The Odd Book of Baby Names


Initial pages had a spark and engagement that kept me going, but still it was hard for me to understand the narration pattern. Soon the narrative structure and characters become more precise, letting the reader picture all eight characters with all details, like an oil painting, similar to the book's cover.

Similar to other Anees Salim books, I felt a hidden Malayalee-specific narration happening inside the universal story, more like a pack of easter eggs. അതിപ്പൊ എന്റെ വിവരത്തിന്റേതാണോ, എനിക്ക് കത്തിയപ്പോ അത് മലയാളി-ഫസ്റ്റ് ആയി തോന്നിയതാണോ എന്നറിയില്ല :)


If you listen to drunks, you are left with a bitter aftertaste. (3)

I always think portaits are the kindest creation known to man; they make everyone look stately, kind, and intellegent - even those who are ordinary, inconsiderate and eccentric. (33)

It was a circus company that you owned once. And you were the acrobat. You were the tightrope walker. You were the ringmaster. And, above all, you were the clown. (37)

Ironically, our mothers smiled and the neighbours laughed for the same reason. (52)

How do explorers express themselves when they finally discover what they have long been looking for? (76)

Once, my mother said birth and death were as identical as sunrises and sunsets (115)

A bird means no harm as long as it doesn't show any human characteristics (132)

Without Ghalib, Khusrow and Zafar to qote from, I found myself empty of words. (156)

I remembered the theory about trees that mother repeated everytime a scowl of unhappiness appeared on my face; how my mind should be as supple as small trees and bow willingly down when the gale of sadness blew. But I was a towering, single-trunk tree, it was in my nature to brave even tempests. (180)

Yes in my village myths grew on trees. (196)