Saturday, March 29, 2008

TBR Challenge: Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief, by Stephen Alter

Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief, by Stephen Alter. Click on
the cover to buy from your local Book Sense-affiliated independent bookseller.

I got Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief as a gift, and having only seen two Bollywood films I'm definitely a newcomer to those phenomenally successful and popular movie musicals from India. The book is about the making of the film "Omkara," a remake of Shakespeare's Othello; author Stephen Alter, a writer and former MIT writing professor who lives and works in India, is probably as good a guide as any to this colorful world.

But sometimes, through no fault of its own, a book just doesn't work out.

I read this book for the TBR Challenge, but I was unable to finish it, at least for now. I got about halfway through it when I just had to admit that I have more compelling reading to do at the moment and for the foreseeable future. I'd like to see the movie, and perhaps then I'll come back to the book but for now I have to call it quits and move on.

There's nothing really wrong with the book, and it's gotten good reviews elsewhere. Personally I just found it busy and a little hard to follow, but I think my reaction is due to my overall lack of familiarity with Bollywood in general and the film in question in particular. Fans of the book seem to be fans of the movie as well. I enjoyed references to the few Bollywood films I do know, but I think I just don't know enough. I've heard other people say it's too light for real Bollywood aficionados, but it struck me as a touch confusing for newbies as well. The writing is pretty solid and I'm sure its good reviews are merited.

I have a lot on my plate right now but I'll hang on to the book for now and who knows, maybe over the summer I'll get back to it.