Tag: Indian setting

Shyam Selvadaurai’s—Mansions of the moon *****

Shyam Selvadaurai’s—Mansions of the moon *****

Yasodhara marries Sidhartha and hopes for a union like her parents, loving and caring, along with the comforts after she moves to her father-in-law’s palace. But Sidhartha’s father, the Raja, has always despised his son because he blames him for the loss of his beloved wife when she gave birth to Sidhartha. Full of hatred, he posts his son as governor to a remote northern village where they are given a small hut, where there is no servant, and Yasodhara must tend to a rice paddy field and vegetable garden, so they have food for the winter. But while Yasodhara soon finds joy in these tasks among the camaraderie of the village women, Sidhartha becomes moody and withdrawn and his interest in the philosophy of the ascetics deepens.

This is a story of The Buddha’s wife and how she tried to hang on to her marriage until her husband finally deserted her and their only son to follow what he termed, the middle path. I have read all of Selvadaurai’s novels and this is by far his best.

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendor of silence

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendor 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. 

Chitra Banderjee Divakaruni’s—Before we visit the goddess

Chitra Banderjee Divakaruni’s—Before we visit the goddess

This is a tale of three generations of women and the mistakes and hardships they face both in India and in the U.S. 

Sabitri dreams of going to college so she can rise above her mother’s poverty-stricken life. She is given the opportunity by a rich family her mother makes mitai for, but her dream evaporates because of her ill-fated love. When her daughter, Bela is in college she is distressed by Bela’s relationship with Sanjay, a political Bengali rebel. Bela abandons her studies and flees to the U.S. to reconnect with Sanjay—the second generation to forsake her studies for love. In Bela’s daughter’s teenage years, will she do the same?

Katherine Boo’s—Behind the beautiful forevers *****

Katherine Boo’s—Behind the beautiful forevers *****

A cast of characters in Annawadi slums near Mumbai’s airport are hopeful when India’s economy starts to bloom. Some are metal thieves, others collect recyclable garbage, but when their day is done, they live in close proximity to everyone so that there are few secrets.

This is a must read story with the focus on a Muslim family striving for a better life. The book reads like fiction, but was actually the author’s observations and research during her three years living in Mumbai.