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An Indian Goes Around the World – II

An Indian Goes Around the World – Ii: What I Learned from My Thirty-Day European Odyssey by [Prabhakaran, M.P.]

M.P. Prabhakaran takes readers across ten countries in Europe. The exciting journey is filled with amazing experiences, new trials, immense learning, and lovely interactions. Reading the book made me understand why the author modified English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s words and said: “The more I travel, the more I discover my ignorance.” Traveling the world is truly fun, at least that’s what I got from M. P. Prabhakaran’s book. I learned quite a number of things as I read.

The first city the reader is introduced to is Stockholm. The fact that the author visited the Swedish city twice confirms just how much he loved being in Stockholm. One can say that M. P. Prabhakaran is inquisitive in nature. That is perhaps the reason why he knows about a lot of people, their culture and the political climate in their respective countries. He is also charismatic and easy to talk to. I loved the conversation he had with the Swedish woman married to an Iraqi while riding a bus in Vaxholm. I empathized with the woman and her baby. I loved their conversation though. Mr. Prabhakaran knows how to keep the conversation going and that’s why the woman felt comfortable talking about her life with a stranger.  The author’s conversations are among the things that made the book a lovely read.

It was interesting reading about the author’s encounter with the Russian Mafia on a St. Petersburg street. Being a target because you are a foreigner is no fun at all. There was a lesson at the end of it all; don’t put all your cards in one pocket.  You would have imagined that his trip would have been smooth without any trouble. His harassment with the mafia was however just a little problem that was averted without the author being harmed. His trip was mostly pleasant, with only a few incidents that can be ignored.

From Stockholm to Bergen, to Helsinki, Prague, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and all the amazing places the author went made the story exotic, for someone that hasn’t been to all these places. Having to travel through all those countries in just 30 days is not a simple thing. The author enjoyed walking, taking the train and even flying to go see the world and learn about societies.

The author is knowledgeable in the political state of the countries he traveled. I admired that in him. I would be there reading about his beautiful trips, then out of nowhere, he would throw in a fact about the leadership of a country either in the past or present. I love that he reminded the reader of a little history that may have been forgotten.

I understand why M. P. Prabhakaran took to traveling in Europe. Given an opportunity, I would travel the world as he did. I loved that he also documented every interesting thing because I enjoyed reading his tales. “An Indian Goes Around the World – Ii: What I Learned From My Thirty-Day European Odyssey” is a lovely book that will make you want to travel.

Pages: 270 | ASIN: B0794N38FB

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The Butcher’s Daughter: A Memoir

The Butcher's Daughter: A Memoir by [Grende, Florence]

Florence Grende’s parents survived the Holocaust and managed to settle in New York City to provide a new life for their children. The horrors of their past, however, never leave them and infiltrate every aspect of their lives in the United States. Florence, their daughter, grows up watching her parents keep their demons at bay as she learns as much about her family’s haunting past as she learns about herself. Grende’s questions about her mother’s outbursts and her father’s deep, dark sadness lead her to answers she is afraid she already knows but is not willing to admit.

The Butcher’s Daughter is Florence Grende’s own recollection of her life in New York City and her struggle to come to terms with her parents’ own battle with the memories of their lives in Germany during the Holocaust. Grende’s memoir is written in a unique and gripping style. Her words flow from page to page in the most poetic fashion with emphasis placed on short, striking bits of text highlighting especially difficult memories.

Grende pulls her memoir together with short chapters, each focusing on specific situations, distinct memories, and her own analyses of events from her childhood and teenage years. I looked for the memoir style to follow a sequential order but, in Grende’s case, the random scattering of memories and the jumps she makes from one time period backwards and then forward again works well. Her own confusion and the turbulence dictating her life as a result of her family’s past is reflected effectively in the style of writing chosen by the author. Short bursts of memories are easy to read, engaging, and incite the reader’s curiosity.

It is not often readers are afforded a look into the author’s own experiences. Grende gives readers a particularly vivid picture of the trauma and the lasting impact the Holocaust had on the ensuing generations. Her father’s behavior and neediness are sad in a way I find it almost impossible to describe. She underscores the way he seems to emotionally cling to her in a markedly poetic chapter in the second of the book’s three sections. Never is her father’s tragic past more clearly defined than in his sadness and desperation at losing her to her new husband.

Closure being the goal for Florence Grende, I felt relief for her as she details her journey for answers and the meeting which brings her face to face with people on all sides of the Holocaust. Her writing experience begins with her trip to Berlin and the diary that starts it all. I felt the tension as I read of Grende’s meetings with fellow survivors and descendants of Nazis. The horror stories flow, and Grende, at last, shares her own with those who can, not only relate, but wish for the same closure as the author herself. Grende writes of these meetings with raw emotion and does more to help readers absorb the truth of history than is ever possible with any textbook.

Florence Grende has bared her soul and shown readers a perspective on history that most of us will never fully grasp. She walks readers eloquently through a minefield of emotions and tackles the savagery of the Holocaust with truth, directness, and poetic prose.

Pages: 148 | ASIN: B01M751TN4

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The Immortality Trigger

The Immortality Trigger

With a start in Berlin, 1945, The Immortality Trigger launches into present day, hurtling between Europe, South America and Africa with a gripping pace.The author, Douglas Misquita, is moved to write large-scale thrillers, and with the second book in this series, surely achieves that goal. Not only is this book vast and well-written, the story it tells picks angles with many appeals.

The Immortality Trigger clips along as expected being at heart an action-thriller and were it not for the hook at the beginning taking place during the closing years of the Second World War that hinted at monstrous experiments, it may be too stuck in one genre. But for fans of fast-paced modern tales with global reach that dabble in history, this is a perfect storm. Having the hint of science fiction gives the story a cross-genre feel, and the monstrous brutality at once has an otherworldly feel while being rooted in our dark reality. Turning the news on the right channel, and you will see how timely and accurate these atrocities are. All of them. From the experiments that took place in wartime Germany to the extermination happening in countries from east to west alike, the author offers some guide to fact at the end of the book.

From the outset, we follow INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff. Her grandfather has succumbed to cancer and his wish of being stored cryogenically has just been carried out. In his safe lay ties to an ancient society still very active today. Too active, as the bombing incident that killed her parents only a week before may be involved somehow.

Illegal fight rings delight in the superhuman strength of Luc Fortesque and it seems being more than human is something of a problem. He’s not the only one. An experimental and unstable drug he was given may make him a star in the ring, but Luc won’t rest until he’s found the transhumanist faction responsible. He may be an army of one, but there are armed and demented soldiers between him and his goal.

Colombian newspapers have been blaring the face-off between drug-lord El Fantasma and their rival, El Angel, who will stop at nothing to bring down the cartels. After a vicious and heart-stopping fight – in the middle of a bust free-way in daylight – a terrible clue is left bleeding in the leg of El Fantasma; a silver dagger. With no clue how this Nazi war relic came into El Angel’s possession, the threads begin to draw together when everyone involved needs answers.

By the midpoint of the book it seems nearly impossible for these factions with their very different worlds to be pieces of the same puzzle, but readers will delight in how problems new and old have become entangled.

Overuse of jargon, while inevitable in a story that deals with military language, is much more noticeable in the beginning of the book. Nearing the middle, it is either not as glaring or has been quelled. Using the same word four times in one paragraph never sounds right, however, and there are a few points where this is troublesome. Very tightly written otherwise, going from lush landscapes to cities, drug-fuelled frenzies to tense negotiations. For fans of epic thrillers, Douglas Misquita may well be the next binge read. With many previous books, this new series reads like a flashy blockbuster film, so it must be worth it to see where this author has come from. The cast is large, though not entirely dizzying so just enough to feel like a realized world of people but still keep track of all the players. While there is a little tedium in jargon, having a near Lucha Libre feel to the Colombian stand-off, the ghosts of Nazi Germany and pharma-infused soldiers leering from the shadows knocks this all closer to a perfect action novel for fans of bleak, realistic and dark action.

Pages: 386 | ASIN: B077GHCT7X

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