Friday, July 29, 2016

Foreign movie Friday: Mustang

This Turkish film received quite a buzz last year at various awards shows, I remember. On watching it I was impressed but also, a tiny bit underwhelmed.

As the title suggests, it's a look at how cultural mores and strict observances regarding female chastity and girls' independence essentially wring the life out of spirited young things (mustangs) in a village in Turkey. There are five orphaned sisters (inspired by The Virgin Suicides, the director states) living under the iron fists of Grandma and an uncle. But while the American sisters of that film seemed to have offed themselves for no particular reason as far as I could tell, the Turkish ones here have a lot to struggle against. 

Sadly, the route to 'fixing' a girl's show of independence or heaven forbid, flirtation or attraction to boys, is an arranged marriage. Sad and familiar because it rings true for much of India as well, except that I fear most Indian girls would not even reach the level of frolicking that got these girls in trouble in the first place. Young, beautiful and wanting to explore their own femininity and character, the Mustang sisters are harshly curtailed and in fact, imprisoned within their home. 

Arranged marriages do take place for the two oldest. Finally, it is the youngest who turns out to be the most formidable, and takes the story forward to its conclusion. Although the conclusion itself left the story open for a continuation in any direction. 

I felt that we did not get to 'know' any of the girls, really. The youngest was no doubt the most engaging but the others were sort of skimmed over, even while their camaraderie was seamless and endearing. There were moments of genuine joy and real terror, and the seemingly-tyrannical elder ladies were not painted in a uniformly bad shade. The uncle turned out to be a nasty customer, but this aspect seemed a bit hasty and under-developed.

All in all, it's quite a tender look at the rarely-addressed subject of girlhood. Or maybe it's just me with my limited knowledge, but boyhood movies seem aplenty. Girlhood seems altogether too uncharted, too complicated (messy?) and finally, mysterious in terms of the cinematic lens. Mustang is a well-executed effort, if a little short of eloquent. 

Director: Denize Erguven
Overall rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ammunition

Talking to a friend recently, the subject of crying women came up. Women who cry in the workplace, that is. This friend, whom I'll call aid worker friend, thinks that this is a common phenomenon in my home country where he has been working for almost eight years now. He is Canadian but has had experience working in Sri Lanka, parts of Africa, and now India. 

He seemed baffled by the tears. Why do they immediately start crying when called upon to answer simple questions, he asked. If they goofed up, he stated, all they need to do is to assume responsibility and then they could work on rectification. But what the hell is up with the tears? 

I told him that it's simple manipulation of course. Most men become speechless when confronted with women's tears, that too at work. So what better way to get out of a tricky spot than to produce a few drops? Now I'm sure there are people who are genuinely moved to tears frequently, whether at work or outside. But here, the way my friend was posing the question, his own intuition told him that he was being maneuvered. 

Of course you are, I agreed. What should I do then, he asked, clearly frustrated at having his suspicion confirmed. Well, said I sagely. Why should you be so bothered by the sight of a few tears? Just wait a few seconds, offer a handkerchief, then ask her to go and complete the cry in private. Reschedule your meeting with the condition that the cry is not repeated, and with the agenda of solving the issue that brought on the crying in the first place. "You will feel like a jerk even if you don't say anything when she cries, " I carried on, "so take back control while showing that the tears will not sidetrack the actual issue."

He seemed satisfied. Wow, I congratulated myself, where the hell did that come from? I've never faced anyone crying in a meeting. 

If it happened, what on earth would I do? And would the crying trick work against me (a woman, har har) as well as it seems to do against men? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Montana vs. The Island of Perfection


All that blathering I did about coconut palms has unearthed a rather more serious issue than the mere hankering for fresh coconut water: the longing for a vacation. 

Poor J has been pining for one for ages now, but it is only recently that I have contracted the contagion as well. I was afraid of this: that the moment L.A. no longer seemed remarkable in that it no longer felt 'foreign', I would begin to whine to get away. 

Many moons ago we ran off to a little enchanted island for one shimmering week. Two days we spent in the strangely seductive, humid, tropically-colored capital, and then took one very dangerous bus-ride to a beach town four hours away. This beach, when we arrived, had me giddy with joy. (This picture was the view from our balcony.)

Even the daily afternoon rain did nothing to displease me. In fact, we would jump into the ocean when that happened. It was extraordinarily thrilling to be rained on while we were in the water, for some reason. Every morning they would bring us a grand pot of excellent coffee (one morning it was flavored slightly with ginger) that we would drink for about two hours. Through the days, we ate and drank like a famine was near. And in the evenings we took long, long walks along the curving beach, accompanied by one or two of the very individualistic dogs who called it home. 

I don't think time has beautified the memories I have, meaning these memories aren't extra-glowing because a few years have passed. That short week really was perfect. 

Coming back to the present, Montana has always appealed to me. Should I simply kidnap J and  go off? It is time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A drinking problem

I love L.A.'s palm trees. Skinny and mop-topped, they look strangely touching when they sway in the breeze with the sun beating down on them, like very thin children trying to stand up to bullies.

But I digress. What I actually want to say is that I miss the palm trees of Bangalore- coconut palms. We had a great one within arm's reach of our third-floor aerie. Very often it would be so full of coconuts that we would hear one or two dropping to earth with a truly impressive thud. In fact J and I had a running quiz going for our "Infrequently Asked Questions" game: How many people die every year due to their skulls being whacked by falling coconuts?

The metal staircase just underneath was a real haven for me at times of stress. Depending on whether I had the roof to  myself (there was a constantly changing set of boys living in the tiny place across from this tree) I would sit here to escape, if only briefly, from the unending chaos outside.

The other great advantage of having coconut palms in such abundance was, obviously, the easy availability of coconut water. (I detest the sight of the packaged ones you get here in the supermarkets and refuse to touch them.) Back in the south of India, the hottest days can be borne when you have a shot of this absolutely marvelous drink, straight from a coconut. No matter how high the temperature of the day, the drink itself stays cool in its shell. And if the coconut is ripe enough, you can eat all that luscious white meat as well.

Now if only someone would come up with a way to make those grow here. Maybe a brilliant scientist can marry the two types of palms. Then we'd have L.A. palms still, but with coconuts!

I may need to submit this idea to the Nobel committee.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Put another dime in the jukebox

J has always been a storehouse of musical knowledge. In fact back in Bangalore he had quite a fan following of young Indian guys who were desperate to 'rock out' as they put it- an ability they felt they lacked but J had in abundance because he comes from the land of rock and roll itself. But apart from this greatly admired quality, what they actually prized him for was his unending knowledge about any sort of music that they loved, mostly rock but also the genre that defined J himself when he was younger -  punk.
 
And then there's me. I know nothing. When it comes to music, I can state objectively that I am a big old dud. I used to think Fleetwood Mac was a person, and that Stevie Nicks was a man. Now Madonna, besides George Michael and the inescapable Michael Jackson were big during my high school days so I knew them, and I even had a poster of Madonna in my room; I was that cool. But for me, coolness as a desirable trait to possess very quickly stopped having any allure at all. This happened when I, in an attempt to fit in with the coolsters in my school, went and bought an album by the Scorpions because that was the thing to listen to. Well. One listen, and it was pretty plain that coolness was not for me. I put away that dreadful album and proceeded onward to listen only to music that appealed to me. 

Even today, while it's true that a lot of music appeals to me, it's just that I have no idea who plays it or sings most of it. Strange affliction, this. Going around with the maddening J, who knows the words to every song from every decade, is also quite sobering. 

Still, I'm the one he defers to when it comes to picking stations on the wondrous Pandora. A great compliment to my zero-knowledge, he states that he never thought he'd be with someone who has better musical taste than him. 

Ha. I knew electro-tango and Coke Studio Pakistan would be too much for him. Now only if this were a competition, I would win. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Watched: Cafe Society

Set in L.A. in the 1930s! That alone made me want to watch Woody Allen's latest. I was curious to see how the city would look captured through the lens of an auteur who is known for his love of New York. My curiosity was rewarded for about half of the film, whence the narrative flies across the country and lands back in....New York.

Still, it's beguiling enough to see glimpses of L.A. in its "golden age" even in passing. (I recognized the Chinese theater and felt absurdly elated.) The photogenic California light has also been lovingly rendered, and used to impart the characters with the dreamy glow of being young and in love. Indeed, in love with two persons at the same time, as is the fate that befalls Vonnie once she meets the new L.A. emigre called Bobby who is the nephew of her boss.

Kristen Stewart- Vonnie- has come a long way since the days when she was stuck playing a vampire or something in an earlier film. Strangely expressionless and distant there (I could watch a mere 10 minutes), here she is all life- from her hypnotic green eyes to her intriguingly raspy voice. Well done, Stewart, I must say. She offset the almost-annoying facial tics and rushed speech of her second admirer, the naive Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg who will forever remain Mark Zuckerberg in my head) to a good degree.

So who is the other man Vonnie loves? He's married with children, much older, and is rich and influential in Hollywood. Ergo, complications abound. Due to which, Bobby runs back to New York. And this is where it struck me that the sense of place is central to these characters. Bobby loves New York. He can never be 'at home' anywhere but there, and thus is able to readily flee L.A. and heartbreak... even if going back home means he's had to grow up very quickly and transform himself into something altogether different from his L.A. self.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

End of days



Not so long after I had rhapsodized about the sight of the mountains from our balcony and how the evenings turn lyrical when they are clear at twilight, etc., etc., they go and catch fire. Friday evening they glowed brilliant orange, and this time their nearness was unnerving. 

Against the soundtrack of the eerie, unending wails of the fire trucks, the fire burned and burned. By Saturday morning it had devoured thousands of acres. And turned the normally dazzling day dejected and still, with a layer of smoke so thick it rendered the sun into a neon-pink disc, tiny against a violet sky.

By 5pm, it felt like doom was near. Everywhere we drove we spotted people with their cameras trying to capture the alien daylight. The heat was so intense off the sidewalks (we foolishly walked, if only for a bit) that it was hard to breathe. 

Strange to think that in the country of my birth, halfway across the world, it is the opposite season. The monsoons are in full bloom and all is green and plentiful. Here it is the season of wildfire. Not so strange, though, on second thought... I knew I was traveling not just across the world but into a different world when I landed here a year ago. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

French movie Friday: Pour une femme

I'm beginning to wonder just how many novels and movies have been created with the setting of WWII. That's not a bad thing since I invariably do get drawn to that time period. This one, Pour une femme, is a quiet, unhurried little slice of three lives crisscrossed by love, betrayal, and the all-too-large shadow of the war itself.

Lena- mother of Annie and Tania, ex-wife of Michel- has just died and the two daughters are settling her belongings. Here is when Annie, a writer, discovers another side of their mother's life...although I wasn't clear on whether it was already a kind of open family secret. Still, Annie begins imagining and writing this story of her parents and Jean, her father's brother.

Lena and Michel meet at a camp for Jewish prisoners at the end of WWII. He pretends to be engaged to her and thus, they are released; but he has already fallen for her. Indeed he remains in love with her for the rest of his days. She on the other hand is deeply grateful and affectionate; is a good mother and housekeeper, but falls deeply in love with his newly-arrived brother, Jean. 

Now this brother is mysterious, he was previously presumed dead and there are some murky angles to his Soviet past. (The brothers are originally from the USSR). He moves in with Lena and Michel, and their doomed attraction begins over an amusing scene involving a gefilte fish that first gets put into a semi-filled bathtub but meets its end by slipping out of Jean's hands and flying out into the street. It's amusing not for the poor fish's fate but because of the terribly infectious giggles the two culprits burst out into later, at a fish-free lunch table in front of their guest. 

Thus do charming performances hold up this rather serious story. Take the wife of Michel's Communist Party boss, Madeleine. She's having an affair with another dreamy younger chap (I'm tempted to say "these French!") and soon becomes thick friends with Lena. (In fact there was a film made entirely on these two characters in 1983 called Entre Nous which I now want to see.) Then there's Michel's assistant at his men's tailor shop, Georges, mostly wordless but deeply endearing. And of course the entire film is beautiful with the backdrop of urban France and the three young leads being so charismatic - Jean in particular is quite the dish that most women would immediately fall for. 

The main question remains unresolved at the end. One doesn't really expect such neat bow-tied endings in a French film, I have come to discover. The title however, does tie in nicely, and brings about the most philosophical lines in the story along with old photographs of the erstwhile couple.

Director: Diane Kurys
Overall rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I got hit by a bus, watch it on Vine!

Today while we sat at a cafe with cool drinks to endure the heat wave, we watched as two small kids horsed around and posed expertly for photos. Of course there were no cameras, just the usual phones. No doubt the photogenic duo would have been instantly transmitted by the doting adults to their public via everything possible, from Instagram to Twitter. (Pictures on Twitter are called TwitPics. I don't know whether to howl with laughter or tears.) 

I make light of this but people's children today are looked at by virtually the whole world. And the kids themselves are so used to posing like their parents that I see kids as young as five making the peace sign (is that what it is, that baffling V everyone seems to be making with their fingers?) and pouting just so before their picture is taken. 

By the time they are 14, how many photos of the average child will have been shared across the Internet? I don't want to do the math. But here's my theory. When they grow up, the infants of today will need something to do that their grandparents aren't doing. Presumably the grandparents will still be fooling around with Facebook and the like. So the kids will go back to typewriters, refuse to pose for pictures unless they are with film cameras, and use phones only for talking to far-off people. 

By then I hope I would have scored that farmlet in rural Spain, so I will be unaffected. Of course I'm already a first-class curmudgeon - so I'm already unaffected. It's just that at times it's hard to keep biting remarks in check when you see a person with their head down and walking straight into you, personal space in this otherwise personal-space-obsessed culture be damned. And now the latest menace, Pokemon, where this sight is multiplied several times because it's groups of unseeing humans trolling the streets.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Watched: El Internado (The Boarding School)


Image result for el internado
Netflix has decided for some unknown reason to take El Internado off the air. To be fair they did give me adequate warning, but on Friday I still went to watch it as usual of an afternoon and found that it had disappeared. Sigh. I feel bereft.

Anyhow, I will do a review in memory of this slyly addictive show. Now at the outset I must say that no one was more surprised than me that I was so hooked, but the fact remains that it was strangely well-written for such a ludicrous premise. That premise being that there is a boarding school (the eponymous El Internado de la Laguna Negra) somewhere in rural Spain which attracts the kids of that country's elite, but there are mysterious events afoot with an abundance of underground passages, missing children from the school's history as a former orphanage, and adults with plenty to hide.

There is skulduggery, for lack of a better word, in every episode with breathtakingly foolish actions and impossible coincidences galore. However, to offset all this is the genuine chemistry among the cast and the almost constant thread of humor that lends the proceedings some lifesaving levity. At the center are the group of teenagers, the principal and teachers, the administrator Jacinta, and two staff members, Maria the cleaner and Fermin the cook.(We are to believe there is but one cleaner in a school of 400 students, but that is just one lapse to overlook because you are too addicted.)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The time is always right

The weekend has been lovely. First there was the churro-eating incident on Thursday night when I felt an inexplicable rush of happiness in the here and now. Then Friday when J began the day by bringing me white hydrangeas and colored pencils. (He always was a person after my own heart.) And today. 

We meandered around on the canyon roads intending to find a park to while away Sunday. But quite by accident we found another park, and of course we just proceeded to do the whiling away there, the other park having become unnecessary to find. This one had a nice wedge of grass under an old sycamore with a sliver of water running past. On the other edge was a large group, about 30 in all, apparently involved in some sort of informal church. 

J had packed a hamper of fruit and goodies, having taken my whining for French toast the previous morning as fair warning that I would be hungry all weekend. There was Scrabble, of which we had one very sedate game. I took a stab at starting a new book (marvelous, new author, great find) and ate a red plum whose juice splashed onto the grass. Meanwhile J, who is reading about Leonardo da Vinci, showed me a self-portrait by the great man himself. "Do you think," J asks, "Leonardo could ever have imagined that one day there would be a couple in a park admiring his work somewhere across the globe and across the centuries?"

But mostly, we just sat on our foldable chairs, still sandy from the last excursion to the beach. If we looked up, it was to a grand filigree of sycamore leaves sighing in the wind. I think there is a word for this sound, I told J...susurrus. Too bad you didn't make that in Scrabble, he says, ending with a truism typical for him, "that's a you word."

Sometimes people ask me if I'm not bored. I'm not employed, you see. But to that I always say, I have all this. How can I be bored? I find it is a great privilege to feel happiness in this world, which with each passing day feels like a glass globe that we are smashing from the inside, maliciously, at every chance. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Eternal sunshine of the spotless balconies

California, land of sunshine....where no one knows the pleasure of drying laundry in all the blessed sun. What am I ranting about now, I hear you say? Well, it's like this. Ever since I started living here again, it's more or less a constant state of comparison between how they do things here vs. in the land of my birth. It can be rather exhausting but mostly it's just amusing. Take the clothes drying practices, for instance. 

While I am fully appreciative of technology (dishwasher, I love you) and the joy of uninterrupted electricity, there are times I miss the good ole' days. No one is allowed to dry clothes in the sunshine here. Now I do understand that it's for aesthetic reasons, and how good would that $13.2 million palace look with a queen-size sheet set hanging off the gazebo? Not very, I admit. Back in Bangalore there was a phase when I would walk up to my door and be greeted, just off to the side, by the sight of my loutish neighbor's (red) undies hanging to dry on his window railings. So I am on board with the beauty aspect of the insistence on using dryers instead of good old solar power. 

But the thing is, there is sunshine here ALL YEAR ROUND. All you can see is sunshine in this land of gold. For much of the year, it's blinding. It just seems like a colossal waste to my mind. Not to mention missing the feel of sheets folded just after they've been sun-dried to a snappy, fragrant fluffiness. 

And so for those of us who don't actually live in grand palaces or rambling estates bounded by the ocean, can't we just hang a delicate towel or two on a discreet balcony? 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Palm trees and happiness

Last night one of J's old friends visited us from out of town. It's the first time I was meeting him, having only heard his name as one of the many from J's old life. We first had some wine and cheese at home, then walked out into the neighborhood and got dinner at this great little pita place around the corner. 

Afterwards, we take the long route home. And come upon a little impromptu concert outside that churro place that has recently brightened the universe. The band consists of two dreadlocked boys with drums and a guitar and an assortment of electronic sound thingummies. So we stand to listen for a while. 

They are playing songs that are heard frequently on the radio, with the vocals issuing from one of the thingummies but the rest of the music being played live. Their version of the songs is like discovering that your hitherto plain neighbor is in fact a stunning beauty when you see her in a certain light...these two are doing something to those pedestrian pop songs that transforms them. Just two boys, playing. Do they know that to me, they seem as skilled and ancient as glassblowers or alchemists?

J and his friend talk and laugh, both being heavily musically-inclined and referencing old shows and bands that they had watched together all those years ago. All of it is Latin to my ears, but as the two of them banter and I catch flashes of J's smile, I eat my churros under my palm tree and I am happy.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Strawberries and cream

The gentlemen's final is almost upon us. Wimbledon, widely loved for prettiness and prestige, does also manage to consistently offer some real blockbusters when it comes to the men's matches. Take as an example Roger Federer's great magic trick in the quarter-finals against Croat giant Marin Cilic. Despite being coldly outsmarted in the first two sets, FedEx managed to pull it together and began executing some perfectly devilish trickery. Poor Cilic, he almost had it in the bag but choked when he realized the enormity of what he was almost about to pull off. Pity for him. Fedex just decided to buck up and win. 

But then of course today was a sad morning because Mr. Cool Swiss got his clock cleaned by the young gun Milos Raonic. Now here's an intriguing one. Another cool customer with nerves of absolute steel. 

And what of the Murray? He strolled in, cool as you please, and proceeded to wipe the court with the unfortunate Tomas Berdych. So now it's Murray vs. Milos. I am torn, I must confess. On the face of it I would say Murray for the win, but Milos Raonic is being advised by John McEnroe himself. Who can say what bits of genius are contagious? Still, for the sake of uplifting British spirits in the face of the unfortunate Brexit affair even if Murray himself is a Scot, maybe the Gods will see fit to grant him victory.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Readings

Half of the year is already over. It's time to see which books I've loved so far. Been a mixed bag as always, but since I've become a more demanding reader I'm pleased to say there are a few I did love.

In the order in which I read them, then...

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: Set in the late 1800s with characters like a girl who works in physics, a mechanical octopus, and a Japanese noble who is gifted with a multi-layered prescience. Drew me in with the quiet, introspective writing and the quite novel plot. It was like looking through a window one night at a cozy lit room with two people talking, and you never wanted to leave.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: An artistic rendition of a dystopian future in which a virus has wiped out 99% of humanity. Among the survivors are a traveling Shakespearean troupe and this is their story. Again, the writing is simple and shines like a small pearl. Despite the ending being maddeningly enticing in terms of wanting a sequel, I loved this.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell: This is, to put it simply, mind-blowing. Themes like spirituality, linguistics, love, family, and loss all run together but, incredibly enough, against the backdrop of space exploration. Inter-planetary relations with a good twist of God, if you will. It's complex and challenging, and I almost died at the end when the reason for the title is revealed. Masterful. I have my teeth right now in another by the same author so I'm a happy bird.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan Howard: I want to be friends with this Johannes Cabal. So what if he's a necromancer? He's such a loon while being a great brain at the same time, with a good dose of dry-as-heck wit to boot. What's not to love? To my delight I've found that he and his delightful brother Horst star in another installment of the series, yay!

Tigerman by Nick Harkaway: Quite an awful title belies the serene and limpid world to be found in this creation by the mad Harkaway. I didn't want it to end. 

Blindess by Jose Saramago: I'm not sure I've fully recovered from the trauma of reading this. It's a bitter form of genius, that. Shudder and thank you, Mr. Saramago. 

Honorable mentions:
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero
Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
The Pickle Index by Eli Horowitz
Not That Kind of Girl by Mary Wesley
Black Elk in Paris by Kate Horsley

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

It's a clear mountain kind of day

The universe in its infinite wisdom has decided to grant me a balcony. After eight years of whining about the inadequate one we had in our former home, I am fully appreciative. Even if eyesight must concede that is in fact a balconette, it has the redeeming feature of offering a view of the mountains.

On clear days they seem strangely near. Then at dusk, languorously late now in the summer, the neon lights come on. The palm trees sharpen in silhouette. The downstairs neighbor starts playing music on his balconette, invariably some homey country tune while he burns his dinner on the barbecue. 

And the mountains are not all. There is a whole wall of honeysuckle. There's a row of young olive trees and some unnamed purple wildflower and a giant old cypress to behold. The hummingbirds visit sometimes. 

A great sense of peace is to be found in this handkerchief-sized piece of the world. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Readings: Blindness

Blindness (Harvest Book) by Jose Saramago

Blindness is one of those works that leave you unsettled. That's the power of genius, to take the stuff of nightmares and craft it into a story that has no answers, and yet goes so deep that it wins the Nobel for literature.

As the title suggests, the main theme running through the novel is indeed blindness, the physical kind. What would happen if suddenly and without reason, people started losing their sight one by one? Healthy or otherwise, young or old, it spares no-one in this merciless world. I can hardly imagine anything more frightening. 

I will admit the first two pages had me doubtful for a few reasons. First, run-on sentences. Two, no quotation marks, just commas. And no names for any character. But all these quickly became just technicalities, a flourish rather than a gimmick. Indeed it contributed to the devastatingly clinical tone of the narrator himself. By page five, I had to wonder how I had never even heard of the author Jose Saramago, before. (There are so many occasions to feel ashamed of one's ignorance.)

The story, then. It slowly becomes apparent that the blindness, the 'white sickness' as named by the government, is contagious. Quarantine is the solution for the first few dozens afflicted. But then the sickness marches on so rapidly that soon the quarantine becomes a hazardous zone, in fact a living hell that claims many lives. But, and this is the guiding light of the narrative, there is one among the blind who can still see. Her peculiar position and her behavior, her agonies which are unique and separated from all around her, form a major part of the emotional jigsaw that is Blindness.

Chilling and pitiless, this is not a ride for the faint of heart. If I were younger, would I have submerged myself so deeply in the horror so plainly presented? I don't know. But Blindness finds slim glimpses of beauty in terror, almost-imperceptible humor in nightmare, and somehow speaks so many truths while giving no answers that I think it transcends age. You just need to be open enough to take a peek at one genius investigation into what has to be a universal nightmare. Don't even expect neatly tied up reasoning or major plot. Blindness is beyond that. 

Read it, and be thankful you have sight. (Somewhat shame-facedly, I admit I wonder if this book is available in Braille.)
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