Suzanne's Reviews > Evening Is the Whole Day

Evening Is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan
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Mar 15, 12

bookshelves: around-the-world-challenge, fiction
Read from March 10 to 14, 2012

I chose this novel as my “Malaysia” book in the 52 Books Around the World Challenge. The author, Preeta Samarasan, was born and raised in Malaysia, but came to America in her teens and never looked back.

The story is about a dysfunctional Indian family and through their faulty relationships, we learn about the various cultures of Malaysia, the disparity of wealth, and the country’s own caste system. I appreciated learning a little about this country, but I honestly did not enjoy the book. In the first one hundred pages or so, Samarasan tries to flex her MFA degree and here’s an example of what we get:

“One day might be a drop wetter or a mite drier than the last, but almost all are hot, damp, bright, bursting with lazy tropical life, conducive to endless tea breaks and mad, jostling, honking rushes through town to get home before the violent downpour. These are the most familiar rains, the violent silver ropes that flood the playing fields and force office workers to wade bus stops in shoes that fill like buckets. Blustering and melodramatic, the afternoon rains…”

Okay, I just had to stop there, but really the author should have stopped sooner. One, maybe two sentences at most could have sufficed about the rains. And yet this is nothing compared to the pages of inner thought we are subjected to about Uma making an omelet for her younger siblings.

The middle third of the book drops the overly wordy language and gets on the with the story, which isn’t all that interesting yet. The end the book, without so much as a coup de grace, at least grabbed my attention. There was only one character I could have liked – Ballroom Uncle, who is belittled by practically everyone in the family, but is actually the only truly decent person in the book. Unfortunately, the author didn’t draw me in enough to really care about anyone. 2 1/2 stars.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Nina (new) - added it

Nina Hmmm... this is my Malaysia pick, too, but your review makes me wonder if I should look for another one.


Suzanne I would definitely look elsewhere. Not an enjoyable read!


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