Tuesday, January 18, 2005
THE MURDER OF EDWIN DROOD
Nope, that’s not the name of the title I read recently. Yet that is the name that had long since ensconced itself in the recesses of an adolescent memory—the parting shot of a literateur par excellence. It must have been maybe even two decades since I last his work, and then there was the odd hint of shoulder-pushing in the form of that dreaded accompaniment to the leitmotif, quaintly known as Read for Pleasure. As if there is any other grand purpose to that fine art !
The cast of characters is set against an excessively sombre, bleak , mawkish Victorian landscape. Cloisterham, a thinly disguised Rochester is portrayed with Miss Rosa Bud, the orphan pubescent fiance of a still-gullible eponymous protagonist—having the eerie Bollywood touch of being engaged by the generation that had now passed on. His guardian and Lord Protector, John Jasper is a saturnine creature, brimming with the dark passions lightened by the excesses of opium. His music classes with Rosa are a thinly-veiled cloak for his love/lust. Of course, like most clairvoyant females of her wont, has not a clue. Into this step Helena and Neville Landless, again orphans from Ceylon by a philanthropist, the girl to be housed and tutored at Rosa’s orphanage and he by the Canon.
Neville develops some regard for Rosa and is incensed by Edwin’s insouciance at his professed good fortune. Fisticuffs are a mite away and a drunken brawl could have turned uglier before the Canon intervenes.
In the nick of time, Edwin and Rosa fortuitously conclude that theirs is not the love of the amorous and in true Bolloywood ishtyle swear to be brother and sister ever after.They decide that they will not tell uncle Jasper to obviate the nasty jar he may receive.
Shortly after, E & N saunter to watch a passing tsunami-esque storm one gloomy night after which E is not seen again. N steadfastly maintains that he is not the killer, yet he is incarcerated. J publicly vows to avenge E’s death. One or two surreal personas later, the story abruptly stops.
( The explanation being that the author suffered a stroke midway and did not write again )
I liked the book although some of the thematic props that might have been ingenious in the author’s time may be dated. The story itself is unremarkable and commonplace.
But his mastery is evident—his mordancy is a consuming maelstrom, he is able to effortlessly expostulate on very varying emotions with consummate felicity in the same sentence. His social awareness is acute, sensibilities heightened and satire stark. He also seems to shade a situation rather well—hazier or less tangible feelings get the benefit of that fog, swirl of winter whereas foibles of character appear to get full attention under the cruel arc lights.
In all, an 8 on 10 with marks docked for pandering to the gallery by way of storyline and a self-obsessed writing style.
BOY DONE GOOD !
One of the better days of the year so far—that’s not much considering the luck that has plagued me for awhile now.
The Objective setting exercise that I was to facilitate went off like a dream. I was finally able to wrestle against gravity and wretched tiredness by arising to the cries of the absent rooster before six.
I was terribly late for the flight because of choosing to see the workshop through to its culmination—the flight was mercifully behind schedule too.
The flip side-Flinders Park is a closed book yet.
Hope for a good stay in Cyberabad .
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