Archives for posts with tag: India

I must explain the background to this post. I saw that author Hans Hirschi (whom I had met through Twitter and Triberr) was seeking blogs for a blog tour just around Christmas time last year. Having heard about the book and being keen on reading it, I thought the tour would give me the perfect excuse (if I needed one). I signed in (the process was via a Google form. I must confess I don’t like them very much as I’m never sure they’ve gone. With the majority of blog tours I get an e-mail with the possible blog tours, I reply and I receive an answer directly from the organiser. That allows me to contact back if I haven’t heard anything in a while, but with the forms you have nobody to contact. End of my rant about Google forms.). I did tell the writer that I had signed for the tour, but never received anything from the tour organiser and assumed they must have had too many offers. When later the author told me he hadn’t seen my post I explained that I never received the book for review or the information. I suspect I must have entered the wrong e-mail address but…So, better late than never I decided to read the book and have included the rest of the material in the original tour in this post. (Thanks Hans and sorry again).

First, the post as it was meant to be:

 

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Enjoy Happy Geek Media’s debut virtual tour of The Fallen Angels of Karnataka

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The-Fallen-Angels-of-Karnataka-2The Fallen Angels of Karnataka by:

Hans M. Hirschi

Published by:

Yaree AB

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Social Awareness, Literary, Travel

264 pages

Release Date: September 15, 2014

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In an isolated mountain town in Norway, Haakon dreams of traveling the world, pursuing adventure, seeing great cities, finding love. His very first trip to London with friends from university offers much promise, yet soon after tragedy strikes. Still young, and mourning the loss of his lover, Haakon is not ready to give up on his dream, so when a rich Englishman offers him the chance to join him on a tour of the world, Haakon takes it, daring to believe that his dream is finally coming true…but at what price?

The Fallen Angels of Karnataka is a novel filled with adventure, life’s hard-learned lessons, loss, despicable evil, and finally, love and redemption. See what others are saying about The Fallen Angels of Karnataka on the author’s media page here.

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AMAZON/NOOK/ADLIBRIS/ELIB/BOKUS/YAREE

The Fallen Angels of Karnataka is discounted to $5.99 right now, so grab a copy. The novel will not disappoint!

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Author Hans M. Hirschi

Hans M Hirschi (b. 1967) has been writing stories ever since he was a child. Adulthood and the demands of corporate life efficiently put an end to his fictional writing for over twenty years.

A global executive in training and channel development, Hans has traveled the world and had previously published non-fictional titles.

The birth of his son and the subsequent parental leave provided him with the opportunity to unleash his creative writing once again. With little influence over his brain’s creative workings, he indulges it, going with the flow.

A deeply rooted passion for, faith in a better world, in love, tolerance and diversity are a red thread throughout both his creative and non-fictional work. His novels might best be described as “literary romance, engaging characters and relevant stories that won’t leave you untouched, but hopeful.”

Hans is a proud member of the Swedish Writers’ Union, the Writers’ Center in Sweden and serves as chair of the Swedish Federation of Self- & Independent Publishers.

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I have removed the links to the giveaway and the tour as those are not live any longer. Sorry again about that!

Now, my review:

The Fallen Angels of Karnataka by Hans M. Hirschi. A dark fairy-tale treating a terrifying but all too real and difficult subject.

The Fallen Angels of Karnataka is a novel that reminded me of a variety of genres. It’s a bildungsroman. Haakon, the protagonist, is a young man from a small Norwegian farm, naïve and not knowledgeable in the ways of life. The book shows us the process of his sexual awakening, how he discovers he is gay, his first experiences, his first rejection and heartbreak, his first love, and his first loss.

At a time when he’s lost everything and he’s been given what he thinks is a death sentence, an Englishman steps in, Charles, and makes him an offer that seems too good to be true. (Yes, we know all about it, but…) Haakon has always dreamt of travelling, and Charles offers him a dream contract to be his travelling companion, acting as a fairy godmother (or godfather) of sorts. He solves all the problems (including finding him medication for his newly diagnosed HIV infection) and does not seem to want anything back other than company and organisational skills. Of course, things aren’t quite as they seem, and the fairy tale turns much seedier and darker later in the book.

We follow Haakon and Charles in their travels, and the book could have become a travelogue. But although the novel provides beautiful vignettes and interesting observations and reflections about the places visited, their travel is described more in terms of an emotional and spiritual experience than a guide book. The journey our hero embarks on allows the readers to follow how the character grows, loses his —at times terribly annoying, at least to me— naïveté and manages to find not only a partner (gorgeous, good and who has suffered too, one of the fallen angels of the title), but also a worthy mission.

Hans Hirschi tackles a difficult subject in this book. One of the most difficult subjects. Paedophilia. The fallen angels of the book title are not really fallen, but rather dragged down by adults who either aid and abate others or are themselves abusers. The author shines a light on some of the least tasteful aspects of an already difficult to deal with topic, by highlighting the plight of children who are abused because they are seen as dispensable. We’ve all heard of sexual tourism and this is an extreme example of it. Although the topic is distasteful and something that plenty of readers would much rather not read about, the author manages to build credible characters that do not completely lose their humanity, even though some of their behaviours might be abhorrent. Haakon acts, in a way, as a foil and reflects the attitude of most readers, who would find it difficult to reconcile how somebody who seems so kind, educated, sophisticated and helpful could also abuse children. It is also a cautionary tale that reminds us appearances can be very deceptive.

The ending is positive, in keeping with the fairy-tale aspect of it, and although not perfect, the hero’s journey shares on universal themes and shows character development and a well-constructed plot and structure. We can’t help but hope that in real life all these kids will find a place and there will be no more fallen angels.

The book is beautifully written and the omniscient narrator allows us to see and understand things from different characters’ point of view (mainly Haakon’s but not exclusively). That helps up share in his experiences but at times puts us in a very uncomfortable position, being party to thoughts or desires and impulses of deeply flawed characters.

I would recommend this book to readers who dare to explore darker subjects. It will be quite a ride but the rewards will be plenty. I don’t know if the writer has thought about revisiting any of the characters again, but I for one would love to hear more of Mahender’s story (hard as it would be). And I will put other works by the author in my list of future reads.

Thanks to the author for kindly allowing me to take part, even if well past the date, on the tour, thanks to all of you for reading, and please, like, share, comment and CLICK!

As most Fridays, I bring you a guest author with a new book. I’ve met Sharon St Joan through social media (I know some of the artists in http://fineartamerica.com and can recommend you to go exploring) and I found her, her artwork, her blogs and her book fascinating, as it’s a not a topic I’ve brought often, and even less in the way Sharon does. Rather than tell you about it, here I bring you Sharon St Joan.

Author Sharon St Joan

Author Sharon St Joan

Sharon St Joan wears many hats — as writer, author, artist, painter, sculptor, retired wildlife rehabilitator – and a few others too, less easily defined.

During a childhood spent wandering among the woods, (along the east coast of the U.S.), she developed an intense love of nature – wild birds and animals, rocks and mountains, and even thunderstorms.

Her poems seek to touch a mystical chord within nature and the cosmos, and her watercolors evoke an ethereal dimension that is the essence of the earth and her creatures.

You can find many of the poems on her blog, Voices and Visions, interspersed with a few insights into far-ranging topics like the meaning of megalithic ruins, or visits to the temples of Tamil Nadu at http://voices-and-visions.com/

You can find some of her watercolors at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sharon-stjoan.html

Another blog, Art, Animals and the Earth, focuses on the heroic efforts of people throughout the world to improve the lot of animals, both wild and domestic, and to protect the planet itself from the war being waged against it. And also, occasionally, the work of artists who portray the beauty of nature — http://artandtheearth.wordpress.com

 

Having spent six years living in France (many years ago) and, more recently, having visited some very fascinating places in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, particularly to help advance the cause of animal welfare, Sharon is captivated especially by India — whose endlessly fascinating culture and traditions go back into the mists of time.

Several visits to India have resulted in the ebook, on Amazon, Glimpses of Kanchi,(more about it later on) which traces the magical history of India in among the threads of an ancient Indian town, Kanchipuram.
You many also find Sharon on Twitter, https://twitter.com/sharonstjoan

And on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sharonstjoan

And her page in Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-St-Joan/e/B00G1T1VSE/

 

As promised, here is her book:

Glimpses of Kanchi by Sharon St Joan

Glimpses of Kanchi by Sharon St Joan

 

Glimpses of Kanchi by Sharon St Joan

The ancient city Kanchipuram (Kanchi) is one of the sacred cities of India, existing for well over two thousand years. Here are glimpses, interwoven in a tapestry across the centuries of people, their lives, their homes and their history, temples and holy sites of a city touched by the hand of the Gods. These are a few snapshots of some of the spiritual history of southern India, of the currents which came and went of Buddhism and Jainism, of the return to Hinduism, of great figures who played a pivotal role. Though just one of so many thousands of Indian cities, Kanchi, catches and reflects, in a unique way, the radiance of Indian life and history.

This is a small book, written both as a reminder for Indian people of their amazing land and for those, wherever they may be from, who find India spellbinding and captivating—who, once they have crossed the threshold of the world that is India, can never quite go back completely to the world they left behind. They and their world have been forever changed.

They find that the universe is broader and deeper than it used to be. There are divine beings and magical presences, the mundane and the miraculous, lights, shadows, and other worlds, which cannot be expressed in linear thoughts – only in fleeting glimpses.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F240OK0/

Thanks so much to Sharon St. Joan for her visit, thanks to all of you for reading it, and if you’ve found it interesting, like, share, comment and of course CLICK!

 

Once again it’s Friday, and yes, guest author time. I bring you another classic today. I was debating bringing you another Romantic writer, when I suddenly thought of Kipling and I had to bring him here. Like with many of these classics his reputation has seen up and downs, both because of his style, his opinions and subject matter. As usual I’ll offer you a brief biography, one of his best known poems, ‘If’ and links to information and his works.

Rudyard Kipling in his study, about this year

Rudyard Kipling in his study, about this year (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Biography:

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay (Mumbai today) on 30th December 1865. His father was an artist and teacher (taught sculpture) and he has talked about his memories of visiting the local markets with his sister Alice. Both he and Alice were sent to the UK in 1871, to live with a foster family, the Holloways, in Southsea. It seems the mother of the family was harsh and would beat him up regularly. He took refuge in reading, and particularly enjoyed Defoe, Wilkie Collins, Emerson and Bret Harte. During the winter he would spend a month at his aunt’s, Georgie, who was married to pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne Jones and their children. Luckily in 1877 his mother came to England and he was sent to boarding school in Devon, where he enjoyed school and showed promise for writing. (He also got some glasses as his eye-sight was very poor).

In 1882 he went back to India and worked as a journalist, also writing poetry and fiction in his spare time. He worked in the Civil and Military Gazette and later in The Pioneer. He wrote stories like ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ and ‘Gunga Din’ some of them collected in Plain Tales from the Hills that made him popular. In 1889 he went to live to London.

In 1892 he got married to Caroline Balestier, the sister of an American friend (and publisher. Henry James was a guest at their wedding). They travelled and settled in the US where they lived in Vermont. Their two daughters (Josephine and Elsie) were born there and he wrote The Jungle Book (1894) there too. Due to disagreements with his wife’s family (it seems a legal battle with his brother-in-law) they returned to England and settled in Sussex (initially Rottingdean). His son John was born in 1897.

In 1898 the family went on their first holiday to South Africa. A year later Josephine died of pneumonia (all the family suffered from it) and her death seriously affected Kipling. He became very involved in the Boer War efforts, visiting wounded soldiers and writing about the campaigns.

Other works of the period include Stalky and Co. (1899), Kim (1901) and Puck of the Pook’s Hill (1906). He wrote The Just So Stories for his daughter Josephine (she was 6 when she died).

Batemans, Sussex, England.

Batemans, Sussex, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Due to his popularity and the proximity of Rottingdean to Brighton he was constantly disturbed and sought a quieter place, purchasing Bateman’s, a XVIIc.  house in Burwash, East Sussex, where he lived the rest of his life. I have visited and I must say it’s a wonderful place, with a water mill and beautiful surroundings. I thoroughly recommend it.

He travelled widely, including trips to South Africa in winter.

During the First World War he visited the Western Front and wrote about it in France at War. His own son John was killed in 1915 when he was only 18 and serving with the Irish Guards. He found it very difficult to accept (it seems he had pulled some strings to get him accepted for military service as he was also short-sighted) and he wrote ‘The Irish Guards in the Great War’. He joined the Imperial War Graves Commission and it seems he chose a biblical phrase inscribed on many British war memorials: ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’. (From his poem ‘Recessional’:  ‘Lest we forget’ is often used in the same context.)

In 1922 he was named Lord Rector of the University of St Andrew’s in Scotland. He was sounded for both the Knighthood and to be Poet Laureate but turned both of them down, although he accepted the Nobel Prize in 1907. He was the first author in English to obtain the prize and the youngest.

He was concerned about the dangers Nazi Germany posed to England and gave an address on the subject ‘An undefended island’ to the Royal Society of St George in 1935.

He died of a brain haemorrhage on 18th January 1936 and is buried in the Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey (near T.S. Elliot). His study at the Elms, one of his houses in Rottingdean has been preserved, and as I mentioned Bateman’s is also open for visits (it is now a National Trust property).

English: The book poster for "The Jungle ...

English: The book poster for “The Jungle Book,” by writer Rudyard Kipling, published by The Century Company, New York, $1.50. Courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like this quote that I’ve borrowed from the Poetry Foundation page on Kipling (link below):

Writing in the Observer, Amit Chaudhuri remarks that the third volume of letters reveals “the contractions of a unique writer; a loving father and husband who was also deeply interested in the asocial, predominantly male pursuit of Empire; a conservative who succumbed to the romance of the new technology [the automobile]; an apologist for England for whom England was, in a fundamental and positive way, a ‘foreign country.'”

George Orwell called him: “the prophet of British Imperialism in its expansionist phase.”

Poems:

I had to share If with you, and particularly liked the note about it published on the Kipling’s organisation website:

‘This is probably the best known and loved poem by Kipling. He commented on the response to it in his autobiography:

Among the verses in Rewards was one set called `If–‘, which escaped from the book, and for a while ran about the world. They were drawn from Jameson’s character, and contained counsels of perfection most easy to give. Once started, the mechanization of the age made them snowball themselves in a way that startled me. Schools, and places where they teach, took them for the suffering Young – which did me no good with the Young when I met them later. (`Why did you write that stuff? I’ve had to write it out twice as an impot.’).They were printed as cards to hang up in offices and bedrooms; illuminated text-wise and anthologized to weariness. Twenty-seven of the Nations of the Earth translated them into their seven-and-twenty tongues, and printed them on every sort of fabric.’ (Something of Myself page 146)

Dr L. S. Jameson (1853-1917), friend and colleague of Cecil Rhodes, led the disastrous Jameson Raid of 1895 against the BoerRepublic of the Transvaal, after which he was tried and imprisoned but shortly afterwards released. He was later Prime Minister (1904-8) of the CapeColony. His friendship with the Kiplings figures in chapter 6 of Something of Myself.’

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Links:

Rudyard Kipling organisation (You can find information about him and his work and links to his work online. Great website):

http://www.kipling.org.uk/kip_fra.htm

Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling

Biography.com:

http://www.biography.com/people/rudyard-kipling-9365581

Nobel-prize organisation:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1907/kipling-bio.html

BBC historical figures site:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/kipling_rudyard.shtml

The Poetry Foundation:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/rudyard-kipling

The Literature Network:

http://www.online-literature.com/kipling/

IMDB link for information on movies and TV series adaptations:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0456017/

Links to works:

Complete poems on line (Interestingly enough in this site he’s number 2 poet after Poe, who has been a guest, followed in third place by our friend and previous guest Robert Louis Stevenson):

http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/kipling_ind.html

Another site with links to his poems:

http://www.poemhunter.com/rudyard-kipling/

A few in Amazon (there are tonnes):

The Jungle Book:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084B1T8Y/

Kim:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AHJCVW4/

The Man Who Would Be King:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00848SAL6/

The Second Jungle Book:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0082UOGOG/

The Works of Ruyard Kipling One Volume Edition:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004TS0S7O/

Barrack Room Ballads:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004UJHX8E/

Letters of Travel (1892-1913):

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004UKC9IC/

As I said there are many more.

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post, and if you have, don’t forget to like, comment, share and especially CLICK! (is FREE!)

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