a phone call and in doing so, you rendered looking at the sun through a train window in a completely different context for her. A context that bears your indelible stamp.... 3mo
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nathandrake1997 .....Catherine,

When we are young, people hype life up as a boulevard. Only while growing up, we realise the boulevard is actually a boulevard of broken dreams.....
nathandrake1997 .....Every turn unfathomably steep, every path strewn with infinitesimal yet piercing shards of glass, every choice a veiled instance of disappointment, disappointment is a gross understatement, every ray of sunlight a subtle yet profound threat of what lies ahead..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....When you spoke about how you wanted to avenge your existence by retaliating against the root of all the debris strewn in its path, life itself, my heart wept along with yours, because life has dealt us a hand whose grasp we'd rather miss had we known. Had we known.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....THE BOOK OF MOTHER is Violaine Huisman's debut novel, an attempt for her to make sense of her grief, doing so by telling the story of her mother Catherine who was depressed her entire life and commited suicide at the age of 62..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....Huisman calls her narrative form as "a story in search of a form". We get first person monologues, third person narration, occasional poetry, occasional historical vignettes, a kaleidoscope of a form that presents a picture both fragmented and vivid.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....In a way, its not about what the fragments eventually coalesce into, but rather about what said coalescence makes us feel. And what it makes us feel is probably the answer that Huisman is looking for. 3mo
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Sara has lost her grandmother. As a coping mechanism, she is practicing archery. The single minded focus required to fire an arrow that hits a target helps her cohere the clutter of her headspace to a single point. The targets are probably torn into splinters/fragments once the arrow strikes. These targets turned into fragments is something that Jana Bodnárová mirrors in form in her exquisite novel NECKLACE/CHOKER...(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....As the subtitle indicates, this is "a small novel in fragments". The fragments are divided into three subsets ("Then- sometime way back in the past", "Meanwhile- somewhere between the 50s and 60s although at times even further", "Now- present"). 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....This led me to think, in most books, "fragments" sounds more resonant than "chapters". Because, a "chapter" sounds a lot more definitive, as in, something that begins and ends in its span. On the other hand, a "fragment" is a part of a larger whole, something that doesn't need to be self contained by definition..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....So, maybe classifying each segment of most books as "fragments" instead of "chapters" makes more sense from a theoretical standpoint, but maybe, I am a bit scared about "fragments" becoming ubiquitous in the fear that it would lose its essence for me ? 3mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Partly because some of my favourite books (THE BOOK OF DISQUIET by Fernando Pessoa, FLIGHTS by Olga Tokarczuk, SCENES FROM A CHILDHOOD by Jon Fosse) are divided into fragments and Jana Bodnárová's exquisite NECKLACE/CHOKER joins that league as well..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....This is a book where the past mirrors the present which in turn deflects it to a far reaching prism through which it is refracted back to the mirror and the resultant intensity shatters the mirror into fragments and we get to witness both the individual fragments themselves and the glorious shattering of the mirror in a space and time bending literary marvel that in my opinion defies classification. 3mo
batsy I haven't heard of this. Your review is fascinating! 3mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Prose written in fragments is slowly becoming my favourite writing style ❤️ 3mo
Suet624 I just took a snapshot of your favorite books that you‘ve mentioned. I‘ll have to track them down. 3mo
12 likes8 comments
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If the first volume (MY BRILLIANT FRIEND) was about childhood and the second volume (THE STORY OF A NEW NAME) was about growing up, then this volume (THOSE WHO LEAVE AND THOSE WHO STAY) is about one particular facet of growing up, letting go.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....How it almost always sounds easy on paper and how the act of letting go from an existential standpoint is akin to walking on a carpet woven using shards of glass with every edge with every edge leaving its own subjective bruise. When viewed from a panoramic perspective, this carpet might be visible as one single coherent frame. 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....But look a bit closer, and one can spot that this carpet is a mosaic with each shard varying in size and sharpness.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Each chapter can be viewed as its own shard. Each shard varies in size. Some are barely a page long while some span more than five pages. The chapters are bite sized because that's how shards are, but the edges nevertheless leave bruises in their wake. 3mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Bruises that one barely has the time to nurse before the next one is inflicted. The bruises are raw wounds, the kind on which the prose then acts as salt being mercilessly sprinkled upon. That too precisely at the moment when the bruise is on the cusp of healing, but a sliver of it is still bare..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Ferrante's prose is at times salt, at times pincer, at times a deceptive balm that actually turns out to be something acidic masquerading as one. 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....While a lot could be said about each character, it is the picture that all of them end up cohering into that turns out to be the most interesting. And the picture might as well be the author masquerading under the pseudonym "Elena Ferrante"..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....Each character might as well represent a facet of Ferrante herself. Now, this is pure speculation, but judging by the often attributed autobiographical roots of this quartet, I won't be surprised if this eventually ends up being the case.... 3mo
nathandrake1997 ....The guessing game that almost the entire literary world is engaged in might as well draw its most potent clues from Ferrante's prose itself. This volume in particular has subtle yet profound probable allusions to why Ferrante chooses to write under a pseudonym..... 3mo
nathandrake1997 .....Maybe revealing her identity might result in her parting ways with the life she is currently leading, an act of letting go she probably doesn't want to indulge in. Because, what gets left behind ultimately gets neglected in memory of what leaves. THOSE WHO LEAVE playing a bigger part in one's life than THOSE WHO STAY. 3mo
Suet624 What a review!!! 3mo
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American Psycho | Bret Easton Ellis
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Content warning: NSFW
Trigger warning: Drugs, sex, violence
We have read a lot about despicable people being eventually redeemed in the end. You know, the whole "good always trumps evil" shenanigan. We are so caught up with the "good" that the "evil" naturally gets left behind. But, does it always stay stranded?....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....Well, in Patrick Bateman's case, it not only catches up, but also beats "good" to an extent so unrecognisable that it is almost invisible..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 .....Patrick Bateman, a Donald Trump idolising investment banker moonlighting as a serial killer, is probably the most despicable I have ever seen a fictional character be. He snorts coke to the point where his American Express card stops working in certain machines, has sex of the pornographic kind (with the halogen lamps intact), murders his victims in an unfathomably grisly manner,....... 4mo
nathandrake1997 .....murders his victims in an unfathomably grisly manner, engages in vomit inducing acts of necrophilia, in one instance....he makes burger patties and sausages out of the flesh and blood of his victims. Bateman is so depraved that I am honestly shocked that a film adaptation exists, because I'm not sure how some of the passages of this book would translate to screen..... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 .....Ellis' prose feels both maximalist and detached at the same time. While he gets into excruciating detail not just about Bateman's serial killing shenanigans, but also about other facets of his life, like his obsession with brands,.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....for example: He never checks his watch....he always checks his "Rolex", his prose also feels so calculated and emotionally detached that one feels the temperature of their surroundings drop immediately and a torrent of shivers streaming down one's spine..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....With that being said, I am not really sure about what I feel about the last third of the book. On the one hand, the whole thing being a blurring between reality and nightmare sounds conceptually interesting, but for the kind of themes this book tries to tackle, it feels like a bit of a copout..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Compared to the batshit crazy nature of the rest of the book, the last third ends up feeling puzzlingly generic. Maybe because the whole "blurring of reality and fiction" conundrum feels like an overused plot device at this point, I won't be surprised if back when it was published it felt fresh, but I'm also not sure if it has aged that well. 4mo
batsy This was a pick for me too, but you make a good point about the ending. I felt like as a window into a really grotesque kind of capitalist white male personality and the privilege that is granted to them, it makes some good & bleakly funny observations. 4mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy In most instances the bleak humor worked for me as well. My favourite was when Ellis rhymed "Murders and Accusations" with "Mergers and Acquisitions"! 4mo
Suet624 Jeepers. Really glad I skipped this one! 🤪😂 3mo
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Beginning. This felt like a book about beginnings. But, more about the act of finding a "beginning" than actually beginning something. The search of a beginning being one pertaining to the process of beginning to process grief. How does one after all deal with the sudden absence of someone near and dear to oneself?......(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....How does one try to process the fact that they have to now set two dinner plates instead of three? That they have to book two tickets instead of three? That they have to tick the "widow" checkbox in the "marital status" section of a form? 4mo
nathandrake1997 .....Joan Didion writes about loss in a manner that feels achingly personal and clinically detached at the same time. She writes heartbreakingly intimate details about various anecdotes in which Didion has to acknowledge the fact that her husband, John, is no more. 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....One of them being the fact that she hasn't given away John's pair of shoes after his passing because she thinks John might need them when he returns home. This "not giving away his pair of shoes" extends to other facets of the life Didion and John shared as well..... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 .....An especially heartbreaking fact being that the year after John passed away is the year when Joan started recognising that she had aged, since the 40 years she spent with John passed in such a blur that the psychological association of physical tenets of time and space felt secondary..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....This first year in particular, when John's passing is so unfathomable for Joan that she keeps anticipating his return, forms Didion's "Year of Magical Thinking", a year when, relying on a theory by Stephen Hawking, Didion attempts to reconstruct the exact moment when nothing was the same anymore..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....As Didion says, and this is not verbatim, "You sit down for dinner and in the next instant, life changes completely". That's exactly what happened in Didion's case as well. She and John sat down for dinner, and that's when John slumped in his seat and immediately slipped into a cardiac arrest, following which he was taken to the hospital and was then pronounced dead.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Along with giving us heartbreaking personal anecdotes, Didion also gives us the clinical side of the ordeal. At multiple occasions, Didion lists the bevy of medical tests and their excruciatingly minute detail down to a T! Maybe that's where one starts processing grief? 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Or is it at the literature they read? Or the films they watched? Or the music they listened to? I remember dad randomly crooning the "Maut aayegi, aayegi ek din" line from "Zindagi, ek safar hai suhana" whenever I think about him. Another music related anecdote being him randomly showing me the music video of "Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahaan" from MERA NAAM JOKER a few months prior to his death..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Like Didion interpreting her husband's response to art as clues leading to his imminent demise, maybe dad was leaving similar clues as well, clues that I completely missed and now can only sit back, reflect and regret.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....A reason I could interpret as to why Didion's writing feels so achingly raw is probably because of the fact because of just like a person recently bereaved, Didion is probably seeking healing but probably isn't aware where to start.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Along with the reader, Didion tries multiple avenues, whether it is memories, medical records, art, food, Didion takes her questions to each aforementioned avenue and probably just like most of us, walks out with a bigger plate of questions and seldom and answer..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Maybe the answer to dealing with a predicament as intimately personal as grief is probably making peace with the fact that finding an answer is an inherently futile pursuit..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Didion closes the book with the fact that she is afraid of the fact of the passing of time. She is afraid because with each passing moment, the rawness of what occured might gradually fade and the remnant memory would a hazy, unrecognisable husk of what it once was. 4mo
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The Buried Giant: A novel | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Sadness. An emotion most of us probably find unsettled, at times even repulsed by. We search in the increasingly bleak nooks and crannies of our increasingly bleak world for pockets of light that will probably mask the radiance of this engulfing fog, even if temporarily so, even if the means of masking is a flickering spark that is barely a sliver that lasts for a bit more than merely a moment....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....But what if the cracks keep on growing behind our back and eventually, the tunnel caves in and this time, it is the light itself that is instead masked out. Do we then still seek light or embrace our new companion, the omnipresent darkness and its cousin, sadness? 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Do we still burrow through the soil in our hopes of finding a way out into the light or are our hands way too tired for the digging to even commence? What if while digging, instead of light, we find a fossil, which according to a quote I recently read is "a stone's memory of a bygone being".... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....A startling reminder that the tunnel has caved in and all that remains is this engulfing darkness, so we might as well settle in and bare our scars to it hoping it will nurse our wounds instead.... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Beatrice and Axl are an aged couple who embark on a quest to meet their son. They have forgotten where exactly their son lives. And have forgotten a great deal more as well. This forgetting is all thanks to a mysterious fog that is spreading and vanishing memories in its wake.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Before long, there is a boy who needs to be ferried to safety, a duty bound soldier on a quest to slay a dragon and a mythical figure or two making a prominent appearance. Sounds like an outline of a fantasy novel, right? Well, Ishiguro indeed is writing a fantasy, but one that doesn't feel as divorced from the reality we inhabit as one might initially imagine.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....While the aforementioned synopsis might paint a picture of this novel being a "point A to point B fantastical adventure", in reality, this novel is an achingly exquisite rendition of grief.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....The melancholic implausibility of its initial occurence, rationality being shrouded by a suffocatingly engulfing mist, nothing about it making sense at first, the first thought rather being "point A to point B be damned!".... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Sifting through the fog in turn leads one to dead end after dead end, tributary after tributary, nook after nook, cranny after cranny. But seldom to a defined destination, because what could be the destination of a journey whose inception itself feels both implausible and unfathomable.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is not a novel about seeking answers, but is instead about down what lane does a question lead someone. And usually, the lane itself comes to an end, but what one is seeking still remains elusive. 4mo
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Eileen: A Novel | Ottessa Moshfegh
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An unflinching character study, a twisted family story, a noir thriller about escaping one's roots, reading Otessa Moshfegh's magnificent EILEEN could be summed up using the aforementioned phrases.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....An unflinching character study: I grew up loathing myself. I remember instances when I used to look in the mirror and berate myself for the incompetent mess I turned out to be. There were days when I used to think literally every other person on this planet is better than me. I know it is not factually correct, but what does one tell oneself whilst dealing with the existential conundrum of "growing up".... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....I was, and still am, underconfident about the way I look. The aforementioned instances about berating myself in front of a mirror included more than a few barbs about my looks as well. I have always considered myself to be really ugly looking and to an extent I still do.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Over the years, I have fallen so deep down a pit of self-loathing that I feel like its impossible to climb out of it now, since I have been swimming in this abyss for way too long and my head will probably stay above the water only for so long, hence all I could muster was submerge into this murky sludge.... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 ....The 24 year old self-loathing self of Eileen Dunlop felt like a soul sister to me. There were instances when I felt like I was reading snippets from my own diary. This reading experience felt immensely personal for the most part, until a certain point in the novel's last act, when the book morphs from a character study to..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 .........A twisted family story: This is the part that would probably prove to be the most divisive. It all starts with a patricide and gradually delves into topics and themes nobody would probably be comfortable discussing, but that's the point, these aren't themes that are meant to be discussed in a "comfortable" manner..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....The rug pulling of Moshfegh is akin to one slipping and hitting one's head on a hypothetical floor. By this, I mean that, for the first two thirds of the book, Moshfegh familiarises us with Eileen, her self loathing, her relationship with her father, her infatuation for her colleague Rebecca and Lee who has killed his father and has been incarcerated in the prison Eileen works at.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....These are pieces of a murky puzzle which Moshfegh masterfully maneuvers with the precision of a veteran. She moves these pieces around until it frames a picture of Eileen and Rebecca spending christmas together and from here on....what lies ahead is best discovered by the reader themselves.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....Although what's interesting is, inspite of all that happens, the novel in a way is about riding into the sunset, but not in a manner one is usually accustomed to. In a way, one could ride into the sunset in a situation like this only in.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 .....A noir thriller about escaping one's roots: A recurring theme in the book is how Eileen want's to escape where she is or rather who she is! But, the escape of both the "where" and the "who" is done in a manner so astoundingly literal that one can't help but sweep their jaw from the floor! 4mo
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The Sun Also Rises | Ernest Hemingway
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Hemingway for me is the undisputed king of succint prose. So, following suit, I'll try to keep my thoughts about THE SUN ALSO RISES as concise as possible.

What does one get if they mix Richard Linklater-esque meandering conversations with the visual poetry of Wong Kar Wai with almost Kurosawa-esque staging and choreography of key set pieces? (Continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....What if Jesse and Celine, instead of having meandering conversations with each other, had said conversations and relationships with other people, but still ended up sharing the final frame, but not in a way one might usually imagine? 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....What if Zula and Viktor, inspite of having feelings for each other, instead ended up having relationships with other people, but still ended up sharing the final frame, again not in a way one might usually imagine? 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....I'm probably using so many film references because one of the main facets of Hemingway's magnificent novel that jumped out on me almost immediately is how cinematic everything feels. Usually while reading books, the reader has to do the imagining of the scene taking place using the words as a crutch..... 4mo
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nathandrake1997 ....But, in Hemingway's case, it feels as if he takes over the "imagining" duties along with the already assigned "writing" duties. His writing is miraculously both concise and vivid, which brings every scene gloriously alive..... 4mo
nathandrake1997 .....And, boy does the writing feel alive! It is bursting with so much life that one feels like they have been sucked into a spiraling vortex of prose that ends up transporting them to the world Hemingway has conjured, and he does this only using a page and a typewriter, it is a miracle indeed! 4mo
Leftcoastzen 👏 4mo
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Elena Knows | Claudia Pieiro
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We have heard about literature healing wounds, but what about the kind that instead reopens said wounds and splashes boiling water on them instead? Reading Claudia Piñeiro's magnificent ELENA KNOWS felt like that. A book that hits so close to home that it ends up bruising one's soul leaving indelible marks in its wake....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....This is a book where, no matter how hard I try, I could never be objective about. And that's probably a reliable parameter for one's preference of literature, the kind of literature that shows objectivity the door.... 4mo
nathandrake1997 ....All I will say is, this book drained me to the extent that three measly paragraphs are all I could eke out about a novel that deserves a lot more. Will probably write a longer write-up at a later point, but for now, I'll wrap up by saying, this magnificent novel deserves all the hype and accolades it has been garnering. 4mo
Simona I liked it very much too. Simple, powerful and strong story. 4mo
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batsy Great review. I feel it left marks behind, as well. I'm living with and caring for my elderly mum now and I've not read a book that explored this theme from such an uncomprising position. 4mo
BarbaraBB Excellent review again. This is my favorite for the International Booker Prize. 4mo
BookwormM Loved this one as well and really hope it wins the Booker 4mo
nathandrake1997 @Simona @batsy @BarbaraBB @BookwormM Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ And I'm really sorry for replying so late 😓 Been feeling a bit low lately 4mo
BarbaraBB Take care of yourself 🤍 4mo
batsy No worries at all, you don't have to apologise! Take care ♥️ 4mo
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In Memory of Memory | Maria Stepanova
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So, I wrote about this book last night. But, I still haven't stopped thinking about it since. A book that lives rent free in my headspace since the last page was flipped, this is a book about whom merely one post won't suffice.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....Memory is a subject I find endlessly fascinating. Blurring the line between fact and fiction in a literal manner, memory is literature on an existential plane. One of my favourite authors, Kazuo Ishiguro, built an entire career by writing about the fragility and unreliability of memory.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....In a lot of instances, his characters narrate events by saying "I think this happened" rather than a much more definitive "This happened at so and so date at so and so time".... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....The reliability of Stepanova's narrators are left ambiguous in an interesting manner. A considerable amount of the book is written in an epistolary format, but the letters after all are written by human beings, so subjectivity is par for the course. Subjectivity that while makes for an engaging read, probably doesn't cement fact. 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....The letters themselves are real. An objective existence of a subjective entity, where else is this juxtaposition possible other than art! 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Stepanova makes an interesting observation about the art of photography in the book as to how in a way it captures a gradual erosion of life than merely a moment. According to her, what a photograph captures is not life itself but rather a sliver in its perpetual state of loss.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....IN MEMORY OF MEMORY is accompanied by a subtitle titled "A Romance". Now, this subtitle is open to a myriad of interpretations. It could be an allusion to the fact that the very act of recalling a memory, no matter how unflinching, is an act of romanticization since atleast one detail, no matter how inconsequential, gets glossed over.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Another interpretation could comparatively be more literal, wherein there is an actual romance that is chronicled in an epistolary format, the existence of those letters being rooted in fact makes it all the more poignant.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Another prominent facet of Stepanova's prose is literary criticism and said literary criticism is especially prominent about the art of autofiction (the retelling of factual events in a fictitious framework). From Proust to Sebald, Stepanova traces the epoch of landmark works of autofiction.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....This literary criticism gradually segways into a peak behind the curtains of Stepanova's own act of autofiction. In an interesting anecdote, Stepanova narrates how the letters almost didn't make it to the book because of her father's disapproval, this is one of those rare instances of literature where the writing and reading occurs in tandem.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....I spent last night's post talking predominantly about the book being shortlisted for a fiction prize inspite of it being classified as a work of nonfiction by its publisher, but in retrospect, this feels like a book that blurs the border between fiction and nonfiction, fiction due to subjectivity, non fiction due to factual existence of said accounts of subjectivity. And this blurring of boundaries is something worth celebrating. 5mo
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In Memory of Memory | Maria Stepanova
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Can any form encapsulate in an objective manner a phenomenon as subjective as memory? Can anything about memory be classified as "non-fiction"? The aforementioned questions are what probably led the Booker jury to include IN MEMORY OF MEMORY, a book classified as "nonfiction" by its publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions, in its International 2021 shortlist....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....A similar predicament occured when Annie Ernaux's THE YEARS was included in the 2018 shortlist. Which leads me to think, both are books are about memory and both are about chronicling the zeitgeist of a bygone era.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....While Stepanova's lens is more personal, viewing the past century of Russia through the lens of her family history, Ernaux's lens is comparatively more panoramic, where the gaze is on everything but the personal.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....But what is the connective tissue between these two works of non-fiction being shortlisted for prizes celebrating works of fiction is the fact that these are human accounts of events and what could be a more subjective lens than that of a human? 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Curiously subtitled as "A Romance", Stepanova's IN MEMORY OF MEMORY begins as an account of the life of her aunt Galya, an account framed in a shape shifting form that at one moment is epistolary which then morphs into an anecdote which then morphs into an exposition about the phenomenon of memory which in turn morphs into literary criticism about the art of autofiction.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....(a fictitious retelling of real events, a paradox in existence that is possible only in art).... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....the subtitle is a hint about the whole fiction/nonfiction debate surrounding the shortlisting of this book for a prize otherwise meant for fiction, a subtitle that tells us that memory even in its most unflinching is probably romantic in nature,... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....probably due to the fact that an accurate to the last pixel recreation of a memory is probably something that isn't possible by the human brain yet, one can claim that they have crystal clear memory of a particular event,.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....but.....what about the leaf that was probably fluttering about? Was it just one leaf? Was there even a leaf? A leaf could be a bottle thrown in a dustbin, the splash of water from a puddle, or any trivial detail akin to the aforementioned.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....So, romanticization is probably what one indulges in while recalling a memory. 5mo
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Moving on. A lot has been written about it. A lot of useful stuff, but also a lot of misnomers! One of the biggest being "time heals everything". "Time" has been dubiously lifted to this pedestal of eternal healing in a manner that is honestly baffling! When in reality, time is akin to lead being forcibly dumped on our souls' shoulders and said lead weighing more and more as time passes by....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Weighing one's soul down to such a degree that it is eventually crushed to an unrecognisable pulp! Maybe that's what "moving on" is, bearing the aforementioned lead like a cross until the curtains are pulled down and one's time in the spotlight is finally up!... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....This lead weighing on one's shoulders is what Pedro Carmona-Alvarez's stunning novel THE WEATHER CHANGED, SUMMER CAME AND SO ON is all about. For a change, instead of "moving on", we have a novel about giving up on moving on after it has weighed one down to an excruciating degree, the manner that makes one's former self completely unrecognisable!... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Johnny and Kari, a married couple, are grieving the tragic loss of their two daughters in an accident. The novel charts this loss starts weighing on them in a manner that towards the end of the novel, they are almost literally a husk of their former selves!... 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Alvarez writes in short, Hemingway-esqe sentences. Hemingway-esque in a way where Alvarez conveys volumes in the span of a few words.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....But there is the occasional Knausgaard-ian paragraph or two, where Alvarez either walks us through the chores performed by his characters in microscopic detail or talks about the weather in a lyrical manner, the kind that feels transportive in a manner where the reader either wants to reach for a glass of iced coffee or a blanket, depending on the weather Alvarez is talking about!.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Now, coming back to time and the dubious pedestal it occupies! "Time will heal everything", "all in good time", "let time heal one's wounds" are a few snippets of the "time" related advice I have recieved in recent years.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Well, through experience, all I'll say is time doesn't do squat when it comes to healing! All it does is makes the aforementioned lead heavier! And while making it heavier, it stands by our side, not to give us a hand, but instead to laugh at us while one is crumbling under the baggage it has dumped on our shoulders!.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....In one of the most heartbreaking sequences of the book, Johnny's mother tells Johnny to keep the truth about the death of his two daughters under the wraps from his youngest daughter because she is "too young to make sense of it". To which, Johnny answers "I am unable to make sense of it either!".... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....This book is a gossamer of such heartbreaking instances which eventually forms a mosaic depicting the failure to process grief. 5mo
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Ever read something that feels like a soliloquy of one's own bruised soul? Ever related to a work of literature in such a painfully profound manner that it almost feels like one's own thoughts are being mirrored back from the pages instead of words framed in a deliberate manner by an author?....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....There are good books, there are great books and then there are books where a quantifiable or definitive verdict feels pointless because one emotionally resonates with it in a manner that transcends quantifiable tenets?.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 .....Good, great, brilliant, masterpiece, adjectives of this ilk feel reductive because what this work means to one can only be defined by oneself! Just like how Yeong-hye's sudden impulse to give up on eating meat is something which she isn't sure is definable in a "universal" manner because the reason for that particular abstinence stems from an impulse so personal that it only feels plausible to her since she is the one who has experienced it? 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....I am not even sure if "definable" is a word, but in a way, that is the point! It is a book that will resonate with each reader in a manner that will be definable and said definition will probably be plausible only to the reader themselves.... 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Published initially as three novelettes (THE VEGETARIAN, MONGOLIAN MARK and FLAMING TREES) and then compiled into a single novella as THE VEGETARIAN, Han Kang writes about a lot, and by a lot, I mean "a lot".... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....But she does it with such exquisite command over the economy of her prose that the writing might appear deceptively simple at first. But, hidden beneath the pared-to-the-bone prose is a heart wrenching exploration of how excruciating it is to be human and how sometimes one wishes they were anything but human.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....While the novella starts as a critique of meat consumption, it gradually morphs into how existence itself can feel like a gruelling act one has to bear like a cross on their shoulders or akin to a boulder Sisyphus is condemned to push up a steep hill for eternity. 5mo
batsy Great review of a brilliant book. 5mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 5mo
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Tomb of Sand | SHREE
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How does one even begin to write about a work of literature as monumental as Geetanjali Shree's magnificent TOMB OF SAND. Whether at the form, which is magnificent, or the function, which is glorious! A compilation of words arranged in a manner so unfathomably stunning that words fall short....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....No matter how many adjectives I cram into this write up, it will still fall short for conveying the brilliance of both Geetanjali Shree's stunning prose and Daisy Rockwell's unfathomably seamless translation.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....In order to render a semblance of coherence to this word vomit, I'll try my best to focus on one particular aspect that knocked my socks off. That being, narrative perspective. Narrated from the perspective of a myriad of perspectives, both living and non living, it is an eloquent evocation of the transcendent nature of storytelling.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 .....The persepctives range from the eyes of the human characters to the eyes of crows to....wait for it....in a particular instance, the wind passing through a party! The very notion of "narrative perspective" feels like a flesh and blood character in itself. What is especially interesting is how seamless the multiple switches in perspective feels.... 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....At one instance, the reader might be reading through the perspective of a human character, but as the lines go by, the perspective gradually shifts to a society of crows and before we know it, the wind takes centre stage again! 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....But, this isn't a book merely content with formal brilliance! The function is in a league of its own. In a glorious sequence, famous charactes from partition literature literally share the stage with their creators where the line between creator and creation is blurred in a literal manner, an apt segway to the book's shift to borders as a central theme.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....The book is a gossamer of such glorious sequences weaved in a manner so exquisite that one can't help but sweep one's jaw from the floor while being awestruck by the magnificent literary mosaic on display! 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....TOMB OF SAND is one of those rare, monumental literary events that honestly makes the reader feel privileged that the written word is their choice of artistic indulgence! It is books like this that remind me the reason I fell in love with literature ❤️ 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....All I'll say is, if there is one book I am rooting for from a brilliant shortlist to win and one book that I feel might be and deserves to be hailed as a classic, it is TOMB OF SAND! An absolute stunner of a book where words fall short to convey its brilliance! 5mo
BarbaraBB You sold it! 5mo
rockpools 🎉🎉🎉 4mo
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"She" and "He" are stranded in the unknown waiting for a certain "Rambuku". She is attempting to make He let go of the psychological ties he still has tethered to his previous relationship by making him proclaim anticipation for the arrival of Rambuku. Who is this Rambuku? Why are She and He waiting for them? Is Rambuku even real?....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Jon Fosse attempts his own spin on Beckett's iconic play WAITING FOR GODOT in his play RAMBUKU, but this is a take where what if Godot actually arrived? Fosse talks about the fragility of relationships and the psychological soliloquy one has to endure whilst moving on from a previous relationship and while the soliloquy comes to an end, its echoes never leave one's mind.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....When compared to either his landmark SEPTOLOGY or even SCENES FROM A CHILDHOOD, this feels like a minor work. But, its pared back nature is what makes it Fosse-esque. While a bit didactic in conveying its themes, especially when compared to Fosse's later work, RAMBUKU nevertheless makes for a psychologically compelling read and a play whose stage production I would love to see someday! 5mo
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Loser | Thomas Bernhard
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Trigger warning: Repeated mention of suicide
There is a famous anecdote about Steven Spielberg where after watching THE GODFATHER he said he would renounce filmmaking because he wouldn't make anything even remotely close to the brilliance of THE GODFATHER. He obviously didn't renounce filmmaking and instead went on to make some of the greatest blockbusters in the history of cinema....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....The same unfortunately cannot be said about the two central characters of Thomas Bernhard's THE LOSER. The unnamed narrator and his friend Werthiemer meet piano prodigy Glenn Gould in the institute they are learning music from.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....One day, they listen to Gould playing the GOLDBERG VARIATIONS and that performance entrances them in a manner that both in their own subjective ways decide to give up on a career in music, since reaching Gould's level of brilliance is unfathomable for the both of them.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....While the unnamed narrator gives up his music career in a physical way by selling his piano to a music teacher whose child is terrible at playing the piano, he deliberately does this inorder to make music descend from the pantheon it occupied in his mind, Werthiemer's renunciation of music is comparatively more psychological.... 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....From deliberately destroying everything he has written to a despair that eventually leads him to suicide, a suicide initially thought about as a result or rather, as a response to exposure to artistic brilliance so radiant that it blinds out purpose and meaning from one's life, eventually it turns out that his reason for taking his own life turns out to be more deeper than one thought.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Werthiemer loathes the very concept of existence, the kind that evokes a pessimistic outlook of Sartre's interpretation of the meaninglessness of existence, in one passage he remarks that "we don't exist, we are existed", alluding to the fact that existence happens to a person without the consent of said person, which led me to contemplate that had I been given a choice before I was born, what would have been my answer?.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....In my current headspace, I would have more than happily tripped on my feet and bow my way out of the sperm race to existence.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....This hatred of existence bleeds into his opinion about the people in his life. Werthiemer especially hates his parents because of whom this whole "existence" conundrum has been dumped on his shoulders. The only family member he doesn't hate is his sister.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....On the contrary, he loves his sister, but not in a mere "sibling cares for sibling" manner. His "love" can't actually be called "love", on the contrary, it is something that is deeply problematic. He literally and psychologically imprisons his sister in a shack in the woods so that her life revolves only around him.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....He is disgustingly misogynistic while expressing his desire for affection from his sister, a desire that borders on incest. When his sister finally breaks away from the shackles imposed on her by her brother and marries a chemical plant owner from Switzerland, Werthiemer travels to Switzerland and hangs himself on a tree merely hundred metres away from his sister's house 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....His suicide is interpreted by his friend, the unnamed narrator, as an act of revenge by Werthiemer against his sister for "abandoning" him.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....The book makes for a really uncomfortable read, especially when following characters as despicable as Werthiemer, but it is the lens through which we view Werthiemer's life makes it intriguing in an almost schadenfreude manner.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....We are disgusted by Werthiemer, but we are also trapped in an endless curiousity about knowing more about him. The unnamed narrator alludes to this fact by the fact that he is travelling to the same shack in the woods where Werthiemer imprisoned his sister inorder to read a set of writings that Werthiemer probably left behind.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....This "being trapped in a gradually tightening loop to know more and more about a despicable human being" is mirrored in Bernhard's prose. Written as two unbroken paragraphs, the prose feels akin to a snake gradually circling its prey and tightening the coil until the remains of the prey are crushed into an unrecognisable pulp and are eventually devoured by the snake. The unrecognisable pulp being the headspace of the reader. 5mo
BarbaraBB It sounds like a real Bernhard book. He is always so depressing and sister-obsessed! It must have been hard to read yet another book about suicide or maybe you want to read about is right now of course. Wishing you the best 🤍🍀 5mo
12 likes14 comments
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Trigger warning: Suicide
Does writing really heal? Does writing really provide closure? These are questions one contemplates while reading Peter Handke's heart-wrenching novella-sized memoir A SORROW BEYOND DREAMS. Handke talks about the suicide of his mother and the book in a way is Handke attempting to process this sudden loss, especially a loss due to unnatural circumstances...(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....He talks about how form is something that one can't really contemplate about while writing about something so deeply personal because it threatens to mask fact. But what exactly is fact?.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Is memory actually that reliable that something encapsulated in it could be interpreted as something as definitive as "fact"? Handke abstains from doing so and instead calls the anecdotes he recalls about his mother's life as "dreams", since they resemble the phenomenon of memory closer than "facts" ever could.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ...And here, I have a few "dreams" to share as well.... 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Warning: From here on, the text will contain graphic depiction of suicide.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....I have talked about my father's death quite often. At times in posts, at times during conversations. But I have always tried to gloss over the actual circumstances of his death using the term "critically ill". But today, after reading Handke's memoir, I think I am finally ready to expound on what I alluded to by the term "critically ill".... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....My father was going through a tough time in his buisness from the past few years. There were times when he used to be distant and angry, but there were also times when he used to be forcefully cheerful. At times he used to laugh out loud for no apparent reason, a laughter that felt forced.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Then the pandemic hit and my father had to pull down the shutters of his business for a while. "A while" went on for a bit too long and it really put a financial as well as mental strain on him.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....A few months later, he was allowed to reopen his business, but work felt almost impossible due to the imposed restrictions. Still, he tried his best.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....On the 20th of October 2020, I woke up in the afternoon as I had slept late last night. I opened the door to the bedroom in order to access the washroom. Dad was lying in bed. At first, I thought he was sleeping. But then I noticed something was amiss. There was a pool of blood beside him, an opened pen-knife and a bottle of toilet-cleaning disinfectant.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....I immediately shouted at the top of my lungs and called for my mother saying "There is blood all over dad's bed!". Mom rushed to the room, shocked, tear stricken, and asked dad "What is this!". To which, dad replied "I don't want to live like this anymore!".... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Mom asked me to call our family doctor and she rushed outside the house and knocked on our neighbours' doors. When one of them opened their doors, mom exclaimed amidst tears "My husband has attempted suicide!". By the time she said this, the remaining neighbours opened their doors as well and everyone rushed to our house.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....One of our neighbour's successfully managed to contact a hospital and an ambulance and we immediately moved him to the hospital.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....The doctors flushed out as much as possible of the acid he had consumed. A few hours later, the surgeon arrived and stiched the slashes he had cut on his wrists. The surgeon declared immediately that "he is safe".... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....On the second day, the doctor was on rounds and when he visited dad's bed, he saw an x-ray and noted that he was developing symptoms of pneumonia. The second day passed in stress as well as a result.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....On the third day, further scans revealed that there was a hole formed in his intestines and he had to be operated on immediately and the success ratio of surgeries of such kind were very less. The doctor asked us to be prepared for an unfavorable outcome, although, my question is, how does one prepare for such an outcome?.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 .....The surgery was successful and dad was put on ventilator. The next day when the surgeon visited for a follow up, he asked us to shift him to a bigger hospital.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....We did so and for the next few days, his vitals were showing improvement. But on the ninth day, dad suddenly fell unconscious and his blood pressure dropped to an alarming rate. The doctor said that, due to remnant traces of the acid in his body, his organs were failing in quick succession. By the evening, when all hope was lost, he suffered a brain stroke.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Next day morning 6:45 am was when we received a text from a cousin who was staying overnight at the hospital stating "Dad passed away at 6:45 am due to a cardiac arrest". I had just woken up, mom had already taken a shower and had got ready. I asked her what had happened and she replied "Dad passed away" and showed me the text.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....That day, after ages, I had visited a church and once I reached and met the parish priest, my first words were "I lost my father today". That was when I verbally acknowledged him in the past tense for the first time.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....From there, we went to an undertaker to buy a coffin and since this was a suicide case, we had to visit the police station once as well. After we got an approval from the police station, we moved dad's body to a morgue, because, due to covid restrictions, we couldn't organise a wake for him at our home.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....The next day, we got ready and went to the church. As soon as we reached the church, mom broke down. A few minutes later, dad's body arrived in a hearse. His skin was pale, almost matching the yellow coloured shirt he was decked in..... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Due to covid, we couldn't organise a mass and hence we had to directly proceed with the burial. The burial rites were being uttered while his body was being slowly lowered in his grave. My mother and sister were in tears while I wasn't sure of the emotional state I was in.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....All I could say was, at that point, my body and soul were so bruised and battered that all I wanted to do was join dad.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Maybe writing this won't mean anything in the long run, because even after penning this down, I don't feel anything even remotely close to closure. The wounds feel as fresh as they did back then. The eventual PTSD diagnosis and the course of antidepressants prescribed as treatment feel like they have been doing nothing to heal the scars time was supposed to heal.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Life feels as excruciating today as it did back then. Handke's memoir hits home in ways I wish it hadn't. But alas, wishes are an elusive construct, because life after all is....a sorrow beyond dreams. 5mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful title 💔 5mo
batsy I'm so very sorry to hear this 💔💔 I hope your father is at peace and much strength to you and your mum and your sister. It's a lot to deal with and heal from. Be patient with yourself... ❤️ 5mo
BarbaraBB I am so sorry for what your father, you and your family went through. This book must have been so hard for you to read. I can‘t imagine how you must feel, just hope that you‘ll be able to take those little steps towards a future a bit lighter. 🤍 5mo
14 likes28 comments
Nausea | Jean-Paul Sartre
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Antoine Roquentin finds existence pointless. Not just pointless, but if I may say so, grotesquely pointless. And, not just existence from the lens of the human experience, but the very fact of existence itself, of both animate and inanimate beings! It all started with a pebble. At the age of 7, Roquentin was at a river bed and he lifted a pebble to throw into the water....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....But instead of throwing the pebble, he contemplates the existence of the pebble. Of how the pebble wasn't always a pebble but instead is a stone chipped away by the flow of both water and time and how the stone itself is probably a fragment of a larger rock. Hence the pebble's existence is meaningless since it wasn't a pebble from the beginning.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Roquentin is so caught up in this existential train of thought that the muddy juxtaposition of thought upon thought causes him to become nauseous. With age, more and more objects and facets of existence get this disturbingly granular mental attention from Roquentin and each instance triggers nausea.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Jean Paul Sartre, through Roquentin, expounds upon his views on existence in his landmark philosophical novel NAUSEA. Sartre, through his thoughts on existentialism, intended to form a counter point to essentialism, believed that existence doesn't have any inherent meaning and being forced to render meaning to existence was according to him an act of "bad faith". 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....So, as per Sartre, writing fiction is probably an act of bad faith as well, because meaning in fiction is purely a contrivance by the author. So in a way, by writing this work of fiction, Sartre engaged in an act of bad faith himself.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....This meta-contradiction of one's own beliefs in turn forms a broader comment on how the fact that there is physical proof of the existence of instances of "contrivance of meaning", which in turn provides ample proof for Sartre's theory that from a purely natural standpoint, existence is devoid of meaning.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is a lot of philosophical, especially existential, meat to chew on and that at times on a cerebral level can be overwhelming and in a way that is the point...... since life is after all an elaborate bout of nausea with barely a breather. 5mo
Alfoster I remember reading him in college and thinking, wow this is what I have to look forward to in life??? At that point it was overwhelming but not sure I‘d revisit now😱! 5mo
batsy Nice review! I've been wanting to read this for a *long* time but intimidated by it. Your review helps me to know what to expect. 5mo
nathandrake1997 @Alfoster Reading Sartre is overwhelming indeed. He opens up a facet in one's existential lens that one can't help but look through it from there on! 5mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it ❤️ 5mo
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In one of my favourite scenes from The Coen Brothers' 2013 film INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Oscar Isaac playing aspiring country musician Llewyn Davis arrives at his friend's house after a futile cross country trip where he attempts to and yet again fails at selling the rights to his music to a record label....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....He keeps his guitar aside, sits on a chair and on the other side sits his friend's wife, with whom Llewyn had a brief fling with, and she says that a club that Llewyn regularly plays at has offered to let Llewyn have the stage again. But, instead of the token "yes", Llewyn lets out a barely stifled sigh and exclaims "I am tired! I thought I just needed a good night's sleep, but it is a lot more than that!".... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Similarly, Hemingway's protagonist, a weather and time worn old fisherman after catching a really big fish and bringing it ashore, is instead caught up with the weariness that has seeped into his bones with time and age and all he wants to do is sleep, while almost everyone else is remarking about how they haven't seen a fish as huge and beautiful as the one he has caught. 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Llewyn and the old man have many similar qualities. There was a time when the two of them were passionate about what they wanted to achieve in life. But time and life take their toll and the two of them are left as nothing but a husk of their former selves.... 5mo
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nathandrake1997 ....A friend, or rather the absence of a friend, plays an integral part in their day to day being. While Llewyn's friend and bandmate passes away untimely, the old man's friend, a young boy who at one point was also his fishing partner, finds a boat that is comparatively "luckier" and his parents force him to abandon the old man, although the boy's heart says otherwise.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....A meandering journey plays an integral part in both INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS and THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA as well. While in INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, it is a cross country trip where Llewyn is trying to meet a record label producer to sell the rights of his music, in THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, it is a journey into the overwhelmingly boundless seas in search of a big fish to catch.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Both journeys are preceded by futility. In INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS it is Llewyn's failure to make a name for himself and in THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, it is the old man's failure to catch to a fish from the past few voyages, to the point where the last successful voyage seems as elusive as the receding sunset in the horizon.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Both INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS and THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA are accounts of a limited time frame in their protagonists' lives. While INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS spans a week in the life of Llewyn Davis, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA spans one voyage in the old fisherman's life.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 .....While Llewyn's week ends with yet another instance of failure, the old man's week, while ending with materialistic success, nevertheless ends with the kind of existential exhaustion that impedes him from reaping his rewards, which in turn makes one wonder, what really was the point of literally wading through a storm, only to come crashing down to a fatigued sleep?.... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is a question that we can probably ponder upon pertaining to our day to day existence as well. Wake up, work towards a materialistic goal, achieve/fail said goal, spend a considerable amount of the night sleepless regardless, open your eyes, prepare and consume a stimulant of choice, then truly wake up, rinse and repeat..... 5mo
nathandrake1997 .....Ernest Hemingway's THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, while usually interpreted as a tale of human resilience, read to me instead like a parable of the futility of resilience, especially when one takes the ending into thematic context..... 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....A magnificent work of literature that is surprisingly both concise and meandering, in a mere span of 99 pages, Hemingway encapsulates the toll the human experience takes on oneself in a manner so eloquent that one is left in awe of what one has just witnessed. 5mo
nathandrake1997 ....Using concise sentences and an accessible vocabulary, Hemingway manages to convey volumes in the span of a short sentence or two. 5mo
BarbaraBB My fave Hemingway! 5mo
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB This was my first Hemingway and I absolutely loved it ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 5mo
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Normal People | Sally Rooney
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There is something about NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney that reminds me about a few things at once. One of them is the "in the moment" writing in the screenplay of Greta Gerwig's LADY BIRD where each scene felt like a moment in the protagonist's life instead of a result of potential build-up...(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Similarly, every chapter in NORMAL PEOPLE opens directly amidst a moment, as if the world Rooney has crafted continues to exist beyond the reach of her pen.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....At first glance, while glossing through the promotional material of the book, one can easily misinterpret NORMAL PEOPLE as a love story. After all, everything about the promotional material, from the cover art to the blurb to the various snippets found all over the internet to the trailer of the Tv Series adaptation screams "star-crossed lovers", when in reality, the book is anything but that.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Yes, it is about two people. Yes, it is about them sharing experiences together that are usually interpreted in a romantic context. Yes, sex plays an integral part in the narrative. Yes, love, or rather the fragility of love as an emotion is one of the key thematic and emotional undercurrents of the book.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....But the book is anything but a love story, or rather, anything but a love story in a conventional sense.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The two protagonists, Connell and Marianne, drift in and out of each other's lives over a period of four years, from 2011 to 2015. The relationship that the two of them share is quite emotionally impulsive in nature. There are times when they awkwardly exchange a nod while there are also times when they end up sleeping together.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....But both of them, in their own subjective ways, refuse to ground the connection they share into something definite. This at times causes a source of frustration for the people around them, but in a way, one cant help but empathize with the existential ambiguity of the relationship shared by the protagonists because they are in a juncture of life where they can barely make sense of the life they individually want to lead.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....let alone the life they probably want to share with someone else.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This impulsive existential ambiguity in a way becomes the defining trait of the narrative timeline Rooney chooses to frame the protagonists' lives in. Each chapter starts at a particular moment in the protagonists' lives.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....At times, it is multiple months from the previous chapter, at times it is a few weeks from the previous chapter and during one instance it is barely five minutes from the previous chapter. Time also operates at an impulsive rhythm in Rooney's prose.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Another interesting narrative device Rooney uses in the book is in the way she chooses to flesh out the protagonists' lives and the relationship they share. Throughout the book, Conell and Marianne meet other people and it is through their relationship with these "other" people that both Connell and Marianne and the relationship they share are fleshed out.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....What Connell and Marianne mean to each other is conveyed when they are apart from each other, or rather when they are emotionally invested in someone else. At first glance, this might sound cliched and generic. But Rooney's refreshingly anecdotal writing prevents the prose from slipping into a quagmire of saccharine.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....At turns witty, at turns heartbreaking, but the kind that never loses its sharpness, Rooney's prose is like one of those knives that manages to slice effortlessly through both butter and meat, leaving glorious layers open for display in its wake.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Connell and Marianne's relationship is one that is an uphill climb to get invested in and in a way that makes sense, because that is how not only romantic, but human relationships in general are.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....A lot of times, one can't really make sense of why does a certain person mean the world to them, even though the relationship they share with said person probably isn't positive in a conventional sense. It is this existential dilemma about human relationships that Rooney attempts to explore in NORMAL PEOPLE.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....This write-up feels like it is going nowhere, rambling on and on about something or the other, at times talking in circles about the same point, at times meandering on tangents embarked randomly upon. But, in a way, that's what reading this novel feels like..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....In fact I am kind of hesitant to call this a novel. Or maybe what the "novel" as an artform means from a literary gatekeeper's perspective..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Just like some of my favourite literature in recent years, the writing is fragmented, intentionally rough around the edges, akin to shards unafraid to pierce one's skin at moments and leave an indelible impression. It has its rough edges, but the sharpness nevertheless is intact, hence I am rather hesitant to dismiss them as flaws. On the contrary, if nothing, they add to the reading experience. 6mo
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Never Let Me Go | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Usually, whenever I finish a book, I take a moment, a moment that lasts atleast a few hours, or in some cases, a few days to gather my thoughts and then I proceed to write them down. But, for the first time, I have the urge to write about a book immediately after flipping its last page. A book that evoked a reaction so viscerally emotional that one has to be ready with a bottle to catch the lightning....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Narrated from the first person perspective of Kathy, a thirty one year old carer (a carer is a person who cares for organ donors), we follow her train of thought, primarily pertaining to her memories about school, a dystopian establishment named Hailsham where clones are groomed and trained to become potential organ donors. They donate organs until their bodies can't cope and they eventually pass away.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This state is referred to as "completion". These donors are cited to be the key reason for there being a potential cure for a lot of life-threatening diseases, but one wonders throughout the book, at what cost?.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Ishiguro treads familiar ground when it comes to touching upon themes pertaining to the fragility of memory, the various existential conundrums about the human condition, but also traditional to Ishiguro is the lens he chooses to chronicle these human quandaries through, the lens not necessarily being human.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....While in his later novel, the Booker longlisted KLARA AND THE SUN it was through the eyes of a robot, here it is through the eyes of a clone. Resembling human beings in shape and form, but unlike humans, instead being born with a predestined goal.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Another significant Ishiguro trait being the intentional emotional distance in his prose, where he stubbornly refuses to give into mawkish sentimentality and instead fleshes out the characters and the world around them using sparse yet evocative prose while letting the eventual heartbreak subtly simmer in the background until it builds up to its eventual boiling point.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....and moistens one's eyes while the pages soak up the tears and leaves stains in its wake.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Divided into three parts, the first part, through the unreliable memory of the protagonist Kathy, chronicles the lives of Kathy, Ruth and Tommy at Hailsham. The second part is about their lives in a place called The Cottages, which in a way is their first exposure to the outside world.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The third, and in my opinion the most heartbreaking, part is set in the present where the ambiguous memories in the previous parts coalesce into an emotionally satisfying whole that leaves the reader reaching out for a tissue whilst turning the pages because inspite of the constant downpour of tears, the intrigue is such that one can't help but read on!... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....While THE REMAINS OF THE DAY is still my favourite Ishiguro, NEVER LET ME GO comes a really close second! 6mo
BarbaraBB My two favorites as well! 6mo
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB Two stunning books ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I also love THE UNCONSOLED ❤️ 6mo
BarbaraBB My third favorite would be 6mo
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Man in Love: My Struggle: Book 2 | Karl Ove Knausgaard
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There are times when one finds one's thoughts echoing to a haunting degree from the literature one reads. While reading the second volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard's MY STRUGGLE series (A MAN IN LOVE) I came across a surprising amount of aforementioned instances. One of them being when Knausgaard talks about how excruciating attending a birthday party is.....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Now, digression time. I am not really a "birthday" person. Maybe it is the cynical pessimist in me, but I don't really see the point behind celebrating an occasion which marks the fact that one is now a year closer to their imminent demise. I wasn't always like this.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....As a kid, I actually used to enjoy attending birthday parties and I used to look forward to my own birthday as well. Then the years went on and as the age old adage goes, life happened. Maybe I started growing more and more "life-weary" and gradually my thoughts on the concept of a "birthday" started to shift towards the pessimistic side of my headspace..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Pessimism is probably too kind a word, the days leading up to my birthday are probably the worst set of days I experience in a year (this is beside the fact that I feel like shit almost everyday). A glaring reminder of the day I was forced into existence without my consent. 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....On my last birthday, the whole "celebration" vibe got so unbearable that towards the end of the day I had to isolate myself and go to a restaurant alone for a dinner. A risotto and a glass of wine later, some semblance of calm entered my mind and helped me power through the cheer and pomp of the last few hours of that day.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....A few months back, we were at my uncle's place to celebrate my nephew's birthday. After we had cut and eaten the cake (along with cringing through the obligatory recitation of that garish "Happy Birthday To You" in an unsurprisingly tone deaf manner), I remember texting a friend that "This birthday cake tastes so boring that it feels like the most BIRTHDAY CAKE of all birthday cakes I have eaten."..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....Along with birthdays, Knausgaard talks about how attending social events in general can be excruciating from the lens of everyday mundanity. And not just attending social events, but the mere act of existence can itself feel like a chore, the cyclical repetition of the 24 hour cycles we mere mortals call as days.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Wake up, exist, try to sleep but some or the other godforsaken thought/thoughts keeps us awake most of the nights, wake up sleep deprived, repeat. This is the "struggle" that Knausgaard is alluding to in this series.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Another instance of the book echoing my thoughts is Knausgaard's thoughts on food. He often refers to the very act of eating as a chore and honestly, that's how I feel about eating as well. An exhausting time sink that I want to be done with as soon as possible..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....I used to be quite the foodie. As a kid, I remember ordering the dish with the most interesting sounding name and while it usually used to end up in disaster, this habit nevertheless persisted throughout my childhood.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Eating used to feel like something special, something to look forward to. But, as I grew up and life happened, that emotional bond between me and food was gradually severed to the point where that particular existential thread disintegrated into oblivion. Now food is nothing but an obligatory means of sustenance, the kind of sustenance that makes me curse the sunrise.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The prose is probably the most unpretentious I have read in a while. Here, Knausgaard is chronicling day to day mundanity in a manner without giving into any form of "literary" pretense, to the point where, unlike the previous volume (A DEATH IN THE FAMILY) which was divided into two parts, he doesn't bother dividing this volume into either parts or chapters.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Yes, this entire 664 page tome plays out as a single chapter. Probably an attempt to communicate the fact that how for Knausgaard the days started to blend into each other to the point where any form of segregation seems antithetical to the project he has embarked on.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....Reading this series can feel challenging, especially when coming to terms with the kind of prose Knausgaard uses. This is not necessarily because of the vocabulary, which is honestly quite simple, it is the way the prose is framed in. While digressions have been one of the most polarizing aspects of literature, I am someone who actually enjoys digressions and plotless meandering in literature.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....While nowadays it feels as if fiction is trimming the fat down to the bone, here is a book that is all about digressions. From being forced to attend social events to philosophical and existential trains of thought stemming from the books and media in general Knausgaard is consuming, this is a book that thrives in drawing multiple tangents while not quite bothering to give us a "resolution",.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....instead letting the reader ponder a subjectively suitable resolution to the train of thought at hand. 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Instead of a plot, Knausgaard provides ample food for thought.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....While I personally preferred the more elegiac tone of the previous volume, this nevertheless was a compelling read and one that makes me want to read the next volume immediately! 6mo
BarbaraBB I could relate to many of his “issues” too and recognized the time setting. Such a good series! To me each new one was better than the one before! 6mo
batsy Fascinating review. I must read him and this series (thought of starting with The Morning Star as an intro to him, just for the sheer fact that it's *one* book 😅) (P/S: I hate birthday parties too & my own brings about anxiety. Thankfully, the people around me know this by now. It's so much better for everyone just being able to celebrate/recognise one's birthday in the way one wants to, without having to endure a party imposed upon you... ) 6mo
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB At times while reading, I felt like Knausgaard was echoing thoughts from my own subconscious. There are so many instances when I felt like screaming "ME"!!!!!! 6mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I am not a party person in general, but when it comes to detesting parties, birthday parties take the cake! Also, am I the only one who hates birthday cakes? I'd rather have a glass of wine over a glorified lump of sugar! 6mo
BarbaraBB @nathandrake1997 me too. Anytime 🍷! 6mo
Suet624 ....”Wake up, exist, try to sleep but some or the other godforsaken thought/thoughts keeps us awake most of the nights, wake up sleep deprived, repeat. This is the "struggle" that Knausgaard is alluding to in this series....” I‘ve only read the first book but I had no idea this was the struggle he was referring to in the series. And yeah, that‘s become my life more@and more as I age. 6mo
Suet624 Same here with parties and food. I often leave town and sit on a beach by myself so as to avoid birthday parties. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 The mundanity of life is indeed the biggest uphill climb one has to endure 😓 6mo
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The Discomfort of Evening | Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
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Read this when you are in the right headspace" is something we have come across in some or the other context atleast once in our reading lives. This forewarning is something that even I have used while recommending something particularly grim (which, spoiler alert: is atleast 90% of the literature I read), (continued in comments)....

nathandrake1997 ....but what does one say while recommending something about death. What exactly is the "right headspace" to read about death? This is something I have always wondered about while talking about literature pertaining to death.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....THE DISCOMFORT OF EVENING by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld is one such book. I attempted to read this book for the first time early last year, I only made it through 60% before I called it quits, I probably wasn't in the right headspace then.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Yesterday, I picked this book again on a whim and started reading through it again from the beginning and a day later, here I am jotting my thoughts about the book down after flipping the last page. I'm not sure if I was in the right headspace even now, but reading is something that one can never be definitive about.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....This is a grim, depressing, crushingly macro-detailed look at death and the grief it leaves behind in its wake. This is not an easy book to read and honestly, one that is even more difficult to write about. By "macro-detailed", I mean the kind of detailing where even a single pixel isn't out of focus.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....For example, there is a moment in the book when someone is eating yoghurt. But they are not merely "eating a yoghurt". They are "accumulating the remaining yoghurt in a packet on a finger and then licking the finger and when they remove the finger from their mouth, a strand of saliva accompanies the finger". (Note: This quote is not verbatim)..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Fate and a cunning court jester have something in common, they have an endless bag of tricks. But fate upstages the court jester in one regard and that is, on a whim it can summon a really grotesque existential trick, something the court jester can only attempt a pale imitation of. Or rather, fate is probably the pantheon that the court jester attempts to rise to.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The book doesn't root the setting, a farm, to any particular town/state/city/country, but one might as well interpret the setting as "death". By this I mean literally every facet of the existence of its central characters is intertwined with death in some or the other manner.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....For example, the silo in the farm is mentioned in the context of the mother's potential to jump off it. Another example being, the "mission" that the children embark on. The "mission" being travelling "to the other side" on a "bridge" to be reunited with their dead brother.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Rijneveld doesn't pull any punches when it comes to writing about the effervescence of the aftermath of grief. They write about grief in a manner akin to a diary. The book isn't necessarily structured as a diary, but it can be interpreted as one.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....A diary kept by the protagonist Jas, a ten year old girl, as an attempt to make sense of experiencing something as existentially profound as death at the tender age of ten.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The prose is grim, unflinching but also lyrical and occasionally heartfelt. This is a book that breaks your heart, then beats it into an unrecognisable pulp and laughs at the aftermath, the kind of laugh that haunts the reader long after the last page has been flipped. 6mo
BarbaraBB I wasn‘t that impressed when I first read it (so many gory details 😰) but I can‘t get this book out of my head, which says quite a lot. 6mo
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No One Is Talking about This | Patricia Lockwood
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The internet. Probably the most profound existential enigma of our times. A tool to be both productive and counterproductive. It is such a literal manifestation of a juxtaposition that it transcends the grammatical realm of a metaphor....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Social Media. A facet of this enigmatic juxtaposition that allows us to connect with people miles away from where we live, while in due process isolating us from the people around us. A juxtaposition within a juxtaposition, the internet indeed has transcended vocabulary, since there isn't a word for such a grammatical phenomenon in the dictionary yet.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Juxtaposition. The norm of social media. Scrolling through a feed, words washing over our eyeballs, a meme that makes our sides split, while a heartfelt anecdote makes our eyes moist. But not for long, since it might be followed up by a catchy tune, or, yet another meme.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This existential digital juxtaposition forms the crux of Patricia Lockwood's stylistic framing device of her prose in her stunning debut NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Longlisted and Shortlisted for all the prizes visible to one's eye, yet quite polarizing in its reception, maybe this is the kind of reception Lockwood was aiming for, since the internet indeed is a polarizing place.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Jia Tolentino in her review of the book described Lockwood's prose as "Kaleidoscopic" and honestly, a more succinct description of the prose probably isn't possible. The prose, structured as a series of social media posts, is a series of fragments where each fragment can be refracted into a myriad of interpretations.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Amidst witty social commentary about pop culture and the Zeitgeist of our times in general is buried a heartbreaking story of personal tragedy. This in turn mirrors the fact that nowadays the only outlet for personal expression is social media. But the caveat being that an account of one's personal experience can indeed get lost in a quagmire of fluff.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This conundrum is reflected in the structure that Lockwood chooses to frame her prose. Those aforementioned "fragments" are sequenced in such a manner that the "personal" gets buried under the "popular".... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Reading through the prose indeed mirrors the experience of scrolling through a social media feed, attempting to sift through the clutter to find what's relevant to the user.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....What's especially refreshing about this book is that it feels like it is written by someone who has genuine experience with today's state of the internet. It feels both self-aware and authentic in execution.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....That is why the experience of reading through Lockwood's prose hits home in a manner that is probably subjective to each reader, pertaining to their experience with the internet.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Stylistically, Lockwood goes for the broke in a manner that authors seldom do these days and this results in the most formally innovative debut I have read in years and a book that feels both groundbreaking and prescient! 6mo
BarbaraBB Completely agree with your review. It feels so real, both parts, even though they are so different. 6mo
Suet624 I was one of those who appreciated this book for the same reasons you mention while others around me found myriad ways to diss it. Thank you for this review. 6mo
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Zone | Mathias Enard
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Coherence. A word usually attributed to something that makes sense. Coherence does make it easier to process things. But, is coherence essential to make sense of existential experiences? Are existential experiences always of the kind one makes sense of? Is rendering coherence to existential experiences an act of emotional dishonesty? Well, the answer to that would probably be, to each experience their own....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Spy, a three letter word endlessly romanticized in art. Hollywood has built a sizeable market out of the "spy-thriller" sub genre. Casting unbelievably good looking people to perform awe inspiring spectacle in unbelievably stunning locations, these "spy-thrillers" undoubtedly look like glorified tourist brochures for the locales they are shot in.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....But what goes on in the mind of a spy performing these death-defying stunts while we sit in air conditioned IMAX cinema halls with a tub full of popcorn and a glass of soda or a cup of coffee?.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....What must Ethan Hunt actually be thinking while dangling from the door of an aircraft that has just taken off in the opening set piece of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION or what must he have been thinking while racing through the streets of Paris in that breathtakingly shot motorcycle chase sequence halfway through MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT?.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....What must 007 be thinking while racing through the streets of Matera in one of the opening sequences in the first act of NO TIME TO DIE? What about the dizzyingly high body count that both Hunt and 007 must have raised during their globe-trotting espionage hijinks?.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Do the ghosts of the people at the other end of their weapons haunt them? Are their nights sleepless?.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Mathias Enard's ZONE is a novel about a spy rather than a "spy novel". By that, I mean, it is about the psychological grime accumulated in the mind of a spy after years of murky service under the dubious guise of "loyalty" and "patriotism"..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Instead of the globe trotting hijinks of his protagonist Francis Mirkovic, Enard instead dwells on the psychological toll taken on Mirkovic that is a result of his morally dubious actions that his mind doesn't allow to excuse himself from anymore.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Instead of giving us the typical "Blue-eyed greek god", Enard's rendition of a spy is often a drunken, unkempt mess with fetid breath, a spy who can barely put two and two together, but is still tasked with accumulating data due to which some or the other person ends up on the recieving end of a bullet, that person not always being a war criminal.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The titular "Zone" is used in two contexts: one being the area (the countries) of his work and the other being the briefcase full of data he has been collecting.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is a third interpretation of this "Zone" as well, that being the suitcase full of data being a physical manifestation of the psychological rocks in his pocket, whose number and weight increases with every assignment he undertakes, whilst trying to stay afloat in a sea, a murky, polluted sea, the source of pollution being predominantly human.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Enard writes about Mirkovic's headspace in an intentionally incoherent manner. The writing is not incoherent because of its vocabulary, on the contrary the vocabulary is intentionally simple, making the text as readable on the surface as possible. The incoherence is instead in the way the words are framed..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....The mood of Mirkovic's train of thought dictates the grammar of the prose. At times forgoing commas in order to emphasize juxtapositions and at times breaking up words with hyphens to convey the psychological toll taken on Mirkovic,.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....the prose in ZONE is constructed as a single 500+ page sentence, with occasional breaks of sequences from a novel Mirkovic is reading, these sequences use a more traditional style of grammar. The simplest possible explanation of this particular writing style could be the fact that a human being doesn't really think in sentences..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Our brains embark on trains of thought without breaking up instances using commas, colons and fullstops. Sometimes, multiple trains of thought embark on the same time and these instances are not always parallel, at times colliding into a murky pile of mush that becomes near-impossible to sift through..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Our mind doesn't have an "edit" feature after all. The most succinct description I could use for Enard's prose is that it feels "unedited" and I mean this in a positive way. The prose actually reads like the way a person's train of thought actually might if allowed to unspool in an uninterrupted manner..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The writing in ZONE is absolutely stunning. Layered, unconventional, demanding yet rewarding, this is the kind of book that reminds me why I love literature ❤️ 6mo
16 likes16 comments
Seven Days in August | Brit Bildoen
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There is a lot of literature about grief. But it feels inadequate. There is still that ever elusive quest to seek out more literature about grief, or rather literature about the aftermath of grief to search for answers of the questions lodged within the scars of oneself....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Scars that instead of healing are reopened by the incisive existential pondering induced by literature of this ilk.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....SEVEN DAYS IN AUGUST by Brit Bildøen is one such work of literature that pertains to the aftermath of grief. A couple, Otto and Sofie, in their late fifties are mourning the death of their daughter Marie. Marie was killed in a terrorist attack a few years before the beginning of this novel.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Otto and Sofie are trying to put up an appearance in front of society. They attend social events in an attempt to stay toe to toe with the world around them. But, within, they are probably somewhere beyond a point of return.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....The book takes us through a week, a rather eventful week, in the lives of Otto and Sofie. From a disastrous art exhibition to an unplanned expedition to their cabin in their woods which turns into an exercise in renovation after witnessing the decrepit state of said cabin to Otto meeting with an accident to Sofie almost discovering Otto's infidelity..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Because of Bildøen's eventful storytelling, the book is a page turner that can be breezed through in a single day inspite of its heavy subject matter. The first two-thirds of the book is a meditation on grief and its ripple effect on the lives of the people it leaves behind in its wake.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is a particularly poignant sequence where Bildøen mentions an anecdote about a widower who pretends to dance a waltz, a waltz with an invisible partner, the invisible partner being an imagination of his wife. Life post the loss of someone in a way is akin to this aforementioned waltz with an invisible partner, a waltz with a void.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....The last third is where the book sadly falls apart where it becomes a bit too eventful, where it feels like events don't get the space they need to breathe and instead are a part of a domino effect that eventually leads to an ending that feels a bit too deliberate. The kind of ending that feels like it is trying too hard to coalesce its themes into a coherent ending.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....But irrespective of the book losing its footing towards the end, it nevertheless is worth reading for Bildøen's lyrical, poignant prose. 6mo
Suet624 A waltz with a void. Again, a wonderful review. 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Thank you so much Sue ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 6mo
15 likes10 comments
The Years | Annie Ernaux
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May 10th 2016, VivoCity mall, Singapore. The music being played was an eclectic mix of jazz and pop. Naughty Dog studios finally released their much anticipated fourth installment in the UNCHARTED franchise. I used to be a huge UNCHARTED fan back in the day. I asked dad whether I could get a copy. Dad said "You've already purchased two videogames in this trip.......well.......ok, you can have it!"....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....I remember being over the moon as soon as I heard that. We walked into the store, I picked up a copy of the standard edition of the game and stood in the queue to bill, dad pointed out to something and asked me "What is that?". Dad was pointing to a copy of the "Special Edition" (an edition of the videogame that came with a steelbook cover and an artbook exclusive to that particular edition) of UNCHARTED 4.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....I told him "Dad, that is the special edition of the game, this edition won't be releasing in India due to a logistics decision by the publisher Sony". Dad immediately said "Buy the Special Edition!". I literally pinched myself to check whether the moment was real or not. That pinch did hurt but because of my elation due to what just transpired, pain gave way to joy!.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....We purchased a copy of the special edition and I immediately unboxed it, since I couldn't contain my excitement, but at the same time I was also paranoid about whether everything was in the case, the kind of paranoia that accompanies excitement. At first I was shocked to discover that the manual in the box and also the sheet that contained some digital unlockable items exclusive to the Special Edition were printed only in Cantonese.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....For a moment I was dejected by the fact that I bought an edition of a videogame I was waiting for ever since it was announced in a language that I can neither read, write or understand in general. Then, luckily my eyes fell at the back of the box where it was printed "Language of game: English".... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....I was relieved! I quickly put everything back in the box and put the box in the suitcase we had purchased a day earlier.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Later in the evening, we boarded our flight back home. It was a turbulent flight. When we reached and when we are at the conveyor belt to receive our luggage, my heart immediately sank when I saw that the suitcase in which my copy of the videogame was had cracked open, literally like an eggshell!.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Throughout the taxi ride home, I was worried about one thing "Is my copy of UNCHARTED 4 ok?". We reached home, I immediately opened the suitcase and I was relieved by seeing that my copy of UNCHARTED 4 was ok! Out of excitement, I barely slept that night! Inspite of arriving home late last night, I woke up early in the morning, booted up my ps4.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....inserted the UNCHARTED 4 disc and I never realised when minutes turned into hours and hours turned into an entire day!.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Its been years, I traded in my copy of UNCHARTED 4 for another game, the ps4 exhibited a fair bit of wear and tear and after running on its last legs for a few months, the ps4 is now defunct. To be honest, so is my interest in videogames anymore. Although, I wish I could change one thing about this, I wish the person who gifted me a copy of my most anticipated game ever was still around.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Now, this might sound like a pointless anecdote steeped in indulgent consumerism. Well, isn't that what the world is these days? "I'll get a coffee" being replaced with "I'll get a Starbucks". "That bag looks stunning!" being replaced by "That Louis Vuitton looks stunning!".... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Life in a way has become about tethering slivers of existence in a decrepit gossamer of consumerism. It eventually builds up to a cobweb, a cobweb that returns to dust, but now let's get that preorder because only limited copies are going to be in stock!.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....Annie Ernaux, in her stunning Booker International Shortlisted memoir THE YEARS, talks about the zeitgeist of France from 1966-2006, weaving a shape shifting narrative thread using anecdotes glimpsed from the lenses of pop-culture, socio-political news and ultimately, consumerism.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....In one of the most poignant sequences of the book, she talks about how the concept of the gradual yellowing of pages and creases gradually being formed on the cover is a concept of yesterday since everything is available at a mere click of a button ever since the advent of the bottomless pit, that is the internet!.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Ernaux's prose seamlessly travels time and space and juxtaposes the personal with the socio-political in a manner so seamless that one is left in awe at the exquisite craftsmanship at display, the kind of craftsmanship that is so seamless that it almost feels invisible.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....I read this book in what could be called a feverish pace in a mere span of two days, because of how absorbed I was by Ernaux's exquisite prose and by the time I flipped the last page, I immediately added Ernaux's entire bibliography in my wishlist! Well....in that regard Ernaux is indeed right, life and consumerism are rather seamlessly intertwined! 6mo
kspenmoll Wonderful writing yourself! 6mo
Suet624 @kspenmoll is right. Wonderful piece of work here. Consumerism. Instant gratification. It‘s something I watch from afar and wonder how it‘s all come to this. People have lost their way. Except for books. I need them all. Especially this one apparently. 6mo
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A few years back, when we were young, we looked at the world dreamy eyed. Then as the age old adage goes, "life happened". We wanted something, what we recieved was the polar opposite. Sometimes we did recieve what we wanted, but not in the manner we dreamt of receiving it. But once we recall what we dreamt about, it is probably too late....(continued in the comments)

nathandrake1997 ....Too late" is probably when adult life begins. "Too late" is probably when instead of a book, we have an excel sheet open in our laptop before bed. "Too late" is probably when we start reading to meet a deadline instead of reading for pure literary pleasure..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ...."Congratulations, you have been recruited" could also be a "too late" in disguise. "Congratulations on your wedding" could also be a "too late" in disguise. "Congratulations on having a kid" could also be a "too late" in disguise. Life in general could be a protracted existential manifestation of "too late"..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Alice Munro's exquisite short story collection is about people gradually slipping into this "too late" existential conundrum. One character remarks that what probably draws people to a lake in their area is the fact that the flow of water gradually chips away what once existed and gradually withering its existence, in a way the lake probably resembles life itself for a lot of the characters in this short story collection.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Written in a sparse yet unflinching manner, these are heart-wrenching and haunting stories about everyday existential dilemmas deliberately presented in a manner in which the protagonist is an observer of the events in a third person's life.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This "third person's" life is presented deliberately in a three act structure, as if the protagonist is viewing this person's life in a manner that one would watch a film.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This in turn makes a broader comment on how in a bid to escape from the existential quandaries of one's life, some people instead try to get invested in a third person's existential quandaries in an almost schadenfreude manner.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This innovative use of perspective makes this short story collection an uncomfortable and unforgettable read! Absolutely stunning! 6mo
17 likes7 comments
The Books of Jacob | Olga Tokarczuk
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Where do I even begin? At the razor-sharp satirical depiction of religious fundamentalism? At the mind-bogglingly intricate gossamer-esqe mosaic like portrait of a forgotten historical figure? At this being one of the finest works of historical fiction I have ever read? This book being unlike anything I have ever read? Something I said for her last book that I wrote about, the 2018 Booker International winning masterpiece FLIGHTS, as well?....

nathandrake1997 ....This book is all the above mentioned plus a lot more, a lot lot lot lot lot more! Composed using a myriad of sources and framed in a myriad of narrative techniques, from autobiographical accounts to letters to anecdotes to the perspective of a character in a state of existence that is somewhere between life and death....almost dead but still not quite there.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....THE BOOKS OF JACOB is a landmark historical fiction novel that is both groundbreaking and compelling..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ...."It needs to be seen to be believed", a phrase thrown around quite often, but rarely earning its merit. Well, this novel is one of those rare instances when this overused phrase earns its merit!.... 6mo
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nathandrake1997 ....The most interesting aspect of this magnificent novel is its use of perspective. The novel tells the story of a forgotten historical figure, the self-proclaimed messiah Jacob Frank who travels across Europe and amasses a cult following and develops a fanatical sect of Judaism that engages in dubious rituals in the guise of religion, at one point even forcefully converting everyone to Catholicism.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Tokarczuk tells Jacob's story using a myriad of perspectives. The most outlandish bits of his story are told in the form of anecdotes, mentioned as "scraps", written by his most ardent follower Nahman, which is a broader comment on how problematic the indoctrination induced by Jacob's pedagogy was.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....Meanwhile, the historical context is fleshed out in an epistolary manner, as letters exchanged between a woman and a priest. There is a third perspective that Tokarczuk uses, that of the "almost dead" Yente, a woman whose body is gradually turning into crystal while she is dying.... 6mo
Alfoster Wonderful review!👏👏👏👏❤️ 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....where the entire mosaic of the various perspectives used to tell Jacob's story finds its objective glue, the resulting composition being what we eventually end up reading..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 .....As someone who has been an atheist ever since he was introduced to the concept of religion, it was interesting to read a philosophically nuanced work of fiction regarding theological themes. This is a novel that invites pondering and discussion about its depiction of theology instead of merely drawing conclusions..... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is a novel that is mature enough to present its themes while letting the reader draw their own interpretations instead of spelling out and spoonfeeding.... 6mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is a lot one can talk about while writing about something as monumental as this masterpiece. But that would mean spoiling its many, many, many surprises. All I'll say is, dont be intimidated by its length, this is that rare tome that reads like a novella! 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Alfoster Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 6mo
BarbaraBB Wow, I guess there is no escaping this one after reading your review and that by @Simona ! I bought the book, I just need to start!! 6mo
batsy What an engaging review 💜 It really sounds fascinating. There's a review by Fredric Jameson on this in the LRB that's also piqued my interest tenfold. I have this and Tomb of Sand especially marked to read from the Booker and I hope both make the shortlist because I certainly won't be able to read it before it's announced 😆 6mo
nathandrake1997 @BarbaraBB Can't wait to read your thoughts on the book ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 6mo
nathandrake1997 @batsy Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I really, really, really want to read TOMB OF SAND as well ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 6mo
Simona Excellent review (as always) of a excellent book❣️ No excuses any more @BarbaraBB 😘 6mo
BarbaraBB @Simona I have my copy ready to go. Now I just have to start. That‘s all 😇 6mo
nathandrake1997 @Simona Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 6mo
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The Book of Sand | Jorge Luis Borges
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Beginnings and Endings. It happens, but do we remember? We are given several anecdotes about how adorable we were as a toddler or how we used to cry at the slightest inconvenience or how we used to laugh as though there is no tomorrow, but do we remember? We are told that we fell innumerable times before we learnt to finally walk, but do we remember? (Continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....The beginnings we remember are instead the beginnings we contrived. The beginning of a career, the beginning of a relationship, the beginning of parenthood, the beginning of life in a new village/town/city/state/country.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....Endings are a conundrum of their own accord. Eyes shut while the rug of life is swept from under our feet in barely a moment's notice. If there is an afterlife, will we remember this ending?.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....Memory is in a way akin to "The book of sand" in the titular short story in Jorge Luis Borges' frighteningly brilliant short story collection THE BOOK OF SAND, in which the protagonist chances upon a book that has no beginning or ending, but the book does exist nevertheless..... 7mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Borges is concerned about existential quandaries, retrofitting them in a magical-realism framework that doesn't really have a beginning or an end, what happens....just happens, whether ordinary or extraordinary, time flows like quicksand, it isn't concerned whether what happened was ordinary or extraordinary, it is quicksand after all, it will flow nevertheless..... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....This edition also includes another short story collection by Borges titled SHAKESPEARE'S MEMORY. This volume is concerned with the act of creation and destruction. Time plays an integral role here as well. Creation in a way is a protracted act of destruction. Storytelling is attributed as a generational form of art.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....Each generation passes down a treasure trove of stories to the next generation, but while doing so, making a few dents and scratches to the once pristine treasure. These dents and scratches become progressively profound generation by generation until what's passed down doesn't even remotely resemble what was intended to be passed down.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....From the blooming and burning of a fabled rose to the passing of a set of blue stones whose number is infinite, Borges uses these fantastical devices to allude to existential beings like memory, how each generation passes down its caresses and scars to the next.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....From the blooming and burning of a fabled rose to the passing of a set of blue stones whose number is infinite, Borges uses these fantastical devices to allude to existential beings like memory, how each generation passes down its caresses and scars to the next.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....There is literature that is so good that it keeps one engaged, then there is literature that is so good that it has a profound impact on the reader, then there is literature that is so scarily good that it haunts the reader moments after the last page has been flipped.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....The brilliance of Borges' prose is of the scary kind. This is the kind of prose whose brilliance almost felt disturbing. This is the kind of prose where I felt like I needed moments, or scratch that, lifetimes worth of time to catch my breath and come back to my senses and make sense of everything around me.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....Borges writes in a manner that is so absorbing that the world around oneself blurs to the point of non-existence, the only beings that exist are the reader and the prose, the kind of prose that is so absorbing that it almost blurs out even the author's existence. 7mo
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Girl, Woman, Other | Bernardine Evaristo
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Identity. Something I have struggled with all my life. I was born a man, but I've got a confession to make, I've never felt comfortable in a man's body. In fact, there were times it was one of the myriad of sources of despair for me. School made things even worse. "I doubt you are a man" was one of the many barbs that bullies in school used against me, after beating me up, I was accused by them of not being "man enough"....(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....My reclusion from my classmates grew even more profound as the years passed by. Years that felt like decades, a decade that felt like a millenium and then some more.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....While school got over, "be a man" continued to haunt me like a shape shifting mirage.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....Years later, when my father passed away, one of my relatives took me for a drive and on the way, he explained to me in problematically patriarchal detail that how I now had to be the "man of the house". That conversation made me so uncomfortable that I wanted to throw up.... 7mo
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nathandrake1997 ....I'm not a huge "shopping for clothes" person, but I do have a favourite article of clothing. It is a blue colour pyjama with pineapples printed all over it. It feels comfortable. My father detested that pyjama and called it "girlish". I didn't stop wearing the pyjama, but now it reminds me of my father in a way I don't want to remember him.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....My father was someone who took the whole "masculine" thing very seriously. When I confessed at home that I was being beaten up by bullies at school, my father in turn scolded me and told me to "be a man".... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....No wonder "be a man" still haunts me.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....When I watched Barry Jenkins' Oscar winning masterpiece MOONLIGHT, while seeing Chiron struggle with his identity, especially when being forced to live up to society's tenets of "masculinity", and when in the end he wept on his best friend's shoulders, I wept along with him, because in a way, through Chiron, I saw my own struggle of identifying with masculinity.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....GIRL WOMAN OTHER by Bernadine Evaristo is about twelve people who in their own subjective ways are struggling with identity. From gender to sexuality, the gamut of struggle pertaining to identity is quite broad and Evaristo weaves together these existential quandaries in such a seamless manner that it almost feels miraculous that a book as exquisite as this exists and works the way it does!.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....This is the book that gave me the courage to open up about my struggle with gender and identity in general. This is the book that made me feel "seen", especially in a world that is getting existentially claustrophobic day by day. This is the book that gave me the courage to finally say that I don't want to "be a man" anymore!.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....I'll sign off by saying that this masterpiece deserved a solo Booker win! 7mo
TheKidUpstairs Thank you for sharing such a personal part of yourself in a wonderfully written and expressed review. I hope you continue to find ways and works that help you feel seen and able to express your own identity outside of society's stereotypical constraints. And I 100% agree on the solo Booker win. I love Atwood, but I felt like that award was more of a nod to her career rather than something the book (which was good) really deserved. 7mo
batsy What @TheKidUpstairs said. Thanks for sharing that struggle with gender and identity—it's something I feel so many of us can relate with the more we talk about it. And I'm grateful for the books that enable us to open up. This is a beautiful, heartfelt review 💜 7mo
Simona Thank you for being so vulnerable❣️ … and I agree with the solo win. 7mo
nathandrake1997 @TheKidUpstairs @batsy @Simona Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ 7mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I'm sorry you were treated that way. I hope you have people around you now who love and support you. 💕 I will definitely be reading this book now. And watching Moonlight. I don't think I really knew what that movie was about. 7mo
Suet624 Oh my goodness. My heart just opened up so very wide and all I want to say is I LOVE YOU. And thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. 7mo
nathandrake1997 @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ And, MOONLIGHT is one of my all-time favourite films ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 7mo
nathandrake1997 @Suet624 Sue ❤️ You made my day 🥺❤️ I love you too ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ 7mo
Suet624 ❤️❤️❤️ 7mo
kspenmoll Thank you for your eloquent writing, honesty & vulnerability. 6mo
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As a kid, I used to dream about becoming an astronaut. Then school happened and I realised I had no knack for maths or the sciences. I am nevertheless fascinated by the outer space. (Continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 ....As I grew up, I wanted to become a pilot, but then, a few years later, airplane anxiety kicked in and now I need a pill to slow my heart rate to travel in an airplane without triggering an anxiety episode.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....When I was in college, I wanted to become a filmmaker, but a few months before my graduation, my father passed away and eventually I had to take up a corporate job. A while later, I fell out of love with cinema, a medium of art I grew up experiencing and loving.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....Currently, I am trying to become a writer. I don't use the term "want to" anymore. As life has taught me, it always leads to disaster.... 7mo
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nathandrake1997 ....Life is more about sweeping the broken shards of once harboured expectations than harbouring those very expectations. If life is a plate, then a dream is that initially invisible hairline crack which threatens to shatter the plate while being oblivious to the person eating from that plate.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....This plate filled with hairline cracks is in a way the 60s Hollywood that Joan Didion depicts in her stunning and heartbreaking novel PLAY IT AS IT LAYS. The protagonist Maria, who while trying to make it in Hollywood is also gradually growing disillusioned with the industry due to her harrowing experiences, reminds me of Esther from Sylvia Plath's exquisite THE BELL JAR..... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....Both are initially fearless women with dreams and both in a way trapped in an existential bell jar that they are unable to escape no matter how hard they try.... 7mo
nathandrake1997 ....The world is our oyster sounds rather misleading. The world is our bell jar sounds more apt! 7mo
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