Skip to main content

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

All thanks to My Life in Books, I heard of Mitch Albom. I love the way Jennine G. writes about the books she has been reading and more often than not, I find myself elongating my to-be read list based on her recommendations. The discovery of Albom was perhaps a long time coming, since S and some of his friends had already read his work. So this last weekend, while we were browsing through the airport bookstore and I saw The First Phone Call from Heaven, I proclaimed that this is an author to read about and S said that he already had ! He has Tuesdays with Morrie which has had glowing reviews, as I discovered later. I do feel a bit like an ignorant fool to have completely skipped over an author of this reputation. 

Anyway, it took me a week of hard reading to finish The First Phone Call from Heaven. And my first impression of the book, once I shut the covers, was that it resembled, in a garbled way, one of my favourite TV shows True Detective. I don't know how exactly to categorise the book, but its a good mix of soft emotions and thrill. The plot is bizzare - concerning phone calls from the afterlife and the ripples the phenomenon created in the sleepy town of Coldwater, Michigan - but that does not take away the warm acquaintance of the everyday reactions of the residents to the developments unravelling around them. The key characters have been built at a good pace and the turn of their lives has been nicely captured, without any conspicuousness. Needless to say, I am still haunted by the character of Sully Harding. 

The book never sagged, surprisingly, given that there isn't much of a complication to the plot besides the journey of finding the truth, which - at the expense of sounding naive - isn't really the kind to elicit nail-bitingness. Rather, towards the end, I couldn't quite tear myself away. Nevertheless, just as in True Detective, I was a little disappointed in the revelation. That did not stop the story from being a heart-felt one, primarily because of the underlying emotions of love and loss. 

One way or another, it was a good book. I enjoyed reading it the same way as I would lay in wait for the next episode of some TV series. And more importantly, it opened doors to a new author to me, which I would explore with pleasure.  


Popular posts from this blog

Man-Eaters of Kumaon - Jim Corbett

Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5

This one is decidedly a classic, so there is little point in reviewing this book. It is a beautiful one, without doubt. 
Personally, I avoid any form of entertainment (books, movies, plays, anything) which features cruelty - either directly or tacitly - towards animals (I have not yet seen any of the Planet of the Apes movies, Ant Man was uncomfortable too). So deciding to read this book took a certain degree of convincing. 
Much credit goes to the beautiful cover of the book. This one is an Aleph Classics (co-founded by David Davidar of The House of Blue Mangoes fame, and Rupa Publication) edition. In terms of sheer elegance, the cover design is unmatched.

The palette concept of jungle green coupled with the late afternoon sun creates an ambiance even before you delve into the pages. I picked out the book from a thin pile on a shelf in the little HigginBothams book-store near Charing Cross in Ooty, one biting winter evening (more on that later), such w…

Higginbothams of Ooty

It took us some time to decipher that the name of the crossroad was Charing Cross. After all, it is an unexpected name for an Indian crossroad in Tamil Nadu, and the mildly opinionated chap driving us to our hotel had a heavy accent. Charing Cross turned out to be a triangular enclosure, with an imposing fountain (we later discovered that it was named the Adam's Fountain; it is three-tiered, the second one topped by four very colourful cherubs). Since we had arrived in the middle of the afternoon in the thick of winter, the roads were thronging with people and vehicles. Shops were bustling and business appeared brisk. Our driver skilfully negotiated the traffic as we passed woollens shops, gift houses, eateries, groceries and mobile-phone shops. 
We returned to the market later in the evening, after having deposited our luggage. Both my husband and I had been fending off a nasty bout of flu and needed to restock our now near-empty medicine pouch. Charing Cross in the evening (thi…

Top 10 books to read when you are depressed

Books are handy weapons to stave off blues - be it the dregs of the Sunday evening or a nasty bout of flu. When you are depressed, it takes herculean efforts to shake off the feeling. And I'm not even talking about the more severe, clinical form of depression. I can't get myself to pour myself a glass of water the day after Diwali; on Fridays on the other hand, I am the epitome of eternal sunshine. For such moody, dull days, these top 10 books are the surest way to dust a little sparkle in your life.
1) Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog): This is Jerome K. Jerome at his absolute best. It was published some 130 years back and is still capable of eliciting raucous laughter. It is the honest journal of three young, bumbling flatmates and their dog on a river cruise. Look out for some meandering, pedantic pages, but they offer some relief from the relentless humour. 
2) James Herriot'sDog Stories: If you love animals (and dogs, in particular), this is the ultimate…