Rotherwierd is the first book in a trilogy by Andrew Caldecott is and it also includes illustrations by Sasha Laika. The book is about an isolated English village with a difference, the secrets of which look to be quite uncovered because of a new history teacher in town called Jonah Oblong, through Veronal Slickstone – the new inhabitant of what was previously an abandoned manor. There is no shortage of peculiar characters in the book, such as an unreflecting woman and a wild specialist in physics, but what really saves the book from its seemingly banal tone is the town’s rich character – towers with Italian designs, boats chasing each other and an illustrious castle bring to life a place that is so superbly mysterious that the book almost borders on being a searchingly eerie piece of work.
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Which contemporary Pakistani dramas nicely walk between reality and fiction?
Pakistani television shows, much like Pakistani culture, seem to be shrouded in an air of mystery. From the clothes the characters wear to the regular depiction of female independence in a country, where disrespecting rights for women is always a persistent reality, what these television shows do is purely entertain; in fact, Pakistani dramas provide nothing much else. The plotlines of the serials always seem really far away from any connection to reality but in the very least, at least there is always an entertaining aspect to the stories. My picks for top Pakistani television shows in the contemporary age:
- Zindagi Gulzar Hai: starring Sanam Saeed and Fawad Khan, the television show charts the story of two young people with entirely different social standings; the female lead is from an impoverished background, whilst the male lead comes from an affluent family structure.
- Humsafar: the television show starring Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan in lead roles revolves around the challenges a married couple faces because the mother-in-law disapproves of the matrimonial union.
- Jackson Heights: in the show, six separate arcs revolve around the lives of Pakistanis residing in the United States and the struggles that they face in life.
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A steadfast spooky book is hard to find. The best type of horror book is the kind that really scares you. The following books do an excellent job with that, and it is not always because of a ghost:
Haunted (by Chuck Palahniuk): Some people in a vast ancient theater are led into believing that their dilemmas will turn into the greatest piece of creative work in the world, and the more downhearted their circumstances become, the more hungrily they resort to trickery to achieve it.
The Haunting of Hill House (by Shirley Jackson): Four people at a very old house cope with terrorizing episodes, whilst the house itself seems to have a life and will of its own.
The Exorcist (by William Peter Blatty): After creepy episodes such as a freezing bite, the scattering of furniture and a noisy environment in the attic, it appears that Regan might be possessed by a satanic spirit.
Lily Kwok is an infamous figure in Manchester for a Chinese restaurant she opened called ‘Lung Fung’, which was a favorite with the public and celebrities, like The Beatles, alike. Kwok moved to England from Hong Kong after the murder of her father had compelled Lily to support her family by getting a job as a maid and whilst at her new job she had an opportunity to move to the European nation, where Kwok later opened the restaurant, with the help of some fellow Chinese emigrants that she had met on the boat – it’s also where Kwok had thought up recipes for her restaurant. A new play, adapted from the book Sweet Mandarin places the spotlight on Lily Kwok, through her granddaughter, Helen, who is a lawyer and works in Hong Kong – this is largely a fictional recreation because Lily’s granddaughters had actually followed in her footsteps and opened up shop, with ‘Sweet Mandarin’, in the Northern Quarter (in Manchester). The play traverses Kwok’s fascinating personal history, which is, at once, unique and colored by tragedy, and is also a fine example of the challenging environments that sometimes fall upon people before they emigrate to another nation.
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Cast: Rani Mukerji, Supriya Pilgaonkar and Harsh Mayar
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Rani Mukerji is refreshing in a new avatar as a Naina Mathur – a teacher, with Tourette syndrome, who helps her fourteen troublemaking students shine bright. After getting rejected from eighteen schools for her neurological condition, Naina gets a job at a missionary school, which has been compelled to take in students from close-by slums because of a government act, despite it’s age-old status as an educational force to be reckoned with; the students are constantly the subject of intolerance because of their handicaps as children coming from slums. What makes the movie compelling is the protagonist’s resolute determination in making sure that her students remain at the school, as well as succeed, despite the circumstances in which they are getting an education in. It’s a challenging journey which Naina undertakes since not only do her students not warm to her, at first, but also because Naina has many obstacles thrown her way as people simply do not want her mission to end successfully – bittersweet and inspiring.
The art exhibition on Modigliani runs at Tate Modern until April 02 2018
Amedeo Clementine Modigliani is a lot more than a tragic artist, who painted portraits that were evocative enough to reveal his dark life, despite the fact that they were really just portraits of people, with long faces and almond eyes, oddly reflecting his fascination with geometric ideas in art. The Italian had come to Paris in the early 1900s and as an artist he had managed to earn absolutely nothing at all; Modigliani later on also became an alcoholic and was the type of artist who slept around – in the end, he very sadly died at the young age of thirty-five because of tuberculosis. Much of the exhibition focuses on the nude paintings he had done of sex workers; some male clients had ordered these paintings from Modigliani and they are very much tailored to these men’s personal tastes – the paintings have an overtly realist nature in the portrayal of the female form. Some of the other portraits Modigliani had done had also projected that aspect of his country’s artistic legacy, which is really the most familiar: these paintings are really the standout pieces of the show in fact, because they are evocatively done in a medieval angle, with Renaissance influences.
The latest opening of the Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Brooklyn, New York is perfectly positioned very close to the breathtaking East River. The interiors is dark in colour, not least because of the inclusion of wood practically almost everywhere, but apart from the East River panorama, the highlight of the grill is that it offers an opportunity to sample global cuisine, mostly oriented towards Japanese food. The different types of sushi rolls that are available is a feat in itself, going from ‘crunchy tuna’ to ‘torched hamachi’, whilst the crudos representation does exotics finely – ‘hokkaido scallop’ really seems like the only simple dish; there is also a good smattering of comfortable regulars to fall back upon, if you aren’t in the mood to try out something from another culinary planet, such as the beef short ribs (cooked in Korean-style) and the chicken thigh.