Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “The Confession”

by John Grisham.

1998. An abduction of a high school cheerleader. A black boy who happens to be in the same school. Oh, and this is a small town in Texas.

After spending nine years in prison, wrongly convicted for a crime he had nothing to do with, Donté Drumm is just days away from his execution, when serial rapist Travis Boyette comes forward and confesses to the crime. Set against the backdrop of a rotting legal and judicial system, this story is a mad race against time as a few good people, led by advocate Robbie Flak, frantically attempt to set matters right.

The story - desperately heartbreaking at times, wonderfully victorious at others - was beautiful. A fast-paced narrative added that element of swift page-turning that a story like this demanded. Adding to this were some truly memorable characters; the dramatic Reeva Pike, whose greatest desire appears to turn her tragedy into popular reality television; Keith Schroeder, the Lutheran pastor, whose desire to be good and do good is put to the ultimate test the day a criminal shows up on his doorstep confessing to a rape and murder that someone else is on death row for; and of course lawyer Robbie Flak who faces perhaps the greatest trial of his life as he fights for justice in a town steeped in bias and injustice.

A great story that left me alternately happy, angry, and very sad.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “Neverwhere”

by Neil Gaiman.

Away from his home and family in Scotland, Richard Mayhew is trying to make a life for himself in London. Other than a dull job and an overbearing girlfriend, London has not granted him any of the fantastic dreams he had hoped to realize. Enter Door. In saving a severely injured young girl who appears out of nowhere, Richard is sent on a mission to find the Marquis de Carabas, the only man who can help Door. And just like that, along with him, we fall through the cracks of this world and enter the unbelievable world of London Below.

With “Neverwhere”, Neil Gaiman sets us off on a magical quest for life in an underground land of death, disease, murder, mayhem, and all things truly, truly fantastical. We deal with Rat-Speakers. We make our way through the terrifying Night's Bridge. We meet the legendary Hunter. We appear at the bizarre Earl's Court. We take vampires for guides. We test our mettle at ordeals set by Black Friars. We visit the unique Floating Market. We are visited by an Angel ... And in all this, we are constantly running away from the horrific duo of paid assassins, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar.

An overwhelmed Richard wants to get back to his ordinary boring life; Door is on a mission to find out why her family was murdered; Hunter wants to kill the Great Beast of London. Gaiman adds to his usual world of fantasy, a touch of the mysterious, as the tale weaves in and out of the labyrinthine underbelly of London, through several twists and turns and surprise revelations, as varied characters with vastly different goals join forces in that weird underground world.

“He had gone beyond the world of metaphor and simile, into the place of things that are...” Richard Mayhew's speechless reaction upon first discovering London Below is precisely my reaction - each and every time - to the wonderful world of Neil Gaiman.