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

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  472 ratings  ·  87 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 (first published January 1st 2010)
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I really felt that this book should be turned into a movie, but only by a director who is as good as a writer Anita is.

Its gripping from page one till the end. I took this book to my trip to Goa and I finished it while my kids and husband took naps. I was so taken by the book that I kept thinking about the characters while I was alone. Well, I do that with every good book I read. So it was not a surprise with this book. Highly recommended.
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
This book is very well crafted; I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the plot, the pacing. A sometimes quite sad story about grief, starting over 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 US under the name: The Lilac House.)
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
The lessons are hard and clearly focused on forgetting or coming to terms with grief and abandonment but not forgiving. There is no redemption here but rather a message of how to overcome and move on. Previous events which have affected the lives of the main characters echo current ones and are carefully woven into the story to emphasize the recurring nature of the hurt thereby underlining the difficulty of learning to forget. The story is moving and engaging and the principal characters evolve ...more
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
Mira Desai
I'd loved Ladies Coupe. Maybe because it cut close to the skin in terms of story AND it had a fairytale ending, if you know what I mean. Yep, even though it was a bootleggged copy.

In "Lessons..." something is missing. Like a dal you've tried to make perfect, but something's off, the spices lack that special,whacky something.

Maybe the setting was privileged and the solutions to the protagonists's problems were too pat.
Just wanted to tell her to get on with it.

And there are two plots in here, and
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
A good read...though the starting few pages ....made me rethink my decision of reading the book...coz they were not interesting enuf...but nevertheless, I continued and it became more poignant as the story developed....the lead characters were well defined..and some aspects of the marriages brought out well...I was dissapointed by the end though....esp. for one of the characters..Overall a decent read- I would nt recommend buying though- I read it as it was available in the office library!
Richa Kothari
The initial pages made me rethink to continue reading this book.The start is very slow.As the pace increased..i was captivated and intrigued..surprisingly the middle part is very intresting.There are strong shades of feminism & dealings wid mid lyf crisis in this book.Too many characters and there flashbaks are little confusing..All the goodness is overshadowed because the ending is very disappointing.A decisive action at the end could have been better..
Nishant Jha
This is a 328-pages long book; very long as per my reading standard & capability but I still went ahead & started it on my mother's strong recommendation. It starts very slowly & too many characters confused me plus they weren't very clear to me in the beginning...the book gathers some pace by the middle and then it gets very intriguing & binding! The last 100-odd pages are real nice and made reading this book worthwhile for me!
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.
" The binding boundaries of those unwritten lines etched into your fiber. It is a greenish blue indelible tattoo that says what is proper and what isn't."

The book so nicely opens up the Indian women and meaning of their freedom. It touches the chord and reminds ones of all the false-modernity we have seen all thru our life. All the characters are human. It doesn't preach and differentiate what's good and what's not.

The relationships husband-wife, mother-children, father-children or family in g
I was both elated and surprised that we made a movie based on local fiction. I have never watched the movie but I have like Anita Nair's past work, so resolved the read the book.

Finally after the book had lied on my shelf for couple of years, I picked it up. Strangely, I finished reading it in a single sitting. Strange because it is not one of those fast reads.

Meera, who lives in a lavish house, has always been an epitome of old money to her husband. One day when he doesn't come home, she tries
During a nonchalant start at an upper middle-class wine reception in Bangalore, Anita Nair immediately immerses us in the world of yuppie Bangalore, mainly through Meera. She is educated and a suburban housewife, who has nevertheless left further studies and traces of self-worth for the Bollywood expectation of prince charming. But within a few pages, Meera's world is suddenly thrown into chaos when her husband simply does not come home. Interspersed with the story of Professor Jak, who helps th ...more
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
Shobha Deepthi
I have not written a bad review of a book till date. Cause, if I find a book not worthy I just stop reading it. I do not even finish it. But with Lessons In Forgetting, I did finish reading it. Not cause for the suspense-thriller it feigns to be, but just to know if the book really is worth its ending.

I really liked Anita Nair for her book Ladies Coupe. I still think that is her best book till date. Read her other book Mistress, and left it half way some years ago. And now again knowing that he
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
Sreesha Divakaran
It took me some time to write a review for this. Mainly because when I finished reading it, I couldn’t praise it in full sentences. That’s how struck I was with this book. It is an excellent piece of writing (goes without saying, it’s Anita Nair after all!) There are strong shades of feminism in the tale, themes about midlife crises and an undercurrent of a mature love story of two middle-aged individuals.
Without giving away any plot details, I would like to admit that Smriti, the sufferer of th
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