Our series MY LIFE IN BOOKS gives the avid readers a chance to recommend books and give a small account on the influence each book had on their life.
Born and raised in Seychelles, with a great thirst for traveling, cooking, crocheting, writing and volunteering. I am a career diplomat by profession, currently the Director of World Affairs, Regions and Countries in the Seychelles Department of Foreign Affairs.
As a young child, from voraciously devouring Kids magazines (Beano, Mandy and Judy, Bunty) to completing my first book, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens at 7, reading remains a deep passion of mine. Over the years as I travelled across the globe for academic pursuits, career necessity and curiosity, I remained enthralled in the literary beauty of many lands. Today, I am honoured to present 5 books that impacted me greatly.
The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga
My book collection is largely made up of books that question the “human condition”. The White Tiger, written in a clever manner, explores the challenges of a society and offer a glimpse into a reality that may exist in specs or boulders in other societies but represented or regarded through different lenses. This book changed my mindset in how I engaged and perceived others especially when clouded in misplaced ignorance and at times even arrogance.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaleid Hosseini
On a beautiful Sunday in Seychelles, I devoured this book that left me with a deep thirst for more literary treasures from Khaleid Hosseini. In this masterpiece, Hosseini paints a beautiful tapestry of his native land, Afghanistan, through rich usage of language and the connecting stories of the power, courage, resilience and strength of the Afghani women. Long after you have read the last word in this book, you will forever be imprinted with the dedicated passion of Hosseini to remind the world of the true splendour of Afghanistan as a land of hope and faith.
Black Skin, White Masks, By Franz Fanon
Fanon presented an alternative to the impact of slavery and colonialism in post-slavery, post-colonial societies, by analysing the psychological impacts of these actions in societies that experienced either or both. Often the remnants of colonialism and slavery are studied through economic, social and political lenses and very rarely through psychoanalysis. This book provided great insights into the continuity of post-colonial and post-slavery trauma and bridged the gaps of misconception and ignorance in my understanding of a history that is part of my being.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
I first encountered this book on my travels in South Africa, after a colleague proposed it as an excellent read. Needless to say, she was right. Mohsin Hamid writes in a beautiful manner that captures the reader’s attention from the first few words and proceeds to walk you through a journey connecting different lands, hopes and aspirations.
Le Coeur à Rire et à Pleurer, by Maryse Condé
The joy of being fluent in a few languages means I can appreciate many other literary gems in their original language. As an exchange student in New York, this was part of my reading list for a course entitled ‘Tales of Childhood”. Little did I know, that Maryse Condé had written my childhood, at least a great chunk of it, from a Caribbean perspective. With shared inspirations and common reservations, Maryse Condé’s childhood writes like a script for a typical creole upbringing in a tropical space where “the creole language” is frown upon, lightness is the norm of beauty and acceptance in the greater society is key.