Top critical review
Evocative writing but was too long
12 October 2018
This thick book (with very small font) has been sitting on my bookshelf for ages and I've avoided picking it up but decided that the time had come.
From the first few pages I felt that I was in the world in which the characters inhabited. I know little about 1970s Indian politics but that didn't matter. Social changes played as an important background but the narrative focused on the effects felt by the individuals rather than the high level shifts in the world. This worked really well and made the book about the characters.
India itself is a huge character in the story and its portrayal is well rounded - we see good, bad and much in between.. The colours and smells range from beautiful to horrific and there is a deep understanding of Indian culture with specific reference to the caste system.
Time moves back and forward as we move between the main characters, exploring their connections to each other and their progression through life.
From a promising start, I found that the story started to drag from about half way through. The book was too long and I found it tedious to finish, taking me far longer than it should have done. I know that life is hard but it would have been good to show the occasional glint of sunshine through all the black clouds.
Worth book to read and I can see why it is highly rated. I'm glad I read it but I won't be reading any other books by this author.