Thursday, February 07, 2019

2459 : Reading list 2019: #4 - The Queen of Jasmine Country - Sharanya Manivannan

Every year I read and discover a few books that make me wonder what I have missed in my life thus far. And every year without a miss, I find something that not just singes me with its beauty, but also makes me long (almost achingly) on understanding the true origins of such inspired art.

2018 was Durga Chew Bose and Sara Blume, both astounding in their range, and their sheer ability to dimunise (a play on the feeling of being so small you almost disappear) you and the world around you.

And 2019 there is Sharanya. Sharanya Manivannan. And I am just not singed, I am razed, I am like the one who saw the resplendent beauty of the sun, only to be blinded by it.

I read the “The Queen of Jasmine Country” and almost did not want to finish it. This happens to me all the time. I dont want a good writing to ever reach its ebb. And this one, I never ever wanted to end. 

This book is about Andal, the Tamil poetess, and the anguish of the artist that she was. As an artist who never was (conversely to her), I felt a stab in my weak heart as I read the passages.

Made me yearn for being born in a time and era when art meant something, when the world was simple yet laden with metaphors, when beauty was both in the eyes and the beholder.

When Andal yearns for the lord, I almost lost track of my time. When Andal sings in his praise, I heard the songs. When Andal weeps for what was not, I could see what has been.

Miss Manivannan, you made me almost weep. Take a bow.

A compelling testament on art, beauty, poetry and magic in prose that is way out of the normal league. This is legend. This is what Arundhati was in “God of small things”.

On a scale of 10, probably a 20. A flawless book - one to be read every 3 months, till every word in the book seeps into the soul. If there was an audio edition of this book, I would buy it for keeps.

Take a bow again Sharanya. You make me want to believe again. You make me want to live till I am 90 to read every book that you may ever write.

Go for it. Order 5 copies, one for every bookshelf you have.

At 156 pages brings my 2019 reading to 1010 pages.

Image from her site.








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