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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Two mini reviews - Sister of my Heart - Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni and Staying on by Paul Scott

Both books (sheer coincidence) are with an Indian theme. I have been trying to get Sister of my Heart for sometime now having heard so many great things about it. The night I landed in Australia I just couldnt sleep and was browsing my daughter's bookshelf and there it was. I read it all in one go and went to bed the next day!!!

Sister of my Heart deals with the life of two girls brought up in one conservative household - the unusual part is that the household consists of only women - three ladies - all widowed suddenly and whilst very young and this fact moulds not just the young women's lives but also the lives of the two infants in their care. The story evolves further into the two girls growing up - and one making a marriage in America and finding a life for herself so very different to what she had before, whilst the other girl goes in for a traditional marriage in India itself and how the marriage starting precariously as it is, goes on to disintegrate completely. Unusual subjects in a conservative environment but I think particularly relevant today are a spin off in this book. Divorce, infidelity, infanticide, and the usual overbearing in laws are all dealt with and add to the interest of this story.

A definite must read for those who would like to know a little more on how life in the 21st century goes on - one foot in the past and one foot definitely in the future.


Staying on - was a story of a British couple who well after the days of pomp and ceremony of the British in India have decided to stay on and make Pankor their permanent home. Not having being Home for over 40 years since retirement Tusker and Lucy are the sole survivors of the British Raj and who cling to their memories of time and glories gone by. Lucy a mild, submissive woman however realises that times are a changing and adaptation is paramount. Tusker seems to be a typical mcp but deep down maintains just this facade whilst knowing that time and money is running out for both of them. Having to maintain certain standards so as "not to let the side down" whilst holding on to a dwindling income is hard for them both.

The story is nostalgic and would be of particular interest to those who are interested in the colonial past - where Britain ruled so much of the Eastern world. The book was also a Booker prize winner in 1977. Paul Scott was a new author to me and he has written several other books as well. I will have to go and dig them out!

5 comments:

chasingbawa said...

Both books sound very interesting. I actually heard of Staying On when I saw a tv programme about the British Raj a few years ago and didn't realise that people like that existed (although I know quite a few in East Africa). I like that you can browse your daughter's bookshelf, find a book and stay up all night reading. Wonderful!

Hannah Stoneham said...

I love books about India. Lovely to read your mini reviews - thanks for sharing.

Hannah

Amanda said...

I love that you enjoyed Sister of My Heart. I read that back in college and fell in love with their story and her writing. There is a sequel to that story called Vine of Desire, you should definitely check out.

By the way, you won a book over at my blog. Congratulations! I also sent you an email.

bermudaonion said...

I love that your daughter has such great bookshelves to browse! Both books sound good to me - I love books set in other cultures.

Diane said...

I think I would really enjoy this book after reading your insightful review. Thanks so much