The Father and The Bishop

I recently saw the movie The Father (2020) by Florian Zeller. It’s a poignant movie on the themes of aging and senility. Anthony Hopkins acts as the father who is losing memory, and along with it, a sense of what’s happening around him. To his family and us, it is abundantly clear, but the old man lives in a world of denial. What results is continuously escalating conflict, culminating in a moving climax. In this heartbreaking scene, the old father cries like a baby, and starts wailing “Mother! O Mother!” to the nurse who is caring for him. The nurse, instinctively, comforts him like a child.

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George Saunders: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

Close to the end of A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders looks back on a class from his graduate school. His professor, a short-story writer, gave a reading of Chekhov. Saunders didn’t know much about Chekhov then: he thought Chekhov’s stories were “mild” and “voiceless”. The professor reads three stories, and in doing so, brings Chekhov to life. After that reading, Saunders was not only convinced of the power of the short story, but also “desperate” about writing better short stories himself. [Read More]

Ishiguro: Klara and the Sun

We are all familiar with sci-fi stories of evil robotic overlords. I’m not into science fiction as a genre, yet I thoroughly liked the movies Ex Machina (2015) and The Matrix (1999). Both movies are nominally about artificial intelligence, but ask deep philosophical questions.

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Ghachar Ghochar, A Novella

I recently read Ghachar Ghochar, a novella by Vivek Shanbhag. The original is in Kannada, but I read the English translation by Srinath Perur.

The novel is slim; it runs to a little more than 100 pages. This is significant, because within these pages, the author still tells a wonderful story. It’s a story that leaves a lot unsaid, for the reader to fill in the details.

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