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on 11 January 2001
Readers always have various expectations about a novel. They want an exciting story, with laughs and tears, if possible also some thoughts and interesting ideas to reflect upon, etc This new book by Manjula Padmanabhan has all of that. The story is a caleidoscopic adventure of a young woman, looking for her own identity. Whether she has fallen in love with a Dutch man, seems an open question, but she finally ends up in Holland, after a detour to the USA and Germany. This story line serves as a perfect framework to describe all the possible dangers one can meet in such a quest. There are the expectations of friends and family members, the differences between cultures , eventually also the moral dilemmas, and of course the problems of the flesh. In fact, the story starts with this physical theme, as the main character wants to start a diet. The author writes in the "I"-formula, which serves the purpose very well : the naivete of the young woman, falling into many traps and beset by many different characters , is described in a brilliantly observant way. The reader finds himself immediately empathic, also because all these scenes are very recognisable. Furthermore, the author takes the occasion to make sparkling remarks, nearly on every page. Just one of the many examples is found on p. 184 (about the USA): "... a culture in which everything that is worth seeing is instantly sucked into the visual vocabulary of the advertising industry.." Obviously, the style of writing is very crisp and clear, with humor of a soft cynical nature and also lively dialogues : no less is expected from an award-winning play-writer. Yet, as the story proceeds, events that might seem funny at first, get an increasingly darker undertone, and the end is exceptionally strong. The last pages are in the descriptive writing really impressive. As a reader, I got all I wanted from a book : laughs and tears, and many things to think about. In fact, the story serves as a mirror. It left me gasping. This book deserves a wide attention from many readers. It will have a special place on my shelves.
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on 10 January 2001
Readers always have various expectations about a novel. They want an exciting story with laughs and tears, if possible also some thoughts and interesting ideas to reflect upon, etc. This new book by Manjula Padmanabhan has all of that. The story is a caleidoscopic adventure of a young woman, looking for her own identity. Whether she has fallen in love with a Dutch man, seems an open question, but she ends up finally in Holland, after a detour to the USA and Germany. This story line serves as a perfect framework to describe all the possible dangers one can encounter in such a quest. There are the expectations of friends and family , the differences between cultures, eventually also moral dilemmas, and of course the problems of the flesh. In fact, the story starts with the "physical" theme, as the main character wants to start a diet. The author writes in the "I"-form, which serves the purpose very well: the naivete of the young woman, falling into many traps and beset by many different characters, is described in a brilliantly observant way. The reader finds himself immediately empathic, also because all these scenes are very recognisable. Furthermore, the author takes the occasion to make sparkling remarks, nearly on every page. Just one of the many examples is found on page 184 ( about the USA) :"...a culture in which everything that is worth seeing is instantly sucked into the visual vocabulary of the advertising industry"... Obviously, the style of writing is very crisp and clear, with humor of a soft cynical nature and also lively dialogues : no less is expected from an award-winning play-writer. Yet, as the story proceeds, events that might seem funny at first, get an increasingly darker undertone, and the end is exceptionally strong. The last pages are in the descriptive writing really impressive. As a reader, I got all I could possibly want from a book : emotions and many things to reflect upon. The story serves as a mirror. It left me gasping. This book deserves a wide attention from many readers. It will have a special place on my shelves.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse


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