Month: April 2015
Neil Gaiman, i have heard the name of the author before but had not read anything by him. Caroline was an animated movie i had watched with my brothers and was fascinated by it. The colors, the dream like state of all characters, the wicked shadows, everything in it was dark and at the same time was so colorful. At that time i did not know it was based on a book. But reading this book i could see the similarities in the writing style. Neil Gaiman writes books on children or more like on children nightmares and imaginary games. He says the most captivating things in his text.
The memories fade and blend and smudge together.
Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you right next to each other, and they could be continents away for all it means anything.
This book is all about a middle age man going back to the house of his childhood friend, he had suffered some great loss and he arrives unconsciously to the house of a short term friend he had made at age of 7. There he sits by a pond which he remembered his friend telling him was an Ocean. From there he falls in old memories. When he was a boy, made a friend, with a girl who was not what she looked like, but then nobody really is what they look. They had a small adventure which leads to number of very complicated events. Of course he is made to forget those events. but
Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet but they are never lost for good.
The story revolves around a boy who likes to read and is people shy, but there is this thing the author says, which is next to my own heart
I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than that they just were.
The story is like a child nightmarish dream, its vivid but creatures in it don’t have names, they just are because the children do not question thing like possibilities, believing in things which are not possible is very different for them, they had not yet put the world in the boxes of possible and impossible, they had not established which dreams are silly and which are just dreams.
Adults follow paths. Children explore.
the whole book, is about a boy’s encounter with people who are not normal human beings, and other creatures which come from the beyond the bounds of this reality. This is a different fantasy. It darkly beautiful book.
Adults should not weep, i knew. They did not have mothers who could comfort them.
Firstly: The narrator of this book is the guy who grew up with the Pakistani dream, which is immigration and making a lot of money, and raising his and his family’s standard in the society. (Pakistani’s are excellent at doing hard work outside Pakistan, because they get an equal fighting chance also foreign money has more respect in this society than any other kind of money.) There is no actual plot to the book, its few months of life of a young Pakistani who also happens to be a Muslim. It is story of the time where being brown in America was nothing much, where everybody got an equal chance. The narrator saw that america which would fulfill his dreams and desires turn against him and finally push him to leave. The narration in this book is extremely one sided. The narrator is talking to someone, but it is never explained why and how the meeting came to be. In the end of the book which means the very last page, the narrator turns out to be part of some organization or hinted to be and the listener turns out to be an agent or hinted to be. Both details completely irrelevant and unexplained due to the plot. The movie on another hand was like all movies are it try’s to give account of all unsaid and unexplained things. It gives a background of the listener which is hinted to be some kind of agent in the book. In movie they make him dual agent an analyst of current events working for CIA. The narrator, they also give an innocent persona in the movie. The make him an academician activist mistaken to be part of terror group. Not actually a member as hinted in the book. Even though he was an academician activist and a lecturer in book. These additions in the movie along with change of venue which was tea shop in Anakali bazar in Lahore, in book, not tea shop in Lahore university as in movie. But the changes in movie were understandable if it was complete copy of the book it would have been very dissatisfying watch.
Secondly: The movie and the book were very refreshing, they capture America and its its recklessness and dual standards for non-Americas especially the Muslims of Asia. There is thing in this book, which i am tempted to quote
“It seems an obvious thing to say, but you should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins.”
in the movie they skip that line a “disappointment”. But there is something in the movie which i think needs to be said more often than it is:
The kidnapping of an American is about as heavy its gets for them.
How very true that statement is. That’s the worse that has happens to them. 3000 were lost in America and they said how can something like that came to be. We have lost more than 100000 in the wars initiated by Americans and that is not the headline or a day that is mourned worldwide. Other than that more than 50000 have been just lost in Pakistan in terrorism. So kidnapping of an American is the worst for them, but for us, open fire on children has came to be.
Lastly: Mohsin Hamid never fails to impress me, someday in near future i want to be a writer and he is the writer whose writing style i want to adopt. He iss quick, simple and compelling. He truly has a gift for conveying himself with most appropriate words without ever having to over explain himself.