Definitely the best book I have read in over a year. Great style, very good and vivid illustrations to explain what is going on in contemporary Delhi/Definitely the best book I have read in over a year. Great style, very good and vivid illustrations to explain what is going on in contemporary Delhi/India. Unfortunately frightning subject. This book is definitely the continuation of Dalrymple's "City of Djinns" and I am so happy to have found it as I had been thinking all along that it needed to be updated in some way. Dasgupta has done it to perfection! Thank you !...more
"Fasting Feasting" is another one of these novels which describe the overwhelming weight and influence tradition and the concept of social image play"Fasting Feasting" is another one of these novels which describe the overwhelming weight and influence tradition and the concept of social image play in the lives of many Indian families.
Parents are despotic rulers (especially the father), daughters are considered less important and all that counts is to marry them off into a family who has a good image and wealth (if possible). Education and/or emotions are factors that hardly count compared to the possibility of a "good" marriage. Mothers-in-law are depicted as tyrants for the younger generations of women in the house. Boys have to bear all their family's expectations of success both professionally and socially...and are suffocating under a tsunami of attention, pressure, avid guidance and expectation leaving no room for any kind of personal development. Arun ends up a bit like a puppet, unable to know what he likes nor what he wants. Others like his cousin's husband live only for their mother to the point of threatening their wifes' lives.
In the second part, the sick-functioning of an american prototype family is described quite gloomily, in parallel to the Indian "family drama". Arun finds himself spending the summer with an American host family and here, too, the parent generation is deaf and insensitive to the emotional needs of the children-generation. Each family member too busy with his own little superficial concerns and not noticing the others' real needs and emotions in what one could call a totally decadent society.
The book is written in a very good language and stays interesting until the end. It is quite ironic and sad though and particularly revolting at some stages as the protagonists find themselves in situations in which their only way out (which is in fact not a way out) is resignation!
A very nice book to follow the history of Burma and partly India and Malaysia from the end of the 19th century til 1996.
It reads very well from beginnA very nice book to follow the history of Burma and partly India and Malaysia from the end of the 19th century til 1996.
It reads very well from beginning to end. Generally quite sad (the last king exiled, the events of WW2 and the take over of Burma by the military regime) but very informative.
I only give it 4 stars though because I did not manage to slip 100% into the main characters perspective. It's hard to explain, but at certain times, you feel as the reader that the emotions of the main characters are not fullly grasped and you stay as a distant observer, without being able to fully identify with them. It can be a bit irritating at times.
However from the historical and informative point of view, an excellent book that makes you want to travel in the region, which indeed I am going to do! Leaving for Rangoon this week! :) ...more