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4.0 out of 5 stars A good Book about Kerala
I happen to read Anita Nair's "The Better Man". I really liked the book for the ways in which she has portrayed Kerala. It is most of the time close to the reality. Unlike Arunthathy Roy, she doesn't invent or vulgarize English language. She speaks the truth with all idiosyncrasies of Kerala Culture. More over she has left out any sensational issues like...
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who is this for?
With many a fiction being released with exotic corners of the world in the backdrop, `The Better Man' has the entire recipe for a potential blockbuster in that category, but for some reason fails to emulate even a `God of Small Things'. The reason, I believe lies in the basics of writing: the author failed to identify the audience of the book. With the globalization...
Published on November 18, 2001 by Upasi


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who is this for?, November 18, 2001
With many a fiction being released with exotic corners of the world in the backdrop, `The Better Man' has the entire recipe for a potential blockbuster in that category, but for some reason fails to emulate even a `God of Small Things'. The reason, I believe lies in the basics of writing: the author failed to identify the audience of the book. With the globalization taking the literary world on stride, it is hard, but still important for the producer (author) to clearly identify the consumer (reader) for success (effective communication).
The story of Kaikkurussi has all the ingredients for an interesting netherworld tale. There is the curious Bhasi who can look into the minds and cure them with the help of exotic herbs and pure commonsense. There is the protagonist Mukundan, who discovers and rediscovers himself with the help of Bhasi. There are the images of death, tyranny, submission, defiance and ultimate tragedy of the various other characters with the Kerala social setup in the background. But the author fails to build the necessary background for a person unfamiliar with the society to digest all this. At the same time, for a native, the book does not provide anything new or exciting as there have been similar books written before, albeit in the local vernacular. It appears Anita Nair had the former category of readers in mind.
I would point to Marquez's Macondo (One Hundred Years of Solitude) as the epitome of the stories of other lands, factual or fictitious. It is amazing how skillfully and seamlessly Marquez weaves the strands of the land, people, society, culture and times of Macondo with a strong story line in the foreground. May be that is a little unfair a benchmark to new writers like Nair.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars High-school drama in disguise, May 31, 2004
This review is from: Better Man (Paperback)
I enjoyed the descriptions of daily life in an Indian village. Other than that, this book had a lot to dislike. For starters, the language was too contrived: "...she let him grope the curves of her breasts and tease the nubs into nibbly nuts..." "Then in Bhasi's eyes, Mukundan saw the star he had sought in the heavens shine and burn". The storyline was equally aggravating. This could have easily been the plot of a high-school movie: newcomer (Mukundan) is scared and wants nothing more than belong. He makes friends with a dweeb (Bhasi), who is genuinely concerned about him. He finds true love (Anjana). But when the "in" clique starts paying attention to the newcomer, he mistreats those who care about him. Through a series of events, he eventually realizes what a rat he's been and makes ammends.
Honestly, i'd rather watch or read the high-school version!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good Book about Kerala, July 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Better Man (Kindle Edition)
I happen to read Anita Nair's "The Better Man". I really liked the book for the ways in which she has portrayed Kerala. It is most of the time close to the reality. Unlike Arunthathy Roy, she doesn't invent or vulgarize English language. She speaks the truth with all idiosyncrasies of Kerala Culture. More over she has left out any sensational issues like kerala-politics and religion.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining account of village life in India, February 25, 2001
By A Customer
Set in the Malabar region of Kerala, this story shows how Nair can weave imagination with realism. Mukundan Nair, the protagonist returns to his village to be overshadowed by his tyrannical father. His fear of his father does eventually diminish with the end of the book as he emerges as the better man. But on the way, he enlists the help of One-screw-loose Bhasi who plies him with herbs and at one point has him sitting in a clay urn which is in the shape of a woman's womb, so that he can be born again without his emotional hangups! Mukundan is a man whose character is under attack. He can succumb to greed and flattery, but he doesn't. He wins the respect of the villagers without loosing his own self-esteem. Nair is a natural storyteller but what I like is that she doesn't turn India into exotica.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant work, March 27, 2001
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A simple tale told in a very beautiful manner. With the use of simple language, but still not losing the charm, Anitha Nair has done a wonderful job. Simplicity, detailing of characters and environment, and a good story are the trade marks of this book. Picturized in the malabar region of kerala, in a village called kaikurussi, the novel tells the story of a man,Mukundan who returns to his village to settle down after retirement. But he realizes that his life is still in the clutches of his tyrant father, whom he was always afraid of. He starts believing that he's indirectly responsible for his mothers death. He even starts hallucinating of his mother's ghosts. It takes the help of a painter by name Bhasi (who is known as one screw loose bhasi) to help him out of his misery and realize that his fears are baseless. Mukundan is made to be reborn out of a clay urn, shaped like a woman's womb. But soon mukundan dismisses bhasi and his love anjana for the sake of power and name in the village. Later at the end of the story mukundan regains his diginity and emerges as The Better Man free from his fears. Anitha nair has taken the finest care to portray the village ,the villagers, their beliefs and customs. Truly a brilliant work.
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Better Man
Better Man by Anita Nair (Paperback - Mar. 1999)
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