9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A powerful book.,
This review is from: Tell A Thousand Lies: A Novel Set In India (Kindle Edition)
Three sisters, Pullamma, Lata and Malli have been brought up by their grandmother. The grandmother wants to find them a husband, but only two of the girls are "pretty". Pullamma is too dark to be considered attractive in 1980 India.
That's the theme in essence. We don't have anything to do with Malli (although her wedding brings us Kondal Rao and he's is going to be Pullamma's nightmare), Malli is married off from the start and we only begin to get to know Lata towards the end of the book. It's Pullamma's story and her that we life we get to know, but she's a girl very much of her time and heritage. All she wants is a husband and a family. Unlike her twin, Lata, she isn't interested in education.
In the beginning I did wonder if the book had too much "info dump" because there was a lot telling about how people from that culture lived, but before I realised I was hooked on Pullamma's story and found myself keen to finish. There were a few flashbacks that became a jumble at times, and I did wonder if the story was too "big" for the author, but overall I think Rasana Atreya did a very good job indeed. It was easy reading, and opened my eyes to how "free" Western culture is and how much it's taken for granted.
Pullamma, as a character, was delightful, although I found her too naive at times, especially as she openly trusted people even when, one after the other, they took advantage of her. Her husband was a character I couldn't warm to at all! I hoped Pullamma would dump him by the end of the story for being such a wuss and a pushover, but no, she "loved him".
Tell a Thousand Lies is a story I'm going to remember (for all the right reasons), I do think there was a lot packed into it, maybe too much? It wasn't so much as a roller coaster read, but a long, fast straight ride until you arrive with a bump the end. There was no break, no respite from the misery dumped on poor Pullamma, or if there was, it was in very short supply of a line or two of prose. I was quite out of breath towards the end!
In short it is a powerful book, and very much worth a read.