06 October 2006

Three Favourite Novels

Of late I have been thinking of which would be my favourite novels. Most people would have a Top 10 list. But I have read very few novels (much of my reading is non-fiction). So I have to limit myself to a modest Top 3. Here they are in chronological order:

1. War and Peace (1869) - Leo Tolstoy
2. One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
3. Shantaram (2003) - Gregory David Roberts

1. War and Peace
No, I am not being high brow. I really liked this book. It took me almost 2 months to finish, but it was worth the effort. An epic set against the backdrop of Napolean's 1812 invasion of Russia, it traces the fortunes of about half a dozen aristocratic families. The three central characters are Pierre Bezukhov, Natasha Rostova and Andrei Bolkonsky. For me the hero is Pierre Bezukhov, and the book is nothing but the story of his journey through life and his search for truth. He starts off as an earnest seeker, deeply interested in philosophy. (The account of Freemasonry's metaphysics given here sounds remarkably like Vedanta!) But the end is disappointing - Pierre concludes that there's no point in philosophy and one must just enjoy the simple pleasures of life (read marriage and children).

I'll talk about 2 and 3 later...

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