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The Lilac House: A Novel
Anita Nair
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The Lilac House: A Novel

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Meera is happily submerged in the role of corporate wife and cookbook writer. Then, one day, her husband fails to come home. Overnight, Meera, disoriented and emotionally fragile, becomes responsible not just for her two children, but also her mother, grandmother and the running of Lilac House, their rambling old family home in Bangalore.
A few streets away, Professor J.A.
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
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(showing 1-30 of 831)
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Sherri Huntley
I won this book from Goodreads and couldn't wait to read - I wasn't disappointed. The book consumes your attention from the very start. It's a wonderful story of people dealing with their own personal losses and shows how resiliant the human spirit is. Meera loses her identity when her husband suddenly diappears and her story crosses the paths of others who have suffered major losses in their life. Meera's journey to transform her life crosses the path of a new friend Jak who is also suffering. ...more
It is hard for me to know what to write about the Lilac House. It took me weeks to finish it because I just didn't want to pick it up. The book was hard to follow, the story seemed to jump around. But I did finish it, and the last half was more engaging. I loved Meera, though, and how her character grew through the novel. The Lilac House just wasn't for me.
I'm debating whether to give this a 4 or a 4.5. It had me from page one with "somewhere in her a little girl skips." It's a really well-written book with important themes and interesting characters. Although I'm not usually a fan of mystery, the mystery surrounding Jak's daughter kept me guessing till the end, so I can see this book appealing to many readers. I liked the mother/daughter, husband/wife, father/daughter relationships a lot since they rang true to me. When all is said and done, this ...more

It started out slow for me and at times it was hard to follow. The story seemed to jump around at first, but once I got a clear picture of who these characters were and how they related to eachother I became invest in what happened to them. I thought Merra was a very likable character. I found myself cheering her on. I love how Merra thought the lilac house was an anchor only to find out that her true anchor was Giria. I liked learning about the Indian culture and Greek Mythology. I am looking f
Kelli Bragg
What amazed me most about this book was that I kept forgetting it was set in India - only when the characters mentioned the names of towns or food did I think, "Oh, that's right, this woman lives in India, not America."

May Be Spoilers (depending on what you think spoilers entail):

I loved the one recurring theme throughout of Meera imagining herself as Hera ("Meera Hera" - Meera was a scholar of greek mythology before marrying), and how Hera's marriage to Zeus and its various situations resembl
☔Diane S.
I was first attracted to this book by the title, I love the color Lilac but no one I know lives in a lilac colored house (though I do have a friend who lives in a wonderful old plum colored one). I also love reading novels that take place in different countries, with different cultures and this one takes place in Bangalore, India. Rather quickly, this book and its wonderful characters drew me in, Meera, who compares herself with Hera, the wife and helpmate of Zeus and Jak, a cyclone expert whose ...more
This book is a little difficult to follow in the beginning, but stick with it and it all falls into place. There are two main stories which interweave as the story progresses. Meera's story deals mainly with the complicated question of how we get our identify, the relationships between husband/wife, mother/child. Jaks or Kitcha (It took me a while to straighten out that they were the sem person) is dealing with discovering the cause of his daughter's accident which has left her extremely disable ...more
This book is very well crafted; I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the plot, the pacing. A sometimes quite sad story about grief, starting over, forgiveness and different types of love, these are familiar themes to fans of Anita Nair, themes which are skillfully woven through and around the different life stories of the larger tale. A very worthwhile read and addition to her body of work. Recommended.
(Publication note: This is the same book published in the India under the name: Lessons in For
I won the Lilac House from Goodreads.
The foreign names and places as well as the inserted passages of mythology made parts of the book cumbersome to read. Transitions from past to present time were somewhat confusing. Despite that, the storyline is interesting and not overly predictable. Characters are well developed.
I enjoy Indian female authors in general and have read some others books by Anita Nair with enough enjoyment. This book was a bit.. confusing. Not so much in the storyline and narrative but in the reaction it elicited. I was confused whether I was actually enjoying it or not. I found myself skimming a few pages, a sure sign that a book is just not holding my interest but I didn't feel compelled to stop reading it.

Anyway, I finished the book. It's a simpler story than it needs to be. Lots of cha
May 10, 2012 Jenny marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I cannot get I to this book!! I'm going to give it another try though.
Pooja Jeevagan
It's one of the really hard book to review about...and though I am one of the worst critic for novel with loose ends...hanging neither here nor there and left to imagination (that too when you are just weaving those characters throughout the novel!!), I still will applaud the author for the way she wrote...a real break from the usual Indian writings...

Coming to the subject, the name is probably misleading...yes it starts with the lilac house; but that's not where it thrives and build fac
I read Nair’s “Ladies Coupe” many years back and liked it very much. “The Lilac House” also touches upon the same topic – the status of women in Indian society. Via the two main characters, and the secondary female characters, Nair slowly brings into focus the plight of women in India. There is Meera who is savvy and sophisticated, but who as she herself puts it has gotten used to the comfort of being taken care of. There is Nina, Jak’s ex-wife, Indian born and living in the US, who considers he ...more
Vidya Tiru
My take:
Meera is an accomplished society hostess and a successful author of cookbooks in Bangalore. When her husband walks out on her one day, she is suddenly responsible for the maintenance of their beloved Lilac House, her mother and grandmother, as well as her kids. With no cookbook in the horizon, she looks for a job and finds one as a research assistant with Prof JAK.
Professor J.A.Krishnamurthy aka JAK is a renowned cyclone expert in the US. When his daughter meets with an accident that has
Zee Monodee
This book grew on me.

I picked it up mainly because it was set in India, with characters from Indian culture. Coming from that world myself, I'm always curious how authors portray Indians and the Indian way of life in stories.

While this book didn't disappoint, I had a hard time getting into it. This could be because the prose is very literary - this is not at all a piece of fluffy popular fiction or even a breezy, summer-beach read. It's a book that demands constant attention while you're reading
Lydia Laceby
Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes

The Lilac House is a novel about starting over and finding the truth. Initially intrigued, this novel slowly unraveled for me and unfortunately I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I had hoped.

Part of my problem was that The Lilac House wasn’t really written in scenes. It was more like snapshots – sometimes up to three in a page, separated by spaces. Initially this confused and irritated me because I was prepared to have moved on to a new scene only to dis
My ER win from Librarything. This is my first book by Anita Nair. I was surprised that I won this book.

It started out slow for me at first. I was a little torn about how I felt about it. The main female character Meera is married and her husband just leaves her while they are at a party. Their son is also at the party and he is the one who informs his mother that dad is gone. That part touched close to home with me. And I was able to relate to the many emotions that go through your mind at that
Also on

Firstly, many thanks to St. Martin's Press for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received. I only had 5 days prior to the publication date to review this book and try as i must i could not and only finished it on the 1st May. I will explain throughout the review.
Secondly, the book cover, misses out on the Kindle it really does. But i can see the significance of the book imagery; the lilac background and are they pomengrates a
Saanika Pillai
The book is very engaging. I could identify with the characters and the circumstances under which the story unfolds. The story kept me interested till the end. And it was a beautiful read. I was not, however, satisfied with the way the book ended. But maybe I just like all loose ends to tie up at the end of a book. Even though it rarely happens in real life.
Anita Nair lives in Bangalore, India where this story takes place. I ploughed through the beginning of her culture and life there. This book gave me another view of life for a woman in India. Thank you Anita great read.
There was a time when it was difficult to find Indian authors beyond the two literary giants of Naipaul and Rushdie. Now it is fantastic that they are everywhere and Indian-American authors as well. I picked up this novel on a recommendation and it started with great promise, the tangible feel of an India that has been taken over with outsourcing kings and international dealings. But the plot became quickly muddled and while there were universal themes of children, love, loss, etc. It did not pl ...more
Very disjointed book that's hard to follow, but that's typical of this author. Overall, I enjoyed the story which tracks two strangers as their lives are uncannily bound together. One part fiction and one part mystery. Solid story, but the numerous snatches of what's in characters' minds, shifts between past and present, and the confusion of having characters thrust upon the reader without any introduction made this very difficult to delve into. If you stick with it, everything comes together, b ...more
Well, this was a different sort of "India" novel. It's like any of a million American novels, only with Indian characters and places. Again, fine for $1 and vacation.
I can't decide if I liked this book or not. It was engrossing and hard to put down once I got into it but I didn't love the ending and numerous things about the house situation really bothered me. This book also takes place in India, so be prepared to have no clue how to say some characters names, most of the cities and other little things. I did put it down numerous times to look up something words online that seemed important to the development of the story. I felt the addition of the minor ch ...more
Christy Sastroredjo
The book is written in a style I'm not familiar with. Chapters begin with scenes, which apparently seems not connected with the last chapter. But along the way reading the book, I found it was a genius way of refering to the precious chapters.

The book covers some feminist subjects in India. And very disturbing to me was the rape of a young girl and how it affected the lives of her loved ones. How her dad came to know the reason and the wall of silence he experienced when questioning her 'friends
I am glad I randomly picked up this book at the library, found a new author :-)
gave up on page 50
Belinda Miller
I won this book from Goodreads Firstreads and couldn't wait to read - I wasn't disappointed. The story is set in India which provides an awesome background. Meera's husband Giri left their marriage and now Meera must find a way to support her family and find herself again. The book grabs your attention leaving you not wanting to put it down! Meera's journey to find herself crosses the path of a new friend Jak whose daughter has been is an accident which has changed both of their lives.
Its a decently written book dealing with the loss of relationships, with endings and the quest for new beginnings. The plot is decent, the pace correctly languid as is the case with books on self introspection. The language is extremely fluid, a trait of Anita Nair's I have come to admire. The ending is open to interpretation, which might be a turn off for fans of neatly tied ends, but it worked for me. A good quick read that I could wrap up in two days.
Archana Dilip
I started this book thinking I'd catch up on a light read between historical fictions. However, I realized soon enough that this book tackles a lot.It is the story of two middle aged people struggling to cope with complex life situations.
This book is set so close to my hometown that I could effortlessly relate to the storyline and characters. For the same reason I found it predictable- like watching a typical long south indian movie.
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