The Rice Mother Paperback – 17 Mar 2003
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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)
A compelling glimpse in a captivatingly exotic world of myth and magicSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.
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.
Be prepared to get totally sucked in to this family's world of tragedy, tears and trauma!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I must say that I did not find this an easy read, I was often confused about who was who and how they fitted into the story. Read morePublished 15 months ago by BRENDA ADAMS
Enjoyed the style this book was written. It was very captivating and historical.Published 21 months ago by LillyB
Wonderfully written but too dark for my liking. I kept searching for hope and positivity but it was no where to be found.Published 22 months ago by bitsy
Brilliant book. Full of atmosphere. I can't stop reading it.Published 23 months ago by Sharon Wiggins
Rani Manicka's first novel is an ambitious family saga set in Malaysia and tracing the fortunes of four generations of women. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kate Hopkins
Takes you into another world. Beautifully lyrical. Very sad in parts and it still haunts me. The type of book that leaves a mark on your soul.Published on 30 Aug. 2013 by Trees
Loved this book.
Characters well described. Story line very interesting, nice to mentally get away.
Highly recommended, must read and buy.
From the first page I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. Complex characters and I in no way imagined where it would go. A great read, highly recomendedPublished on 21 Nov. 2012 by Mrs. Aisha Chaudhri
I have read this book many times and each time, something new comes to light. This book is beautifully written and covers three generations of a family touched by war, death, love... Read morePublished on 10 Nov. 2012 by Sunshine