Tuesday, February 09, 2010

1067 : Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness


I think I have some clue why I felt so weirdly “fading”  at 8pm today.  I finished Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness at 745pm.

This is the BEST (read my lips B E S T) book I have read in the past 10 odd years. I think I read the last book which left such an impression on me was “The Last Jet Engine Laugh” by Ruchir Joshi.


This book is about an Alzheimer patient called Jacob (Jake) and his travails.

What I loved about it, and absolutely loved it
- The book is not about pain, dejection, melancholy, anguish….its what it is. It tells a story, as life is.
- Language is poetry in motion. There are parts of this book, which I can read every day of the rest of my life, just like I would read the Bible.
- The narrative plot is a genius. The first person bits are tottering, factually incorrect, just like that of a Alzheimer patient. The second person bits are strange and “fading”.
- The book does not clarify, it leaves you with multiple versions of the same incident, all of them (or none of them) could be correct.
- At the end of the book, you feel you know Jake as intimately as if he were your own brother. You want to see him survive in his battle against his memory….want to see him soar, want to hear him sing….want to see him end peacefully.

If you like Rushdie or Gabriel Garcia or JM Coetzee, go for this – this book shall leave you mesmerized and strangely “fading”….a feeling which is neither good nor bad…it just is.

The best 500 rupees, I have spent in the last 10 years.

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