Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Train Spotting | Of Bad Memories and Good Omens

It's 7-o-clock in the evening. The ladies in the Mumbai local have just wrapped up, and boarded a train back home. They're tired, hungry, sweaty and just want a little piece of floor/seat to themselves, a speck of isolation in the compartment bursting with others who also want the same, but can't afford it to others. In short - everyone's in a foul mood, wanting nothing more than to be left to their own devices, or in a few cases, their escapist reads. Here are two unique, interesting titles that I spotted this last one week.

Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman
I've never heard of a prophecy described as nice or even accurate for that matter and I've read a whole lot of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, mind. Even more reason to be intrigued by Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, which was spotted on my colleague Vidya, a colleague I ran into on the train to hell, sorry, Virar. "It'll be the end of the world by the time I finish reading this book," she lamented. Be warned though, she never leaves spoilers out of her summaries but we've had to good sense to edit them out of her rant. Here's what she had to say: "This book is hilarious! I recommend that everyone read it. It's about the end of the world and the Anti-Christ. Imagine if the end of the world were to be bungled up, like if someone were put in charge of Armageddon and they screwed it up, that is the crux of the book."
Buy Good Omens from Flipkart.com

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
The book's cover with its white dress, skeletal in appearance, might pass off for a really scary story featuring a little girl ghost from the 1800s. I can see it now: Four-year-old Tammy dies mysteriously, her presence lingers on in the mansion at the end of Allen Poe Street. Unable to cope with this loss (or so they say), her parents up and sell. The next owners who move in find a little white dress stored in a box filled with lavender. But to everyone's horroe, they find themselves lulled into a nightmarish trance from the moment it is opened.

But that's just my hard-to-tame imagination talking. I've read (half of) Kim Edward's The Memory Keeper's Daughter so I pretty much knew what it was about when I saw a girl on the local train reading it intently. A doctor, forced to deliver his wife's twins -- a boy and a girl -- on a cold stormy night, realises that his daughter has Downs syndrome. He makes a rash decision to send her off to an institution and trusts his nurse to make the delivery. He tells his wife that the baby girl died moments after birth and that they should try get on with life. But unbeknownst to the doctor and his wife, the nurse, Caroline, takes the baby away to another town and raises it as her own. It's a touching  story, so the only reason I put it down halfway was that it started to drag and I sort of lost my patience. But I wouldn't mind having another go at it soon. Or even better, I could use the book cover as inspiration to compose my own version on the slow train home.
Buy The Memory Keeper's Daughter from Flipkart.com

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