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Knut L. Seip
- Publié sur Amazon.com
To give these book 5 stars is like giving a public kiss, not quite com il faut. This book is, by the way, about secret kisses. "Sometimes we kissed every time she solved a problem"(p. 197). "She" is Vidya. (She could now officially make her own decisions. Unofficially, she had done that since her birth." p.195). She is 18 years old and she is, in her way, a distant sister (sic!) of Ibsen's "Nora" or Larsson's "Salander".
I think the main message of Bhagats story is about love, friendship and loyalty in an Indian society. Plus a Greek tragedy. There are other themes as well, cricket and cricket ambitions, of course, business ambitions, academic ambitions. Apart from the kisses and their story, this book is something like a draft for a Walt Disney family film: "I only like stories with happy endings" he said (p. 256) but in an Indian version. Here, a cricket match replaces an American football game as the first test of the hero's abilities, and the hero wins- of course (and we know that the hero will win), - however, this first time, the hero is not the "I" of the story. The second test for the second hero, which is now the "I", is more like the finale of an American western film. So, how do two such stories blend? In Indian version it works well, telling something about ambitions and love, but much more about the Indian society, I believe.
So, why did I give this text four stars? I suppose it has to do with the nature of the meeting point between the author and me, as the reader. I found the text charming, there were passages that I enjoyed immensely (but I do not think all other readers will find the same passages as thrilling as me.) I realize that the text must have been written with a Bollywood script version in mind, that there are scenes and sentences that are not very innovative, "and yet..", as Professor Henry Higgins might have said. I bought the book in a small, nice bookshop in Delhi with employees sitting at their desks as in a library. It helps. And there are two observations in the text that I often return to: when I see old men reading newspapers, I recal the sentence: "Ish' dad sat on the dining table, continuing his PhD on the newspapers of India" p.195, and the second sentence I recal when I visit stores during daytime. The "I", Govind Patel, has just calculated the break even point for sales in a new shop, and thinks.. " The dull aspect of opening a shop is boredom."..and even with 20 customers a day it meant only around two customers an hour." p. 24.
Citations: "Australians give the word laid- back new meaning." P. 171. "India is not a place for dreams" (p. 115). "We locked eyes again. In an entrance exam for insolence". (p. 156). Ish and I looked at Omni for footnotes" (p. 33). "A voice in me still protested, but now the voice had no volume" (p. 185). Why do old people like newspapers so "much? They love reading news, but what do they do with it? (p. 180)