Monday, February 28, 2011

Three Books

I have read a few books these past days. That was before the cold virus landed in full force. Found only three of them worth mentioning. These are real gems though and  I am happy to talk about them.

The Savior by Eugene Drucker

At first glance it has the look and feel of a story similar to The Pianist. No I didn't read the book, only watched the movie and loved it. So then what is the big deal. Why bring this to the post? There you have it. It is a violin instead of a piano! OK just kidding:-)  It is quite an interesting story of a German (read Aryan) musician being reduced to playing for bored and angry soldiers and eventually for an experimental group of concentration camp inmates during the Third Reich. The expected but still ruthless conclusion makes us feel the human pain in full force. Being told from the other side of the fence by a sympathizing spirit is a good change. An intriguing aspect is the presentation of music and its organization for concerts even if not for the usual audience. I was not much into instrumental music until my son and now my daughter started piano lessons. They are not maestros but it is endearing and lively to listen to the sound of music played by little hands in the house. This gave me a new appreciation for music unaccompanied by voice. So enjoyed this book probably more than if I'd read it earlier. How else could I have appreciated  the presence of  Bach's Chaconne and its effect on the characters? Eugene Drucker is a Grammy winning violin artist and has given the equivalent of a beautiful concert to his readers here. It is loosely based upon the experiences of his father who was an accomplished musician in Germany during the period of the story. A good read doubtless.

A True Story Based on Lies by Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement is a well known poet and I knew that is why this book attracted my attention. Not really, but I have to say the book read like a poem. How could she express this deep deep story in such simple and elegant prose? Clement just  had to be a poet. The funny thing about the book is, there are not many words  in which one can describe it. It is an amazingly well written book. A lot is said in a little in this gem of a book. It goes through the exploited life of a woman named Leonora living among Mexico's impoverished tribes who finds work among its rich. The story maybe be oft told but we will see it anew through Leonora's eyes for whom I developed a certain admiration. This very real character will take a stranglehold on your heart and keeps you thinking whether you like it or not. This small book is simply too large to ignore.

Elizabeth Berg's Home Safe

Whenever I visited a library in Kerala, India there was an author that I could bring home in confidence. Elizabeth Goudge. I have read most of her books in this fashion. So when I fastened on the name Elizabeth Berg I had a deja vu that this is going to be a long relationship. A faithful author to read along the lines of Goudge, Piccoult, Divakaruni or Amy Tan. I was not disappointed. She seems to be a prolific author and I will be reading her books again.  Home Safe is all about writer Helen Ames and how she copes with writer's block and life in general after her husband's sudden death. It also explores her relationship with her daughter and her attempts to build a social network by teaching writer's workshops. I have half a mind to join one. Maybe in another 10 years? Read all of her books OK? Because I will.