Sunday, September 11, 2011

And another one bites the dust....

And another one bites the dust....

I just finished “ The Last Hundred Days” by Patrick McGuinness, a semi-fictional account of the end of the Ceausescu’s regime in Romania. Set against a dying Bucharest, the account is amazingly detailed and realistic, as McGuiness explores an imploding dictatorship with the eyes of a Westerner. He does try to give the chief protoganist a “ local” feel, but that does not come through effectively. What does though, is a desparingly brutal account of a country raped and pillaged by a dictatorship hiding under the garb of communist and socialist society.

The book gives one an uncanny feel of a Graham Greene many novels set in banana republics ; like Haiti. One gets a feeling of       “ being there- done that” with this novel. The story telling is more report-ish than Graham Greene’s intense personal look at such regimes. It even has a “ Third Man” in the form of Leo - but he does not come to a bitter end as Harry Lime did, and the unnamed narrator plays the role of the innocent bystander, as Holly Martin did, admirably well.

The sad and sorry end to the Ceausescus is well documented here – ( warning - the scenes are distressing). Sad to say, the lesson is not learned by other such regimes, and their miserable rulers.

Odds and Ends

Booker short list

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

Snowdrops by AD Miller

Now why isn't " The Last Hundred Days" on this list?

Delhi Chronicles

On I saw a new book “Desperate in Dubai”, which sounds a lot like “ Sleepless in  Seattle”. So I am looking forward to “ Frustrated in Franfurt”, “ Sex in Singapore” and " Restless in Raipur".