Get a Kick Out of Reading “Fools Die”

I recently picked up a romance novel to satisfy the writer as well as reader in me. On the contrary, I felt sick because of its excessively decorative language and repulsed by the entire concept of love that leads to idolization and dependence rather than liberating two people in love. I guess my ideas about love have drastically changed with age and time.  It’s now more about spending my precious time with a man who respects me and my thoughts. I find super heroes boring and utterly disappointing, instead find men with conviction and knowledge more endearing. Frankly, I am so much done with fairy tales and neck deep into the realities of life. So, I naturally started looking for novels that are more rustic and closer to reality.  People say reading a book is like traveling the world and experiencing the life. And, there’s no doubt that I absolutely buy this idea. They have molded each and every aspect of my personality. However, I still feel incomplete as I am yet to feel that I have read enough and know sufficient to lead my life. The daily grinds of life no more scare me; I rather get a kick when I come across people who deliberately came out of their comfort zones to do what they yearned for long despite all hardships and hurdles.


Sometime back I happened to purchase the novel “Fools Die’ written by Mario Puzo from a local flea market. I had no idea about the novel, except the fact that it was penned by the author of the classic novel “The Godfather”.  I gleefully bought it and unconsciously pushed it in one of the corners of my book shelf. A few days back when heat and loneliness started hitting me hard, I thought of reading this novel. And, trust me, I have loved it so far. As I quoted before, the novel is rustic and extraordinary as it portrays the reality as it exists. The protagonist, Merlyn, is not a super hero, though he loves calling himself a magician. It gives a detailed picture of the world of gambling thriving in the city of Las Vegas and the travails of a writer born orphan. The world of gambling is a world in itself, far beyond the law-abiding life that we lead. It’s a world outside the purview of law and more powerful and fascinating than imagined. There are fixed denizens of this flashy and dangerous world, including rich tycoons ready to splurge money over women and gambling, prostitutes who are commonly known as sleeping pills, losers, people with a broken heart and family trying to forget their personal tragedies, men who control the pit and manage casinos, among all. In this world, it’s not easy to cheat and far difficult to escape after cheating. The person who cheats the casino of its money is more likely to be buried in a desert than left alive, as simple as that.

As I said before, since the characters are vulnerable and imperfect, it becomes far easier to accept them while reading the novel. There are women who are trading their body for money and that’s the reality of life. The novel gives a glimpse into the life of filthy rich people and their world of infidelity, greed, power and control over the system. It’s quite eye opening to read about the personal lives of the capitalists controlling the major portion of the wealth across the world. It also throws light upon the entire business of corruption and how it is conducted. The protagonist of the novel, who aims to earn his living through his writings, though hesitant before does not mind later to indulge in small bribery in his own Robinhood style. Rather than despising himself, he feels more powerful and happy in earning by bribing others for enlisting their children in a short-term military programme to escape from the long-term active duty. Unlike before, he is able to fulfill the desires and feelings of his family, purchase a house in a safer locality, enhance the lifestyle of his family, etc.


There’s so much to talk about this novel that I will have to post one more article to describe its other key themes. I am still reading the novel and am in the midst of discovering the beautiful relationship between the protagonist and his brother, Artie. Despite being different, they are far more connected with each other and understand each other very well. The novel is incomplete without talking about the relationship between Merlyn and Artie and other beautiful connections. The friendship between Merlyn and Cully, who rises to become the kingpin of the world of gambling, can also melt down the hearts of readers. In the next post, I will try to cover the remaining elements of the novel in detail.


MON ONCLE – A Review

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Some movies have the tendency to impact the mind of the cinemagoers forever. The impact is so powerful that each and every scene of the movie remains etched in the memory. Irrespective of the time and space, one can still feel the sensation as felt while watching the film.  One of such movies is without any iota of doubt is the classic French film titled “Mon Oncle.” Directed by one of the greatest directors, Jacques Tati, this movie is a comical take on the consequences of growing industrialization and increased dependence on technology. It simultaneously draws attention of the viewers toward the difference between bourgeoisie and proletariat class. It’s a light-hearted visual comedy that leaves the feeling of pleasure and happiness at the end. The charm of the movie is in its unsophisticated portrayal of the daily life of the both classes. Under the brilliant direction of Tati, the easy-going characters and scenes seem extremely believable. It’s extremely endearing to see the way Tati, who also plays the role of the protagonist in the film, brings forth the key theme before the audience and leaves it upon the audience to draw the main lessons out of the entire film.

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As rightly stated by many reviewers, the entire effortlessly shot movie revolves around Tati’s character, Hulot, a simpleton living in a room on the roof. What struck a chord in my heart were the lovely people in the neighborhood of Hulot’s place who shared admirable camaraderie. The amusing life of blue collar workers, such as sweepers, vegetable vendors, etc., is like a treat for the eyes of the audience. Unlike other main characters, Hulot enjoys frolicking around in the city, both alone and with his nephew, Gerard. Despite being unemployed and confused, a matter of grave concern for his sister and her husband, he continues to be care-free and entertaining, least bothered by the rejection for his antics at the new job. The main attraction of the entire film is the antics and prances of Hulot that leave the audience in a fit of laughter. The coming together of the characters obsessed with home-based technology and a simpleton like Hulot leads to a series of amusing mishaps. The cons of leading a life controlled by technology have also been shown in an interesting manner. Some of the amusing cons include the locking up of Hulot’s sister and her husband in their highly technical garage, their inability to conduct a normal conversation due to the constant irritating noise of the machines running in the kitchen, etc. The funniest part of the film is the way fountain is switched on as an exhibit based on the status of the visitor. This shows how technology is used by the bourgeoisie to compete with each other, unlike the proletariats living in the neighborhood of Hulot.

One of the most fascinating parts of the film is the sweet bond between Hulot and Gerard. Unlike his parents, Gerards looks up to Hulot and is always ready to frolic around with him. While he is a fun-loving boy enjoying company of other boys playing innocent pranks on others and eating street food, he looks totally exhausted and bored in his spacious technologically controlled home. He is bored of talking to the guests from his neighborhood due to their superficial mannerisms and foolish conversations. These scenes give an insight into the materialistic and consumerist lifestyle of the bourgeoisie class. Though made as early as 1958, it a movie that stands as relevant as ever. In this age of addiction to mobile phones, movies like Mon Oncle are quite essential.