I enjoyed this book - a lot more than I expected to, given some of the reviews I read. It was a crash course on some Indian traditions and it portrayeI enjoyed this book - a lot more than I expected to, given some of the reviews I read. It was a crash course on some Indian traditions and it portrayed very well the clashing of those traditions with the Western lifestyle. I liked the characters - all of them - and my only beef would be that there were certain characters (Saroj Chawla particularly) who I felt got short shrift on some of the history with them, and how it tied into their present life. For instance, what was it that caused the rift (small though it was) between Saroj & Meenal? Never explained...and there wer other small things too, but overall it was a well written story that allowed a small glimpse into Indian culture and family dynamics.
As a postscript,I love books that provide actual recipes for the food that is described in the book. This one does, and while it is worth reading (and keeping) for both the story & the recipes, if the recipes were the only thing of value in the story, they would be worth it alone....more
I loved this book. I was completely immersed in the story of Ramchand, and although I had a hard time understanding why he allowed outside events to dI loved this book. I was completely immersed in the story of Ramchand, and although I had a hard time understanding why he allowed outside events to depress him so, I could relate to his feelings of restlessness & his need to do something...anything.
What I did get...completely...was his gut wrenching sadness when he became aware of Chander's terrible marital situation. By that time he had started to understand that every situation had more to it than could be seen on the surface. On the other hand, what I completely failed to understand was his continued weakness despite his burgeoning understanding of (and subsequent frustration with) the unfairness - and cruelness - of the class system in Amritsar. Although he was obviously unhappy, he could not seem to DO anything (except read) to change. He continued to live in a dreary room, continued to work at a job he clearly despised, and continued to languish in his unhappiness (depression?) until the tragic circumstances of Kamla's death seemed to FINALLY galvanize a reaction from him.
I cheered him on when he chewed out his co-workers. I loved that he spoke the truth to Mahajan & the other sales associates, and I really loved that he berated Hari for laughing in the face of Kamla's death. It was gauche behavior on Hari's part, and Ramchand recognized a lack of compassion that he could not tolerate any longer. After all this, and the 12 day stupor, Ramchand ultimatley disappointed me - not because he went back to his job, but because he (once again) settled into his mediocre existence...the very thing at the root of his previous depression & meltdown. *sigh* Really, really good story....more
This book is a continuation of my love affair with Indian literature. Divakaruni delivers in a sublime fashion, developing a story that is rich not onThis book is a continuation of my love affair with Indian literature. Divakaruni delivers in a sublime fashion, developing a story that is rich not only in Indian setting, culture & lifestyle, but also in multi-dimensional characters whose strengths and weaknesses are understandable and relatable. How many young women, growing up in a generation rife with privilege and (Western) influence, do not seek to find their own places in the world, even if it means stretching (perhaps to the breaking point) the constraints, cultural requirements (and even taboos) of previous generations. Anju & Sudha both try to do this in their own ways, and yet, when they are faced with making a decision to pursue happiness, they find the personal cost too great.
In some ways, I found both of these women ridiculously frustrating. I thought Sudha was weak and selfish. I I thought Anju was rebellious and smart-alecky. That Sudha would not allow herself the happiness of marriage to her only love was something that made me nearly scream in frustration...until (at the end) he proved to be unworthy. That Anju followed through on an arranged marriage when she learned her betrothed loved someone else equally frustrated me...because he was untrustworthy and she knew it. In the end both of their lives were nearly shattered by these decisions. And yet, it was very obvious that these (naive) decisions were (eventually) the catalysts that gave them strength to change their lives...to protect their loved ones, to reconnect with each other, and to allow for understanding and forgiveness to take root and grow.
See this and more reviews at htto://bookishnerd.com/...more