ISBN: 9780312942724
Language: English
Pages: 643
Price: INR 574

Published in 1979, Jeffrey Archer‘s ‘Kane and Abel‘ still remains one of the finest books ever written. I read this book when five years ago and even today, when I go back to it; I feel the same joy as when I first read it.

The book follows a similar premise as the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel taken from the book of Genesis. Cain, a farmer and Abel, a shepherd, make offerings to the Lord in the form of land produce and flocks respectively. When Abel’s offering is received with better grace, Cain in a fit of jealousy, kills Abel. The book, in a way is a modern adaptation of this play. It follows the story of two men- William Kane and Abel Rosnovski who are born on the exact same day, but poles apart – William, to a rich, industrious family in America and Abel to a poor, penniless trapper family. They have but one thing in common – their greed to be successful.

The story carries on following the lives of each protagonist individually, alternatively. It follows their sorrows and joys; hardships and successes. Both are brilliant, but luck favours only some. Abel, stuck in Poland is a witness to the unrest in Poland and Europe and is subject to the barbaric tortures of Hitler’s regime. William is left orphaned. But both the boys show extraordinary strength and resilience. Their stories to rise to the top of their profession forms the rest of the book. Their paths intertwine many times, with thunderous results. From their first to last breathes, the tale of these two great men has many a twists and turns that leaves the reader thirsting for more.

Spanning over 60 years, this book tells the tale of two men, neigh two families in over three generations and their journeys through war, marriage, fortune and failure. It deals with all the emotions possible to man – jealousy, greed, respect, love, lust, friendship, hatred, honour. The themes of unrest in Poland and Europe, the spread of Hitler’s regime, the Great Depression and the rise of America are prevalent in the book. The unparalleled hatred of Kane and Abel combines in an eclectic climax, which is possible of only an Archer book. While every now and then, you may feel drawn towards a certain character, the undeniable beauty and depth of each personality cannot be overlooked. Archer has crafted the characters with utmost care and deliberation, with each act being justified amazingly.

Kane and Abel is a thunderous book that will leave you thinking about it even years later. It is that book that you’ll recommend to you children. And yet, you won’t be able to stop yourself from re-reading it.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Chaarvi is a mixture of sugar, spice and everything nice, with just a hint of Chemical X. Or maybe more. Unsure of what to focus on, she has a foot in everything – be it music, movies or books. Or even fashion. Or cooking. Or politics. Or Economics.  Well, you get the drift. She is a hater of chick lit and all the riff-raff that comes along with it. Spends too much time on the internet researching on things that will come handy nowhere in life. But in reality, she’s a ninja and you better know it.

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