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The Rice Mother Paperback – 17 Mar 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Paperback, 17 Mar 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (17 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034082607X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340826072
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 17.6 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,862,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

It would be difficult not to be seduced by the evocation of setting, family life, clothes, food and the intriguing mixture of myth, religion and superstition . . . there is a freedom and freshness in the manner in which the author explores the interior life of her characters whose idiosyncrasies and many failings are sympathetically and sometimes humorously observed . . . It possesses a genuine intimacy and passionate involvement. (Elizabeth Buchan, Times Play)

Steeped in myth, superstition, social detail and emotion, it is one of those unfolding, compulsive novels that for all its length, you wish would never end. Both my readers, with an age range from 20 to 50-plus, felt exactly the same - a sure signof a bestseller. Wonderful stuff. (Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller)

THE RICE MOTHER is exactly the kind of absorbing, cross-generational read that will pass away a few more train journeys than the average popular paperback . . . brimming over with colourful imagery, mythology, unfeeling men and vivid descriptions of cooking . . . Emotionally satisfying, complex books like this are harder to find. (Heat)

An exceptional début. (Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller Christmas Books)

I strongly recommend THE RICE MOTHER. A very memorable book. It's so wonderfully un-put-down-able! Do read it. (North Wales Chronicle)

I simply didn't want it to end . . . The characters themselves, with their resolute individualism, ultimately seem larger than either the superbly drawn historical background or the novel's exotic setting (Image Magazine)

A wonderful treasure-house of a story, a gem of a first novel. There is real, bursting talent here. (Sue Morgan, The Bookseller)

Captivating . . . Manicka's rich and vivid saga presents an exotic world of myth and magic which leaves the reader satisfied yet eager for more. (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)

Wonderful, intelligent and stunning . . . a great read (Sunday Mail, Glasgow)

A vivid storyteller . . . Unfolding over four generations like a Greek tragedy, it's a compulsive and often harrowing tale. (In Style)

Lyrical and evocative . . . "poetry in motion" . . . this book will transport and inform you. (Church of England Newspapers)

Greek tragedy meets Memoirs of a Geisha . . . it is difficult to find a superlative that is not already played to death. . . This is a lyrical, almost poetical piece of work that borders on the genius . . . a breath of fresh air in a saturated market. (Morning Star)

A first novel of Eastern exoticism and unforgettable characters . . . You'll struggle to find a more powerful, moving read this year. (Glamour)

Loosely autobiographical, multigenerational first novel: exotic, sensual, sometimes sentimental, often searing, and ultimately universal in its depiction of an Indian family in Malaysia . . . the story's richness and careful accumulation of detail are reminiscent of a very different family chronicle, Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. (Kirkus Reviews)

Manicka's glorious, luxuriant prose make for a heart-wrenching read. (Good Book Guide)

Echoes of Memoirs of a Geisha in this exotic family saga (Mirror)

You'll love Rani Manicka's first novel. (New Woman)

Powerful (Sunday Mirror)

Drips with local colour . . . wonderful. (Daily Mail)

Much of the appeal of a novel like The Rice Mother rests in its whispered promises of escapism (Observer)

After Memoirs of A Geisha there were lots of copycats, but only this comes close in terms of excellence. A stunning generation-spanning story. (Heat)

Rich in domestic detail essential for a convincing family saga . . . this novel transcends its genre . . . she has created a novel with its own strong flavour. (Times Play)

A vividly atmospheric novel of tragedy, superstition, belief and hope. (Woman & Home)

Book Description

A compelling glimpse in a captivatingly exotic world of myth and magic

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
wow what more can I say, I come from small town on a small island and have no idea of other cultures. I picked up the book purely because I was moving house and would be out of work for a week or two. The book was finished in 3 days and my whole perception of the world has widened.

The way the family worked together with each of there ideals and personalities was fantasticly woven and the way they dealt with one major incident was enough to bring tears to my eyes.

brilliant book i look forward to reading more from this author
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By A Customer on 4 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
Cannot see the point, for the most part, of Joe Bloggs reviewing a book. You know nothing of my taste, and I know nothing of yours - so how can it help you if I tell you that I thought this book was splendid - which I did. A compelling read from the start and sad to put it down at the end.
As a piece of classic literature, I might not place this in my top 50, but for a great read, a touching, bitter sweet, galling and thought provoking tale - it is hard to beat. A great holiday book.
A charming and unusual voice unfolds the story for us in a uniquely eastern, lyrical way.
So you know the things which appeal to me: recent reads were 'The Lovely Bones' (fabulously written) 5/5, The shipping News 3/5, The Fingersmith 4/5, The death of Mr Love 3/5. Favourite authors include George Orwell, M Peake, Tolkein. Hope this helps you to judge whether you might like the same things that appeal to me.
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By A Customer on 8 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
This book starts off in this wonderful scenery, and little does one know of the sadness that it will evoke throughout the pages, as the generations speed along. Each generation brings with it terrible events that take their toll on the characters' psyche. I wonder if the author felt really depressed while writing this book because there are times when it all seems so devastating that things seem they will never get better. Each and every character is unique and lovable in his or her own way. The story is interesting but brings you the blues once you've read it. Nevertheless this is a talented author able to create a wonderful plot with worthile characters, people we will feel knowing so very well through their drama.
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Format: Paperback
I don't normally have time to review books but I have just finished The Rice Mother (in 2 days - you can't put it down) and felt compelled to say a few words. Yes it is a dark book about a lifetime of struggling, so if you want a happy read avoid this book. However the writing is descriptive without being flowery, with truly 3 dimensional characters throughout the generations. I don't normally like books which move away from the main character as subsequent people are never written as well, however this is an exception to the rule, and I found the transition was handled exceptionally. I would recommend this book to all who truly like to feel part of the world they are reading about.
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By A Customer on 11 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Rani Manicka's first novel is a rich and captivating display of culture, immense tragedy and disguised love. The book holds and alluring, somewhat magical aura through its integration of Hindu culture and mysticism - the reader enters another world.
The story begins in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and focuses on Lakshmi, a fourteen year old girl married off to a man many years her senior and promised luxury in his Malaysian home. Upon her arrival in Malaya Lakshmi is confronted with the first of many injustices to litter her life - her husband has lied and she lives in poverty. With the arrival of her six children the story unravels as Lakshmi struggles to sustain and protect her family through difficult circumstances. The book spans four generations and is told through the voices of the family members. As the family suffers through Japanese Occupation, rape, torture, gambling and an array of other hardships the reader is exposed to different viewpoints which provides insight and makes for a satisfying conclusion. The story is touching, if not utterly heart-wrenching in its portrayal of a family plagued by tragic unfairness and can be disturbing in its blunt frankness. However, an uplifting resolution is found in Lakshmi's great-granddaughter.
I found Rani Manicka's use of metaphors unique and striking: "hopes had painfully crashed on the rocks of life since then". Some would describe Manicka's writing as over-done possibly even flamboyant; other however (like myself) would call it endearingly expressive. My one criticism would be to note that some of the mystery revelations were over-explained, perhaps missing subtlety.
I highly recommend this book to saga-lovers as this saga has it all - love, tragedy, survival and an ending full of hope.
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By A Customer on 5 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a stunning first novel from Rani Manicka. Beautifully written, with wonderful, evocative imagery and some mouthwatering descriptions of food!! The characters are well-developed and all have interesting quirks of their own.
Be prepared to get totally sucked in to this family's world of tragedy, tears and trauma!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this is by far one of the best books I have ever read, the language used is so eloquent and beautiful. the story is so original compared to other books I have read. the characters and setting s are so realistic and unique and the time span covered immense, the changes in time portrayed so well. I feel like I have been educated in a different time and culture and swept away with the story of it all. I couldn't recommend this book enough. it did take me ages to read compared with other books but as its on a kindle I have no idea how long it actually is, well worth the time though.
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