11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Seamless writing, memorable novel,
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This review is from: The Pleasure Seekers (Hardcover)
This is a book to be savoured unhurriedly. It has, in my opinion, an inner quality that comes to light from the beginning, with some graceful poetic "whisper" seeping through the pages, sprinkled here and there (the author's background is poetry). The richness of language is a balm to the eyes and the deriving overall prose is stylish and intense. Never pretentious nor ostentatious though. The narrative flows beautifully, lyrically. The use of certain expressions -i.e. sha-bing, sha-bang, ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom-boom-boom- renders some descriptions more vivid, providing even more texture to some circumstances and feelings.
We meet the Patel family, based in Madras, India, in 1968. Babo, the first member of the Patel family to fly out to London for education/business purposes, falls head over heels in love with Sian, a Welsh girl (this is an association/reference to the author's own parents). The love is mutual, but as soon as Babo's parents hear of it, they are distressed and dismayed; with a tricky excuse, Babo is asked to return to India. It is soon clear to all that Babo and Sian cannot bear to be apart and, as soon as this fact is "digested" by both the Indian & Welsh families, love prevails and the two can get married. The story unfolds covering roughly three generations, through different continents, cultures and historical events.
The love uniting Babo and Sian is the narrative path upon which the books is based, placing them as main characters, along with Babo's parents, his brother Chotu and his sweet grandmother Ba and later, their daughters join the picture: Mayuri and Bean. Other characters are more marginal (such as Babo's sisters or Sian's family) but they still find their niche complementing the background as seen fit for a family saga. Ba especially, is a remarkable character, a favourite of mine: a widow living in Anjar, she has an eternal wisdom aura, lives surrounded by the village women and an eunuch whom she is very fond of. She also has the power of "smelling" the future and is the central figure for the entire Patel family: everybody turns to her for any kind of problem. Ba's powers provide the book with what I would define as a touch of magic realism, which blends suitably as events unfold throughout the years.
Many themes are explored through the lives of the Patels: love, above all. And racial issues, social acceptance, lost innocence, death. The adjustments we have to face when a loved one takes another direction, unexpectedly, leaving an unbearable emptiness. And patience. This book makes you think at how difficult it is sometimes to master this art without getting overwhelmed, or crushed, by intricate circumstances. However this is not a depressing read; it is a book about life and it has several amusing touches throughout. As it progresses and we get acquainted with all the characters and what shapes their life, the elegance and power of the language levitate through the love, joy, pain, tears, and love again. Life, as it is.
Seeking pleasure? Ba-ba-boom-boom-boom. You shall find it by reading this book. Very well done to Tishani Doshi, 10 Amazon stars! I am looking forward to read more of her work.