this was such a delight to read. it's not particulary fast-paced, not a whole lot happens but that's exactly why it clicked with me. in the hand4.75/5
this was such a delight to read. it's not particulary fast-paced, not a whole lot happens but that's exactly why it clicked with me. in the hands of a lesser writer, this might have been a mess. instead we get a quiet, unassumimg novel with loving details.
the story is a snippet in the life of van, our shy and hard-working protagonist who struggles with the wants and expectations of her parents that clash with her own wants and dreams she has for herself. when a boy, she's been infatuated with from a afar for years unexpectedly pays her more and more attention, she's honestly baffled and suspicious.
i was oddly proud when van stood up for herself. it was amusing how in many ways, she was the female version of tall, dark and brooding, completely unaware of her allure.
also refreshing was the way, not every loose end was tied in the story, a lot of the threads are unfinished and some will remain so till the end. the author does not pretend to know all the answers and i know i would've liked the story less had it been different. in some ways it can be frustrating, not knowing how it all continues from a particular point onwards, in other ways it's liberating and more rewarding, since the story is hopelessly brimming with options.
billy is unapologetic in his attraction to her and the many ways he tries to woo her in the book including reading her favourite book, jane eyre had me 'aww'-ing.
noteworthy as well, are the bits and pieces where we experience her home life, spicy food and her tense but loving relationship with her parents.
*** When she looked at her parents watching MasterChef on TV in a tired trance at the end of the working day, she could not connect the very ordinariness of them to what she’d read. What they had experienced was obviously unspeakable. But didn’t they realise the extent to which not speaking made them strangers to her? Why couldn’t they imagine how odd it might feel to see your parents through the wrong end of a telescope? She thought of demanding that they tell her their story, asking the difficult questions, but her courage always failed. She imagined Jane Eyre, stern-eyed, tapping her polished boot impatiently. How did their experience fit with her life now? Across this unspoken gulf, where so much was implied but never spelled out, was it really all down to her to justify the effort, the sacrifices? To make it worthwhile? How could she ever do enough, achieve enough? Be enough? To compensate for – what, exactly?
*** ‘If she knew we were going out?’Wow. He’d said it out loud. ‘We are?’‘To the extent that we can, given you’re not allowed out much, and you don’t want me to come to your place. And you obviously object to public displays of affection.’‘Wouldn’t you like to check in with me? Ask me if I want to go out with you?’He looked shocked. ‘Don’t you?’It cracked her up that the idea of a girl maybe not wanting to go out with him was utterly alien to his experience. ‘Sure. I guess. If you can cope with all the limitations.’‘That is the most excellent news I could hear. Ever.’
*** Curled up in her bedroom chair that night, she thought about boat trips, putting down roots, bitter marmalade and what makes home home.
avicenna, our female protagonist, on the cusp of adulthood, uses her astrological knowledge to track down her mother. something is wrong. very, very wavicenna, our female protagonist, on the cusp of adulthood, uses her astrological knowledge to track down her mother. something is wrong. very, very wrong and time is running out.
the book cuts a very fine line between believable and unbelievable. it was a jumble, hectic, chaotic and greasy, like avicenna's flat. the mystery was driving me bananas and up the walls, as it was obvious (view spoiler)[her mother was kidnapped (hide spoiler)] but we don't get many details and it's pretty much left to the reader's imagination what happened.
i finished the book, with a taste of something on my tongue of what could've been a scrumptious meal and instead got a teaspoon as a sample. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more