Messenger (The Giver #3) by Lois Lowry

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In this engaging third installment of the Quartet series, the focus is on the serene and tranquil “Village”. This is a place of serenity and bliss where discards from other communities are welcomed with open arms and provided an opportunity to lead a life of dignity and independence.

The leader of the Village is Jonas, the “Receiver Of Memories” who has a unique gift of “seeing beyond”. A chirpy component of this close knit association of human beings is Matty (the hyperactive tyke from “Gathering Blue”). Matty has a unique gift of healing which is known only to himself and the Leader. When the once preternaturally friendly Village suddenly undergoes a transformation from camaraderie to hostility, the Leader knows that it is time for Matty to bring into the village the gifted Kira, the daughter of the Seer. The Seer is the custodian of young Matty and when Matty readies himself to go through the “Forest” to get Kira, his apprehension is palpable.

Will Matty and Kira succeed in making the journey through the once placid now deadly Forest? What follows is a racy and emotional tale involving emotions, courage and determination.

“Messenger” – A worthy sequel to “Gathering Blue!”

The Quarry by Iain Banks

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Kitchener a.k.a “Kit” is eighteen and is ‘socially disabled’. He is foisted with the onerous burden of tending to his father Guy, who is in the final stages of his fight with lung cancer. On a dispiriting weekend, Kit receives 7 guests, all of whom are former University mates of Guy. Professing to lend succor to Guy during the time of his enervating crisis, a common motive threads through the minds of every one of them thus linking them in a peculiar endeavour – to find an ancient video tape buried within the confines of Kit’s house – a tape that is more a closet of skeletons than a run-of-the-mill viewer. To add to the prevalent confusion, it is a small matter that on account of the development of a cavernous Quarry, Kit’s house needs to be demolished by the authorities.

Iain Bank’s last work (the versatile author himself succumbed to the contrivances of cancer), sizzles with morbid humour and myriad human emotions. Penned while the author himself was under no pleasing circumstances, the book exhibits Bank’s spontaneous and exquisite sense of humour and a narrative acumen that has endeared him to his fans across the world. The way in which the dreaded disease of cancer is dealt with in “The Quarry”, in all its mirth, mystique and misery provides a wonderful insight into the genius of Iain Banks.

“The Quarry” might be his most potent, powerful and poignant work.