NON-FICTION

Review: e-books and audiobooks - Jon Krakauer, Mariel Hemingway, an ode to India

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 May, 2015, 10:52pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 May, 2015, 10:52pm

There’s so much that is interesting and amusing in Australian  Braja Sorensen’s book, but it needs editing (with special attention to it’s and its). A love letter to India, it is an autobiographical account of life in the lush village of Mayapur, in West Bengal,  where she and her husband set up home after realising they could live anywhere and work online. Written sometimes in stream-of-consciousness, it   takes the reader away from the usual Indian cities that attract foreigners (Delhi, Jaipur, Kerala).  Traffic jams are not a problem in Mayapur, which Sorensen describes as a “place that attracts the soul”.% A spiritualist, she nevertheless is attuned to the “cancer of religious deception” in India, although she gives this and other serious subjects a light touch. That includes a car accident that almost kills her and her husband. Some  will enjoy Sorensen’s candour and humour.  Others might find the book suffers from too many sentences that are lists of adjectives: “The sounds of Mayapur are magical, lyrical, liberating, peaceful, and beautiful.”

Lost & Found in India by Braja Sorensen (Torchlight Publishing) e-book

 

Fans of Jon Krakauer may be surprised that his latest book concerns rape, the repercussions for victims and the justice system that sees so many perpetrators get away with their crimes. But when he explains what sparked his research, it becomes clear that, like some of his other books - Into the Wild included - this is an author who, niggled by something, scrapes at the surface to get to the truth. Missoula, Montana, is the focus of this book mostly because of its reputation as America's "rape capital", although Krakauer argues that its 80 (reported) rapes in three years is the average for college towns of its size. The sexual assaults described, many involving intoxicated victims, make for uncomfortable reading, as does the fact that in these cases drunken males usually get the benefit of the doubt while their victims do not. Krakauer also points the finger at colleges, which often adjudicate in cases of sexual assault, arguing persuasively that the higher-education community is not equipped to be judge, jury and executioner.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer (Doubleday) e-book

 

"The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." That quote, from Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, resonates with Mariel Hemingway, who was born just months after her famous grandfather shot himself dead. His was not the only tragedy in the family. The family curse took shape in mental, emotional and alcohol-related problems that afflicted several generations. Mariel and her two elder sisters, Margaux and Muffet, grew up hearing the boozy fights between their parents, and Margaux would die of a drug overdose at 42, her death ruled a suicide. She, like Muffet, suffered from depression. Mariel, who narrates her memoir in a voice many will remember from Woody Allen's Manhattan, reveals the often uneasy relationship she had with Margaux, a model whose acting failures were exacerbated by Mariel's natural onscreen talent. Out Came the Sun tells Mariel's and the Hemingway story in a healing-through-revealing way. Many will find it interesting learning what it is like to live with a famous name.

Out Came the Sun by Mariel Hemingway (Blackstone Audio) audiobook