Saturday, May 13, 2006

Legendary story telling. Wire to wire.

Born to write. Poetic prose. Word magic. Sorry, I’m bogged down in clichés trying to tell you about one of the greatest reads I came across in a long, long time. I sensed this was it when I was glancing at the ‘Acknowledgements’ section of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit: An American Legend in Strand Book Stall. I’m almost as good a judge of books as Tom Smith, Seabiscuit’s trainer, was of horseflesh. No empty boast that one, believe you me. There’s first-rate story (and history) telling in those 314 tightly written pages, not a word wasted. By contrast, another ‘legend’ book I read recently about Kishore Kumar paled in comparison. It seemed overwritten, plodding, bordering on hagiography. Maybe, I’ve a weakness for well-crafted narratives where every well-chosen word adds to the forward march of the story and reading pleasure. More about the Seabiscuit book at More about the KK book at (16 July 2003 post). By the way, what makes Seabiscuit so special is that Hillenbrand researched and wrote it while suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome all throughout the four years of toil. Her grit and courage matched her subject’s, stride for stride, till the winning post. Seabiscuit was on the NY Times bestseller list, at No.1 for about a month.

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