Thursday, August 26, 2010


The author of this novel calls Vancouver home.  I saw an interview with him a few months ago and thought this would be an interesting read.  So, I grabbed it when the library put it on their 'new' shelf.

It didn't disappoint.  The human condition is much the same no matter what country you call home.  And  for these Iranian immigrants,  Bombay is home.  All are Zoroastrians and their religion is the reason for their emigration.

The novel is almost exclusively male-oriented reflecting nicely the cultural gender bias.  There are women but they are like catalysts to the action of the males.  Their very presence in the world sets everything in motion yet they are not completely drawn personalities as are the men.  The women's strength is subversive while they remain in their submissive roles.  The author's talent is to create character from a few words, a look or an implied attitude.

The world of the Irani family is violent and blood is shed frequently.  Even so, the world has a hazy dream-like quality that keeps this brutality from our consciousness.  Or perhaps it is so unremarkable in this culture that it passes for normal.

The happy ending is anything but ideal.  Yet, it has happiness.  And there is a future which, if not bright, will have love.  This is a glimpse of a culture from the inside and a few steps removed.  But there is authenticity and honesty to the view.


Ginny said...

Goodness, I try to keep up wuth the new releases, but the paper recently did away with it's weekly book review section, which I loved and had read since a child. So I have not heard of this one, looks like you learned quite a bit.

Mimi said...

This is a beautifully written review, Stephanie.
You could have a sideline (if you had time) writing reviews for papers.
I'm put to shame, cos I did very little reading this summer, suppose that's the price of the travelling!


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