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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 April 2017
I can't wait to read this! Arrived promptly. Thanks.
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Mr Ali's marriage bureau for rich people is flourishing. Aruna his assistant is very happy with her new husband Ram. Mr Ali's son, Rehman, is attracted to glamorous journalist Usha but he is Muslim and she is Hindu. What will their respective parents think when they hear about the relationship?

Set in India amongst the rich and the not so rich, this is a gentle story with a huge understanding of the many facets of human nature. The writing is plain and straightforward in style but so vivid that the reader can almost smell and visualise what life in India is really like. It deals with the thorny subject of forced marriage and the treatment of widows in a sympathetic manner. I thought the description of Aruna's family life was interesting especially how the various generations interact when Mani - Aruna's sister-in-law returns home to give birth to her second child.

Reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith's No 1 detective Agency series, this will delight anyone who enjoys a story with no bad language or violence. There is humour and sadness and a fascinating insight into the customs of India. I loved it and look forward to the next in the series.
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on 3 September 2009
With this second book in the series, the narrative is coming into its own and is a pleasureable read. The story is more about the tribulations in the relationships of those who work for, or are linked to, the marriage bureau and Zama's power is in being able to deliver felt emotions in recognisable situations involving star-crossed or caste-cursed lovers. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series started these gentle and deeeply charming stories set in alternative cultures to Western, where the perspective is turned so we re-examine our own practices and assumptions. McCall-Smith remains inimitable and his are the deeper more joyous read as he incorporates moral philosophy so effortlessly it is barely perceptible, and that is because it is rooted in the quotidian and all the more meaningful for it. Zama's novel's are less profound but similarly bring happiness to the reader, something which sounds corny but is in fact a rare feat. I certainly want to read book three due next year and that is significant among all the series now on offer of this ilk.
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on 13 August 2009
I loved "The Marriage Bureau for Rich People" and eagerly looked forward to the follow up novel "The Many Conditions of Love". I wasn't disappointed. The book portrays the many facets of modern Indian life, and the narrative is smooth yet pacey.

It was a joy to meet up with Mr and Mrs Ali, Aruna and Rehman again and to continue to follow their stories. I am sure this series will continue to give much pleasure to readers in the future.
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on 3 October 2014
I was looking forward to reading The Many Conditions of Love, having enjoyed thr earlier book, The Marriage Bureau for Rich People. As is often the case, the second book by a writer whose work you had enjoyed, was disappointing.

Farahad Zama’s style is simple but very clear. She has a knack for describing everything in in very precise detail, so it is easy to visualise what she is describing.

This book was disappointing as some of the stories seem to come together, maybe in an artificial way. For instance, the problem of what happens to the boy Vasu was easily solved – it is almost felt as if the characters had been brought in for this reason, which is unlikely to happen in real life. In the same way, the intervention by the grandmother to end Usha’s forced marriage seemed incredible, just as Usha’s decision about her engagement. It seems that Farahad Zama’s grip on reality, very apparent in The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, was somewhat skewed in this book.

Although The Many Conditions of Love can be read as a complete book, readers may find it worthwhile reading The Marriage Bureau for Rich People first, as it gives the background to the characters in the second book.
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on 13 June 2013
Novels written about India have been a personal favourite for a long time. After reading The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, I wanted to immediately continue with this second book in the series. The contemporary setting is well drawn and gives a real feel for the multi-faith society there. Whilst there are many social and religious issues to tackle in the stories, these do not overshadow the well-drawn characters. There is also a deft touch of humour. Overall, the book is satisfying in its presentation of an intelligent and balanced view of life for those involved, particularly as not all the issues are resolved or brought to a facile conclusion. But then, that's life! I heartily recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy an entertaining read that offers insights into southern Indian culture and society.
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on 30 March 2013
I enjoyed this book although it came a close second to the first book I read by the author. I believe there are 2 strands to follow in the story about South Indian methods of arranging marriages. I learnt a lot as in the first book.( The marriage bureau for rich people)
This book explored the plight of poor farmers and how they bought into the companies setting up genetic engineered crops and how they were at the mercy of the weather and poor harvests.
It also showed how young wives were subjected to prejudice from their inlaws and how the girl in question resoleved her dilemma.
An easy read.
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on 6 December 2010
I loved this book, I picked it up on a whim at my local library and I couldn't put it down, I actually phoned my husband to bring my library card from home because I just had to finish it. One of the other reviews said that it reminds them of no 1 detective agency, I though the same too. I loved the descriptions of settings, peoples and foods. I can't wait for another book to come out. I'm currently reading the first book.
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on 28 March 2015
Wonderful easy read. Provides a real insight into the tensions between traditional & contemporary Indian society. Also reveals insights into customary rituals & practices. Thoroughly recommend this book especially for anyone who has not had the luck/ good fortune to visit this remarkable land.
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on 5 April 2013
Very entertaining book with great insights into life in India. A well written book that is quite compelling and engaging liked the style of writing have bought more in the series by the author
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