Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 10, Tuesday March 13, 2007














down the forsaken stream…

Years after years, we have been drawn to big name authors. We have been lured in by books that bagged Bookers and Pulitzers. It goes unquestioned that most mainstream reads are in fact good (which is why they are famous in the first place!). Nonetheless, there are many non-mainstream authors who are astounding in their talents (often more than most mainstream materials). While they may not be so well publicised and talked about, their words speak for themselves. Here is a peek at some of the less popular must-reads…

Looking For Alibrandi- Melina Marchetta
A brutally honest story of a girl struggling through a difficult adolescence. Being a third generation Italian in Australia, she has to put up with racial bigotry. The book is a personal account of her life at school, friends and living with her single mother. The narrative is rich, and not pretentious (that is rather common in many non-mainstream novels). In the last year of her high school, life throws her into a whirlpool of life-altering events- meeting with and befriending her father, suicide of a close friend, discovery of her grandmother's adultery and much more.

October Sky- Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
Very few autobiographies can get better than this. The author writes about how he nurtured a dream to make rockets. Born into a small town where coal mining is the prime source of income, his life was destined to take the route his forefathers took. He befriends four boys with similar passions, and starts to build small-scale rockets from scrap metals. With a father disgruntled by his excessive ambition and a mother desperate to get him out of the vicious trap of coalmining, conflicts soon arise. Mr. Hickam is now a retired NASA engineer. His tale is compelling and every bit of inspiration for those who dare to dream big.

Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk
The movie has been watched and the concept of Fight Club has intrigued the young generation. But the equally mesmerising book has gone somewhat unnoticed. The funny thing is, you can only understand the full story if you both read the book and watch the film. Interestingly, there are parts that are not in the book that the movie highlights, and vice versa. The story revolves around Tyler Durden, a man who initiates the Club- like a secret cult, men from all strata of life gather to fight each other in basements all over the country. The objective is to boost the confidence in men, so that they go back to their lives with blackened eyes and loosened teeth feeling that they can handle anything. The book moves fast, culminating to a very unconventional ending.

I Know This Much is True- Wally Lamb
Wally Lamb has to be the most underrated author of our times. His books deal with complex emotional issues- family conflict, soul searching, relationships, facing hardship and so on. The story encompasses the lives of the Birdsey twins. Through the life and erratic nature of Thomas, his schizophrenic brother, Dominick learns to put his own difficult life into perspective- his ex wife, the death of his child, the ongoing feud with his father. Thomas becomes increasingly difficult to control and is hospitalised. But he dies soon. It is then that Dominick finds out about his birth father and a secret his mother had shared exclusively with Thomas. An amazing read!

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky



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