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Paperback Pickings

The truth in the lie

Get Real (Fourth Estate, Rs 299) by Eliane Glaser explains “how to tell it like it is in a world of illusions”. The author is on a mission here. It is to spot and decode the “delusions” people live in. These range from radical plus-size models to organic food to reality TV to grassroots political movements and multinational corporations trumpeting their green credentials. Glaser raises a “sceptical yet optimistic” eyebrow to what she believes is the way in which today’s world is perceived. She believes (quite passionately, it would seem) herself to be the messiah who has arrived to save the world — to destroy the “world of illusion, persuasion and coercion” that is hiding ‘the truth’ from lesser, confused beings. She is also here to reveal that old, forgotten ideologies still haunt us in different garbs, and that in this “looking-glass world” everything is to be suspected. It is hard to withstand her pompous tone and her paranoia for 215 pages. This book has the potential to either entertain or delude the reader.

Confessionally Yours (Penguin, Rs 150) by Jhoomur Bose is about Polly, who is a failure in everything. She is incapable of writing a good article for a tabloid, not pretty enough for her husband and not fecund enough for her mother-in-law, not aggressive enough to tackle her deceiving friends and colleagues, and, to top it all, not even brave enough to stand up to people who treat her as a doormat. It is not surprising to come across a character such as Polly in a chick-lit. When one is trying to write a tale of triumph, an underdog is indispensable to make the end exhilarating. In this respect, the plot is quite predictable. But the interweaving of the lives of two women sharing similar fates but fighting back in different ways makes the story interesting. However, it is disappointing that the lives of women in popular fiction still revolve only around sex and domesticity.

Love Virtually (Maclehose, Rs 199) by Daniel Glattauer is a smart novel about the pitfalls and excitements of an online love affair. The plot is built upon how the two characters communicate over chat messages, and how they keep putting off their meeting but discuss their darkest secrets. The language is suitably slick — most of the story is in the form of messages and emails. The impending face-off between the main characters helps build up the suspense.