Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Book Review - A Place Called Schugara

In a bookworm's life, there are occasions when reading a book take considerable time and effort equivalent to finishing 2-3 lighter reads. But we take that book as a challenge and pursue the book page after page till we reach the back cover. "A Place Called Schugara" is one such read. Schugara has taken almost 8-10 days of my time, but I don’t have a single ounce of regret. The time was well worth investing. It is a great read: funny, sad, thought-provoking. It is a book to savor and ponder.  



"A Place Called Schugara” is a multi-story of contemporary fiction with a central theme having to do with "Mabouhey" an island in the Caribbean. The author introduces multiple characters;  each character receives enough canvas and each is more than a protagonist of a conventional novella.  There are five main characters who are each discussed in detail: a businessman in search of peace, a bookshop owner in search of treasure, an insurance company investigator in search of a lost/dead businessman, a priest exiled to Mabouhey as punishment for his disobedience,  and,  finally,  a native woman called Marguerite. Each character's story is written in a completely different style. You could visualize 4-5 novella out of this book.

Each character is deeply crafted with physical, emotional and mental details.  The reader feels that he or she is reading an entirely different book when reading the chapters having to do with the character Travers than those dealing with the character Joe. The story has multi-faceted topics--from spiritual peace to sexual relationships (don't worry--nothing erotic) to contemporary social issues.

Some good points about the book:
  • You can imagine things as they are happening.
  • Poems and quotes are catchy.
  • The spiritual portion is really enlightening
  • Author has touched many real-world concerns through characters
  • Easy language usage
  • Extraordinary character built-up
  • The author's questioning of the American imperium and money-obsessed culture of the late Twentieth Century and early Twenty-First Century 
Points of improvements:
  • Length - As I already said, this may be a problem to some.  Others may find its vast scope compelling.
  • Flow direction and Subject focus - Author should become more specific. In a few places, characters or details go so specific that I felt them out of context.
Instances/events I especially liked 
  • Sarcastic talk of Joe Roger, and, in particular,  his repartee with his ex-wife
  • Zero Washington Roosevelt Lincoln's interview with a correspondent
  • The antics of the tourists from Chicago their first night in the Caribbean
A Place Called Schugara has everything you want from a perfect story. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you think.

Yes, it has a wide scope and broad view, but the larger font and double-spacing as it is formatted on the page makes it friendly to the eye as well as the mind. This is a book to take to the beach, to the airport, to treasure, and to read again in years to come. Ratings
  1. Cover - 3/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5 
  3. Characters - 4.5/5
  4. Concept - 4/5
  5. Overall - 3.75/5
The book can be found at Amazon USA and Amazon India
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads
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