Book Review: Chokher Bali by Rabindranath Tagore

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction

Age Recommended: 14 and up

This book was not one that I could finish in one sitting, just because of the sheer density and length of the book. I felt that the author could possibly have gotten the point across in fewer pages, even though the story was unique, and different from most that I have been reading.

I felt that the main character is blatantly sexist on multiple occasions, which is probably an accurate reflection of the time period this story is based in.

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Mahendra is a young man who refuses to marry until he meets his close friend’s fiancee and insists on marrying her.

Ashalata is a newly married but uneducated girl who wants nothing more than to please her husband, Mahendra.

Binodini is a very young woman who was recently widowed, and has to come to live in Mahendra’s house to keep Asha company while Mahendra is away studying.

However, Mahendra is a very fickle man who soon finds himself “in love” with Binodini, who thinks that this whole arrangement is inappropriate. Moreover, Mahendra’s mother is increasingly jealous of the female attention that he is receiving and attempts to devise plans to get rid of the two girls.

Binodini knows that Asha is too naive and innocent to be taken advantage of, and attempts to discourage Mahendra from pursuing herself, but the man who believes he’s in love again will stop at nothing to gain Binodini’s attention.

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Chokher Bali (English and Bengali Edition)

Book Review: Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Time period: Realism

This is another book that I just finished in English class. I generally would not recommend this book to people who do not like dense reading, although the book isn’t very long. Fathers and Sons was written in 1862, during the realist era, and as such, focuses a lot on science and the different philosophical ideas arising during this time. The books explores nihilist ideals as well as an increased focus on science, which seems to be a recurring theme during this time period.

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Arkady and Bazarov are visiting Arkady’s father at his manor in a province in Russia. Arkady’s father welcomes the two boys into his home but his brother, Pavel, is taken aback by the introduction of nihilism, which both of the young boys seem to support.

After a few days home, Bazarov and Arkady go to a dance where Arkady meets a wealthy widow named Anna Odinstova. Originally infatuated with her, Arkady talks with her about many things, including Bazarov. Anna then invites the two of them over, but to Arkady’s dismay, talks only to Bazarov and dismisses Arkady to entertain her sister, Katya.

Not long after this does Bazarov realize that he has feelings for Anna. But Bazarov’s strong nihilist ideals and disbelief in love, and Anna’s unwillingness to fall in love again sets up obstacles that may never go away.

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Fathers and Sons (Oxford World’s Classics)