04 March 2009

the gift of rain

written by tan twan eng, the gift of rain was a big and beautiful novel. and it came to me at the most opportune time; its beautiful writing and sense of perspective soothed my spirit when nothing else could. i am in awe that someone's first novel could be this rich in detail, history and characters. reading it on the heels of aravind adiga's the white tiger only underlined its beauty (the white tiger had neither likeable characters nor moving prose).

the beginning of the second half of the novel however, had so much pain that i was forced to put it down a couple of times, blinking away tears. also, i cannot say that i fully grasped the notions of fate and destiny described by eng, or the depth of the protagonist's love for his teacher. not that that detracted from my enjoyment in any way. this story of a war, a country, a family, an individual; of love, friendship and responsibility, is one i want on my bookshelf.

some quotes:

"Memories- they are all the aged have. The young have hopes and dreams, while the old hold remains of them in their hands and wonder what has happened to their lives."

"The world goes by, the young and the hopeful all head for their future... There is the miscoception that we have reached our destinations the moment we grow old, but it is not a well accepted fact that we are still travelling towards those destinations, still beyond our reach even on the day we close our eyes for the final time."

"Like a fist, a cloud of thick black smoke punched out of the funnel and then opened into the wind"

"The most rewarding way to see the place one lives in is to
show it to a friend."

"The pain flared like red ink splashed on paper"

"I told him what i could remember, treading water in the shallows of my memory."

"understanding the language, yet not comprehending the patterns of life to which it gave voice"

"When you are lost... remember who you have been and you will know who you are. These people were all you, and you are them. I was you before you were born, and you will be me after I am gone. That is the meaning of family."

"Anger and sorrow walked with me, joining hands with guilt- the three walls of my prison."

"What will damn us will not be papers, but the memories of men"

No comments: