Madeline's Reviews > Evening Is the Whole Day

Evening Is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan
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's review
Dec 21, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: 2009, 50-poc-in-2009, library-books, historical-fiction, ghosts, family, marriage-lets-you-down, magical-realism, revolution, colonialism, class, socialism, we-used-to-be-friends, novels
Read in December, 2009 , read count: 1

Comparisons to Rushdie are embarrassing, but Preeta Samarasan has a great deal of Rushdie in the twisty chiaroscuro style of her prose. Like Rushdie, she seems contemptuous of her characters, or anyway she seems incapable of knowing them and loving them at the same time. I'm not certain how she feels about Malaysia, but the desire to escape (rather than reform) makes the satire difficult to handle - I mean, really, do we need to Rushdies at once? What is the good in having simultaneous Nabokovs or Swifts?

As clever and skillful as the novel is, it was terribly hard to sustain my interest in it. I'm glad I read it, because Samarasan is a great stylist and an insightful writer, and it informed me a little about Malaysia, and it's probably a book I would recommend because it is actually quite remarkable. I just didn't like it (except for Aasha, who is the only consistently interesting character in the book).
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12/19/2009 page 29
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