Category: 5 out of 5 Indian settings

Amulya Malladi’s — A breath of fresh air *****

Amulya Malladi’s — A breath of fresh air *****

While Anjali waits hours for her new husband to collect her from the Bhopal railway station, a toxic gas explosion sends people fleeing. Anjali wakes in a hospital bed and is determined to divorce her unfaithful husband. Unlike many others who died from the explosion, she believes she only suffers from serious asthma, but doesn’t realize the full repercussions of the accident until years later. Continue reading “Amulya Malladi’s — A breath of fresh air *****”

Rabindranath Tagore’s — The wreck *****

Rabindranath Tagore’s — The wreck *****

Ramesh is in love with Hemnalini, but is forced into an arranged marriage. On his return journey from his wedding, a storm sinks the wedding party boats. When Ramesh comes to, he’s washed up on shore and discovers the only other survivor is dressed in red wedding regalia. He assumes its his wife whom he never set eyes on during the wedding.

Only after taking her into his house does he discover she is not the woman he married. And this is where the dilemma starts. He cannot disregard Kamala because she’ll be shunned in Indian society, but he is determined to marry the love of his life, Hemnalini.

Tagore, a prolific story teller of the 1900s, wrote well ahead of his time about the deprived status of Hindu women and the low value placed on their intelligence.

Gregory David Roberts’ — Shantaram *****

Gregory David Roberts’ — Shantaram *****

Sentenced to nineteen years in prison, Roberts escapes from his Australian jail cell and heads to India. Robbed in Mumbai, he’s forced to live in the slums until his life in various illegal operations, lead him to a more comfortable life style.

This is a tale with its heart in the streets of Mumbai. The characters, the setting, Mumbai’s underworld and the gripping story make this an unforgettable tale. While this is a nine hundred plus page novel, I still didn’t want it to end.

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

After a regime change in 14thcentury Persia, Ghia, along with his wife and children flee to Qandahar. There he meets a merchant heading to India. When they arrive, the merchant introduces Ghia to Emperor Akbar who soon employs him. Ghia believes his good fortune is due to his youngest daughter, Mehunnisa. At age eight, she first glimpses at Akbar’s son, Prince Salim at his wedding when her ambitions stir.

Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

A Man Booker prize winner, this novel traces Pi Patel’s journey from Pondicherry by sea. His father has brought the animals from the zoo they once owned in the coastal city, but not long into the journey, the boat sinks and Pi and a few of the animals are the only survivors.

While the movie of this book was beautifully filmed with a well chosen cast, it failed to capture the philosophical essence that made the book a memorable read.

Sujata Massey’s — The widows of Malabar Hill *****

Sujata Massey’s — The widows of Malabar Hill *****

Set in Mumbai in the 1920’s, Perveen works with her father in his law office, the only female solicitor in all of the city. When the Muslim women on Malabar Hill become widows, only Perveen can enter their section of the house to explain a document they’ve signed giving away their wealth.

This not only leads to a murder, but events from Perveen’s past failed marriage haunt her. A tale of intrigue with insight into both the Parsi and Muslim lives of the era.

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendour of silence ******

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendour of silence ******

Once Sam completes a rescue mission in Burma during 1942, he heads to Rudrakot after a plea from his mother back in Seattle, to find out what happened to his brother. In Rudrokot, he boards with the local Tamil political agent where he is drawn to Mila, the agent’s daughter who is expected to marry the state’s prince. Battling the loss of his brother, his growing love for Mila, a wound from his time in Burma, and the prejudice the British and Indians hold against mixed relationships, Sam discovers he cannot win all he desires.