I am Reading……………………

I think I should actually change that to ‘I Have Read’, because these are all reviews not previews…….but then ‘I am Reading‘ has a better ring to it…so it stays.

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai

I  read ‘Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard’ and loved it, so when I saw that Kiran Desai had written another book I was very keen to read it. I am a bit behind the times…..I subsequently saw it had been published in 2006 and it was the deserved winner of that years Booker Prize.

The story is set high up in the foothills of the Himalayas and centers around 3 main characters, the Judge, his granddaughter, their cook, and by turn the various people who are involved in their lives. The story takes place in the mid 1980’s during the rebellion of the ethnic Nepalese in Kalimpong. It is  beautifully written and fulfils all the promise made by her first book. I am not going to dwell on the intricacies of the tale as it moves between continents, dealing with  just about every contemporary international issue: globalization, multiculturalism, economic inequality, fundamentalism and terrorist violence, suffice to say it is a book I highly recommend and it goes on my ‘Top 20 Books to Read’, alongside ‘The God of Small Things’.

If you delight in the creative, skilful use of English to transport you, you will love this book.

“A story of such depth and emotion, hilarity and imagination, Desai’s second, long-awaited novel fulfils the grand promise established by her first.”

Powells Books

—o0o—

The Buddha in the Attic – Julie Otsuka

A wonderful gem of a little book. Written in the first personal plural and in beautiful prose, it takes you on a journey of hope through betrayal, despair,  prejudice and quiet inner strength and dignity.

It is the story of the Japanese ‘Mail Order Brides’ who were brought across to San Francisco to marry Japanese men who had settled there and now needed wives, almost a century ago.

The story traces the lives of these incredible women from their arduous boat journey, the discovery of the men who were to be their husbands, their backbreaking, demeaning  work in their new world, the struggle to master a new language and culture, the birth of their children, their lives as mothers who were raising children who would ultimately reject their heritage and history to the arrival of  war and the tragic results for the Japanese people living on the West Coast of America.

“This is a small jewel of a book, its planes cut precisely to catch the light so that the sentences shimmer in your mind long after turning the final page. With The Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka has developed a literary style that is half poetry, half narration – short phrases, sparse description, so that the current of emotion running through each chapter is made more resonant by her restraint.”

The Gaurdian

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