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Bitter Sweets Paperback – 3 Aug 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (3 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330443631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330443630
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 555,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

It is a richly-charactered story about lies and the damage they can cause within families. --First Post

From the Publisher

Shortlisted for The Orange Award for New Writers 2007
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By V. Clawson on 20 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was a superb read and beautifully written. I loved the constant theme of truth and lies that kept reoccuring, and it was one of those books that as the cliche goes I literally could not put down, as I always wanted to find out what was going to happen to the characters next. At times I smiled, cringed and cried forseeing the fates of situations, and felt truely involved in the family the book is centred on by the time I finished reading. I will definately be buying further books written by this author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Stewart on 4 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book held me enthralled from right from the get go. I couldn't have enjoyed more how thirteen-year-old Henna's father, a shopkeeper from the Bengal, tricked the Karim family into believe his daughter was elegant and refined, when actually she couldn't read and all she wanted to do was watch Bollywood movies as she dreamed of being a Bollywood star herself someday.

After the wedding, when Rashid, who calls himself Ricky, Karim notices his new bride is reading a book upside down, he realizes how he's been tricked, but he is too proud to tell anyone. They have a daughter, Shona and in college she meets Parvaz Khan, a young man not from the kind of family good enough for Henna, so the young couple elope to England.

At Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, when he is 42 Ricky-Rashid meets Verity "Veetie" Truman and it's love at first sight. He beds her and shortly after weds her. But wait, he's already married! So this begins his double life. He's Ricky, married to Veetie in England, Rashid, married to Henna when he's home in Bangladesh. Fortunately for Ricky-Rashid Karim, business keeps him in England most of the time.

Ricky and Veetie have a child, a girl. Ricky's daughter has a couple boys. One of the boys falls for Ricky's girl. Wow! I won't tell you anymore other than to say that this debut novel is a wallapalooza of a book, just a fascinating read. I loved the characters, couldn't lose my affection for them, thought about them for a long time after I finished reading. This is just a wonderful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER on 12 April 2008
Format: Paperback
This lighthearted multi-generational saga is a hard book to summarise. It tears along at an enormous pace and is both entertaining and enjoyable to read, although ultimately it doesn't amount to much.

Henna Rub is only 13, but her father sees her as a means to his social and economic advancement. So he passes her off as 17 and arranges her marriage to Ricky-Rashid, who comes from a well-to-do family. Ricky-Rashid is horrified on the wedding night to find out how old his bride really is. This is but the first of many deceptions that are to complicate their lives and the life of their daughter throughout the book, which spans more than 50 years.

It's easy to criticise this novel: yes, the plot is contrived and riddled with coincidences. At times the narrative changes tense, which I found irritating. Some of the writing is clunky. But it's fun. When you think you know where it's going, it twists itself around. The quirky chapter titles amused me. It reads like a trashy soap opera and I mean that it a good way. A good holiday read that won't stay with you anymore than the suntan will.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BM on 18 May 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing debut novel - clever, witty and well-written. It's a book that genuinely made me laugh and cry; I highly recommend it.

I loved the way it evoked places and people (apparently) effortlessly. There wasn't too much heavy description nor too much excessive detail and yet I felt as though I could visualise and imagine everybody and every place in this book very clearly. I am definitely planning to buy her other book as soon as possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lincs Reader TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 April 2011
Format: Paperback
'Bitter Sweets' is Roopa Farooki's debut novel, published in 2007. I read her most recent book last year and somehow this one has stayed overlooked on my shelf until now.
I have really enjoyed the last couple of days spent with this quirky, mixed-up Bangledeshi family made up of duplicitous characters who lie and cheat their way through life, but in a way that makes the reader empathise with them and understand just why they do it. With the exception of Henna Rub - the matriach character of the story, she starts out as a teenage girl, lazy, greedy and dreaming of wealth and fortune and spend most of the rest of the novel just the same way. It is only at the very end of the novel that she redeems herself to the reader, and then, only just!

The story of a complex family set in both Bangadesh and London and outlining the differences in life in the two countries. It's basically the story of how one family can exist on so many lies, the complexities of lies and the consequences for futher generations.
An easy read, funny in places, emotional in others - this is a really good read and recommended by me.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Philips on 8 Feb. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I found this a complete delight to read - unashamedly funny, sharply observed, but also perceptive and tender in its exploration of ethnic difference, family values and relationships - a cross between Zadie Smith and Roddy Doyle. It is entertaining and moving, with a vast cast of colourful characters, of liars and lovers, that you fall in love with yourself. A delicious book to be savoured and enjoyed, although I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting! J Philips
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