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Of Marriageable Age Paperback – 1 Nov 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Nov 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo (1 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000225896X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002258968
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 14.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,874,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A big book, big themes, an exotic background and characters that will live with you forever… unputdownable.' Katie Fforde

'Beautifully and cleverly written. A wondrous, spellbinding story which grips you from the first to the last page… I can't recall when I last enjoyed a book so much.' Lesley Pearse

'It's a wonderful panoramic story and conveys such vivid pictures of the countries it portrays I was immediately transported and completely captivated. A terrific writer.' Barbara Erskine

'From the first page I was hooked with this enchanting book… unputdownable.' Audrey Howard

'A vast canvas of memorable characters across a kaleidoscope of cultures… her epic story feels like an authentic reflection of a world full of sadness, joy and surprise.' The Observer

From the Author

Thank you for your kind comments on my first novel! For me, the publication of "Of Marriageable Age" was a dream come true, and it is a miracle to be able to communicate, through a story, with so many people the world over.

Sharon Maas --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A rich, colorful explosion of Indian culture spanning from Madras to Demerara, this novel is so vividly told and so skillfully woven that you'll find yourself visualizing the story as you go along, in full color with surround sound, smells and all.
Three children, two countries, three stories, three different decades - separate, yet cohesively bonded into one epic saga.
Nataraj (Nat), plucked from an orphanage in India by a white doctor, is given the chance to receive a good education, and quickly discovers within himself the power of healing.
Sarojini (Saroj) lives a comfortable life in British Guiana, until she encounters racism and hatred, and repeatedly defies her ethnically blinkered father, having recognized inner beauty in other people despite external appearances.
Savitri is a cook's daughter from Madras, the central character of the book, who despite her strict Indian family, manages to tie herself to the white family who employs her father, leading to a heart-rending sequence of unfortunate events.
Flitting like a butterfly between the three stories, the author explores deep, dark issues of humanity, but these are not permitted to consume the story, as they are beautifully counterbalanced by love and respect, by breathtakingly descriptive passages and exotic settings.
It's a period piece, a geography lesson, a mystery, a tragedy, a drama, a soap opera, but most of all a love story, not only for the central characters, but for the author to pay tribute to two countries that have made their mark in her heart.
If you like sweet, sappy love stories, or rich Indian culture and tradition, or even if you just liked the movie "Monsoon Wedding", this book is highly recommended for you.
Amanda R.
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Format: Paperback
Of Marriageable Age is one of the most innovative novels I have ever read. Within this one book, the reader can enjoy a thoughtful look at arranged marriages, investigate the formation of a individual's character from childhood, explore the rich tapestry of multicultural heritages and religions, appreciate the sources of generational conflict, obtain new perspectives on overcoming prejudice, and unravel some delightful mysteries all within an intertwined story line built around the lives of three rather different kinds of characters. Ms. Maas is a master story teller and has a sure touch in tying all of this together in a simple, profound way.
Let me mention before going further that this book contains many scenes of intense inhumanity that will disturb you. For the most part, these scenes are played as tamely as possible without losing their significance. Nevertheless, this is not a garden and flowers romance novel, in the usual sense that most readers think about novels that deal with love and marriage.
The book builds its structure around three separate timelines that begin in different places tied to the three primary characters, two in the state of Madras in India (one in 1921 and the other in 1947) and the third in British Guiana in 1956. As time passes, you begin to notice bits and pieces of the other two story lines crossing over into each one, helping you anticipate a greater joining of all three in the end. A few things won't quite make sense along the way. Pay particular attention to those, for they are clues to parts of the story that will remain below the surface until near the end of the book.
All three characters are Indians by cultural background. Savitri is the cook's young daughter in an English household in Madras who keeps company with the English family's son.
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Sharon Maas's sprawling if engaging first novel opens in India in 1947, when a little boy called Paul is taken from an orphanage by an English 'Doctor-Sahib', given back his original name of Nataraj and adopted by the doctor. The novel then moves between three separate stories. We follow Nataraj's life in India with his new father, and his experiences when he finally leaves his country to study in England. We also follow the story of Saroj, a feisty Indian girl growing up in Guiana (British Guyana until the 1960s), who is a few years younger than Nataraj. Saroj suffers from her repressive Indian father's strictness, and longs for help from her gentle brother Ganesh and dreamy, spiritual mother - but their support is not enough to stop her rebelling drastically as she grows up. Alongside Saroj and Nataraj's stories we also follow a third, more tender tale, set in the British Raj in the 1920s, in which David, son of an English military family, and Savitri, his family's cook's daughter, fall in love as children - but their love, bearing in mind their different social status and nationalities, proves as impossible as Romeo and Juliet's - will it have the same tragic end? Told as three very separate stories for about two thirds of the book, the three narratives dramatically converge in the final section - though an attentive reader will probably guess quite early on how the stories are related - at least in part. Throughout the novel runs the theme of marriage, and of what it meant to an Indian woman in the mid-20th century.

I didn't enjoy Maas's second novel 'Peacocks Dancing', and nearly gave this one away without reading it. I'm glad I didn't, as it is a much stronger book.
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