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Book Review: An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

Genre: Play, Theatre
Book Name: An Ideal Husband
Author: Oscar Wilde
Pages: 78
Publication Year: 1893

So, this is my week of reading playwrights. After having finished A Doll’s House and The Importance of Being Earnest, I was more impressed by Oscar Wilde. Probably, as a child, I may have been asked to remember this author’s name as part of the General Knowledge subject, but the way his books are so popular, I am sure there would be something to refer back, but only if I have kept my school books till now.

While The Importance of Being Earnest was a downrightly funny book, this – An Ideal Husband has much more depth and things to ponder upon. So-called trustworthy politicians, love, family, marriage, cheating, gripping storyline, engrossing satire, witty and clever play of words, this book has everything one may want in a playwright. Although for feminists, a few dialogues/acts may be slightly jarring but since this was written during Victorian times, but those are better ignored.

I was so entranced that I could imagine the characters on a big canvas screen playing out their roles and ah, the impeccable dialogue delivery gave me such memorable moments. Do I need to see a movie based on this? Oh no, but yes, a play adaption here in my city will surely be a catch!

This became my go-to-book for a few nights post office hours since I was reading this in a super-slow motion. And I have saved this book for happy moments and stress-buster. Very much recommended!

Let us look at some of the dialogues:
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself. – Haven’t we all done that – advising others while rarely following us on our own?
Oh, I love London Society! I think it has immensely improved. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be. – Hasn’t social media (Facebook and the likes) have reduced us to the likes of dummies?
It is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have the need of love. – Really is any one perfect, if yes, they are just kidding themselves?

P.S: It is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version. So what you waiting for! Shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
An Ideal Husband revolves around a blackmail scheme that forces a married couple to reexamine their moral standards — providing, along the way, a wry commentary on the rarity of politicians who can claim to be ethically pure. A supporting cast of young lovers, society matrons, an overbearing father, and a formidable femme fatale continually exchange sparkling repartee, keeping the play moving at a lively pace.

Like most of Wilde’s plays, this scintillating drawing-room comedy is wise, well-constructed, and deeply satisfying. An instant success at its 1895 debut, the play continues to delight audiences over one hundred years later. An Ideal Husband is a must-read for Wilde fans, students of English literature, and anyone delighted by wit, urbanity, and timeless sophistication.

About the author:
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) established his reputation. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of “gross indecency” with other men. On his release from prison, he lived in obscurity, and died in poverty.

Website: www.cmgww.com/historic/wilde

Rating: 10/10

Read reviews of other books by Oscar Wilde on this blog – The Importance of Being Earnest.

Book Review: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Genre: Play, Theatre
Book Name: The Importance of Being Earnest
Author: Oscar Wilde
Pages: 104
Publication Year: 1899

Once I had completed reading A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, I got interested in reading other classic playwrights. And that is how I picked up the book The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, written around the same time as the first one. While the former was of a more serious genre, this classified into humor genre.

Interesting and cut to the point, it showcases the triviality of placing importance on a name for the match-making. However, this is relevant even now. If not merely the name, many a times education in a specific institution holds much more value in the marriage market. In the play, love is simply reduced to the importance of the name of a person and such a frivolous matter may change the love simply because the other person was merely assuming a fictitious name. Love changed. And why so? The person wanted to escape social obligations and niceties and assumed another name/character on a temporary but on-going basis. However, let me not spill out the beans any more, but the ending of this play is just great. No doubt, this one is still popular even after more than 100 years.

P.S: It is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version. So what you waiting for! Shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gewndolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

About the author:
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) established his reputation. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of “gross indecency” with other men. On his release from prison, he lived in obscurity, and died in poverty.

Website: www.cmgww.com/historic/wilde

Rating: 10/10

Book Review: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

Genre: Play, Theatre
Book Name: A Doll’s House
Author: Henrik Ibsen
Pages: 102
Publication Year: 1879

Before one appreciates any book, story or movie, it is important to understand the backdrop when it was written/ filmed. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen may be discarded as superficial and feminist by many, but once you find that it was written during Victorian times, your perspective may change.

Those were the times when females were only expected to marry for money and bear kids and anything related to love or independence was frowned upon (other authors like Jane Austen have too written of such times). When a daughter/ wife was supposed to a do a man’s bidding. Has much changed now? No, especially not in rural areas, and we can’t even ignore urban societies outright. Isn’t a wife still supposed to leave job if her husband is working in a different city and she is not able to find a job there? No one is there to take care of her frustrations when she is supposed to behave in a certain way.

Ok, so enough of my rant. With respect to the book, it’s nothing but a 3-act play where the female protagonist Nora is not a twit as we are made to believe in the first few pages/scenes. But she is one who has gone against the norm of society in the manner she deems fit. *Spoilers ahead* She is supposed to be a beautiful wife and a doting mother, but she finds out a way to cure her husband’s illness by borrowing money and working hard surreptitiously to somehow manage the hardships (so unheard of in those times). You may call her an evil person for hiding all this from her husband, but her husband has a very strong opinion on how a person is supposed to morally act. The other female character is also an aberrant where even after being a widow and with none left of her family, she is ready to go out and work for herself.

I am not giving away all three acts of this book, but briefly describing Act 1 only to give you a perspective. Why such a name of the book, you may ask. It’s a doll’s house where characters are supposed to behave a certain way in a make-believe facetious world. Do give this book a try!

P.S: It is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version. So what you waiting for! Shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A Doll’s House is Henrik Ibsen’s best-known play. This masterpiece created quite a stir when it was first released because of its feminist stance. It is considered by many to be the first truly feminist play ever written. The play comes to a climax as Nora, the play’s protagonist, rejects her marriage and her smothering life in a man’s “dollhouse.” Wonderfully written, a true classic.

About the author:
Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the “father of modern drama.” Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.

His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values of family life and propriety largely held sway in Europe and any challenge to them was considered immoral and outrageous. Ibsen’s work examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries.

Ibsen largely founded the modern stage by introducing a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. Victorian-era plays were expected to be moral dramas with noble protagonists pitted against darker forces; every drama was expected to result in a morally appropriate conclusion, meaning that goodness was to bring happiness, and immorality pain. Ibsen challenged this notion and the beliefs of his times and shattered the illusions of his audiences.

Rating: 9/10

Story: Memories

This one is written after hearing many experiences of my friends. Not that after getting married, anyone told me this piece of their life. It’s just an imagination by me to try my hand at writing super short story with an end finally this time.


As Abha sat late night browsing through the internet to get hold of a story, she noticed a pic – the pic of two people sitting in a rickshaw with rain in full swing. It tugged at her heart and reminded her of someone very close. She forgot all about completing her freelancing task at hand, and started finding out all she could about this guy.

There was the time when Abha and Vinay used to hang out together. Oh those were the very best of times. But then things changed for both. Long distance relationships doesn’t always work the way one wants.

Abha searched and searched. She was in a hopeless stance. She couldn’t risk asking anyone around for the fear of blowing up the pretence of so many years among all who knew her secret past. Yet she couldn’t find anything recent. All whatever she could find of him was ages old. Of the times she already knew when they were together.

Can I call him just to hear his voice? Or it would just break her into pieces like how it used to happen always before?

Vinay was already married to the girl she had initially so vehemently objected to. Abha shut down the laptop and then went to feed her daughter Paakhi with a new twist in the tale to tell this time.

Free

Post: EtherealJinxed | Poem: Free | Image Courtesy: Brototy Mishra

Everything will feel right
Every other thing will become good
There will be a twist in tale
And you will be happy soon

You were just too tough on yourself
You didn’t let someone close
What was your mistake
That you loved her like a fool

Don’t worry, the clouds will shine
The rains will finally be over
The rainbow in the midst will be
The harbinger of things to come!

Someone will come
Someone will hold your hand
Someone will wipe that sarcasm off your lips
And that someone will become your sunshine indeed

There will be a picture of you two
Walking the altar
And hey, you will finally agree with me
Not all females are blood sucking bitches!

Book Review: A Hundred Lives for You by Abhisar Sharma

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | A Hundred Lives for You by Abhisar Sharma

Genre: Life, Relationships
Book Name: A Hundred Lives for You
Author: Abhisar Sharma
Pages: 251
Publication Year: 2014
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors

This is “the book” I really felt like reading in a long long time. This was neither recommended by anyone, nor was this a copy for review. Just found this at my parent’s place. And I am so glad that I did since turning the pages was never so easy. Though it helped that I was on a solitary train journey and this book kept me awake and engaging at a stretch. I am not embarrassed to admit this made me cry at times whenever the story turned emotional.

A comparatively slow paced at the start, the book picks up speed and makes you correlates many experiences with your own. The frightened kid growing into someone one aims to, the first crush, the conflicts during riot, the ever growing complications, the unending care for someone not exactly related by any relationship, the misunderstandings and yes, the happy ending. And I liked that for a change. Just a perfect mingling of relationships that can be put in a book!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
I wish we had the courage to have a second child.
Abhimanyu Sharma, 13, is on the threshold of a new beginning when his father’s remark scars him and his relationships forever.

Why did you not say it that day?
He is in love but does not fathom the depth of his love till it is too late.

And mark my words, you are the best!
He adores his Daddu, the old man whose faith in him keeps him going.

You saved me, and in time, I shall rescue you back.
And then, there is Simran, the little girl who gives him hope and love.
For whom he can give a hundred lives.

Join Abhimanyu as he proves every perception against him wrong – even his own – as he lives through tumultuous relationships, a broken friendship, lost love and merciless carnage in the very heart of Delhi.

A Hundred Lives For You is a melting pot of emotions that moves with the anger and pace of a thriller.

About the author:
Abhisar Sharma is a veteran in the News TV industry with nearly 19 years of experience working in organisations like the BBC World Service London, NDTV, AAJTAK, and now ABP News. When he is not tackling politicians on
prime time, he is working on field from the most hostile places in the world. This is his third novel, following two thrillers. He can be reached at abhisarsharma@hotmail.com or you can follow him on twitter @abhisar_sharma.

Rating: 9/10

Easy Smiles

Post: EtherealJinxed | Poem: Easy Smiles | Image Courtesy: @alkanicks

Let there be a smile in your eyes
And a spark in your gaze
Life for you to be a little easy
God to also be some more cheesy

Let the anger be gone
And you be back with what you call your own
Love for you to become more natural
Friends more crazy like you and irrational

Let you be the old you
And the previous you with no bandage
Nightmares of yours to vanish
The years to come, shhh, no talk about age please.

Let you become the young you
With easy smiles and dimples so cute
Making girls asking you out on a date
And you still saying yes, will you?

Itti si

Post: EtherealJinxed | Poem: Itti si | Image Courtesy: Alok Gunjan

Lies, lies and more lies

When I was in 4th Standard, I had a friend called Sachchi. She was famous for telling lies, even among the teachers. However, since we were kids then, I doubt it mattered much and we friends simply used to laugh after each of her lies and called her Jhoothi.

Now I don’t know where she is and if she still has the same attitude in life. But how many times have we as adults told lies? Some innocent ones for saving ourselves and the ones we love. And some wicked ones to really really hurt others. And some lies just for the fun of it. And in the process, making lying the most important staple food of our day we can’t live without.

Are you one among those serial liars? Have you ever given it a thought how the people who get to know that you had lied previously to a third person will think? And whether they get extra incentive to lie to you for you were the one who were cheating on someone previously too. And since you were lying, the basic premise of them not lying to you does not hold true.

Give it a thought! And try to change yourself for this is a good change.

You cannot change the past, but definitely you can try to make a better tomorrow for yourself and for the people you have in your life.

Swearing/Promises

We all know someone who swears or makes promises at the drop of a hat, for example I swear I did not know this.
Let’s analyze what can be the meaning behind this.

Case 1: The swearing was a lie, a façade to deceive others. Or maybe even a simple try to make oneself believe that the fact being stated is true while each element in the trail was a lie all along, like the old wives’ tales*. The former scenario is incorrigible; let how much will the other person make an effort, there will still remain traces of a lifelong pack of lies. In the second scenario, probably something can be done – through talks, through psychology, making him/her understand that you will only be tangled in it and let others be destroyed in the process. But then second scenario only happens when the person does thing sub-consciously and he/she can be given the benefit of a doubt.

Case 2: The implication of making others believe that the fact being stated during swearing was true and rest all ever said were all fabricated statements. Because some people really do swear truly, because they are swearing by the name of the person they love the most.

So next time, when someone does swear, decide which scenario will keep “you” happy, because thinking of any other person forever does not matter when it makes you sad always. Or convince them to not swear in front of you because then you will be free to make assumptions because what is truth other than a belief/trust in the other person.

*When one says/reads/hears a thing over and over again, one starts believing that to be true, examples being one achieving success after reading books of wisdom which boosts their confidence or of one believing in love when all that was infatuation from the start.

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