A Tale of Impossible Heroes a.k.a Every Alistair Maclean Novel

My travel time to office has recently come down from 1 hour ( in a cosy bus) to 30 mins ( 15 minutes by metro rail and a 15 minute walk after that). In other words, my glorious two hours of reading everyday is now reduced to a mere, frenzied half-an-hour ( even lesser, when the train perks up and makes it in 12 minutes). If anything, this has made me realize all over again how much my sanity hinges on being able to snuggle into a book and lose myself to it for atleast a little while everyday. So, the last ten days in the metro have seen me feverishly poring over ‘South by Java Head’ – an Alistair Maclean classic.

My love for Alistair Maclean’s writing began when I was a child, and like so many other childhood loves, it is one that has stood the test of time and familiarity. The first A.M novel I read, in my early teens, was ‘Fear is the Key’, one more of my dad’s excellent recommendations. On its heels, I read a dozen more, such as  ‘Night without end’, ‘Bear Island’, ‘Partisans’, and the gruesome ‘Puppet on a Chain’. I promptly fell in love with every hero, just as a teenager ought to.

These were no ordinary men, they were supermen. They all had a dry wit which they exercised even in the most dreadful circumstances. They always knew the right thing to do, and on the rare occasions when they made a mistake, they recovered in the most fabulous ways. They did not need to sleep like normal people did – they could complete an entire 300-page adventure without a wink of sleep! And somehow, they managed to pack in a hint of vulnerability too – just enough to entice the heroine.

Somehow, growing up and realizing that men are not, that men ( or women) can’t possibly be all that Maclean portrays, has not affected my absurd, all-out crush on these guys. Which is why, yesterday, when I turned over the last page and finished ‘South by Java Head’, I was grinning silly, just as unabashedly high as my teenage self! 🙂 After this book, I sense a Maclean phase in the offing..  Good times ahead! 🙂


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