Author: Sandra Hunter
Publisher: Oneworld Book
Type of book: India, Great Britain, culture clash, immigrant experience, 1960s-1970s, 2000s, spinal dystrophy, illness, relationships, family, understanding
Year it was published: 2014
After Indian Independence Arjun brings his family to London, but hopes of a better life rapidly dissipate. His wife Sunila spends all day longing for a nice tea service, his son suddenly hates anything Indian, and his daughter, well, that’s a whole other problem. As he struggles to enforce the values he grew up with, his family eagerly embraces the new. But when Arjun’s right leg suddenly fails him, his sense of imbalance is more than external. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he is forced to question his youthful impatience and careless cruelty to his family, until he learns, ultimately, to love them despite — or because of — their flaws. In a series of tender and touching glimpses into the shared life of a married couple, Sandra Hunter creates strikingly sympathetic characters — ones that remind us of our own shortfalls, successes, hypocrisies, and humanity.
There are a lot of characters, although main ones would be Arjun and Sunila as well as their two kids, Murad and Tarani. Arjun comes from a very traditional culture from India and does his best to exercise authority over his family, but cultures clash and very often his family sees him negatively. I feel that Sunila wasn't drawn as strongly as I wanted her to be, but I get the sense that she is stuck between two rocks. (Long story on why I don't say a rock and a hard place.) There seems to be lack of love between the two. Murad is best described as sullen and rebellious as well as distant. Tarani is lively, beautiful and also a bit rebellious, she is more British than Indian and sees herself that way.
Time gives and time takes away
The book itself is written in third person narrative, each chapter detailing a year and a month later than the previous one, and its from Sunila's and Arjun's points of views, although Arjun is in the center. The author does a good job of handling the story, somehow giving us windows to opportunities in watching this family, yet despite only taking a month from each year, you feel as if you missed very little. If you enjoyed Our Love Could Light the World, then its a guarantee that this will be enjoyable as well.
About Sandra Hunter
Sandra Hunter’s fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and has received three Pushcart Prize nominations. Among other awards, she won the 2013 Women’s Domination Story Competition, 2012 Cobalt Literary Magazine Fiction Prize and the 2011 Arthur Edelstein Short Fiction Prize. Her short story “Blessed Are the Meek” won Glimmer Train’s Spring 2005 Very Short Fiction Award, and is now a chapter in her novel Losing Touch, to be published in July 2014 (OneWorld Publications).Opinion:
I really hope I'll do justice in reviewing this wonderful book. Originally I thought it would be four stars, but upon further reflections and lessons as well as how timeless the book feels, four stars seems too little, thus I'll give it five stars. Even though the family is Indian and it takes place from 1960s up until 1970s and then skips to late 2000s, there's something universally appealing in the story as well as something that many people are able to relate to. One of the things I enjoyed is how Arjun thinks and tries his best to relate to his family but is unable to. In an odd way its reminiscent of time's effects on people, how we want a moment captured for forever, but it slips through the fingers and eventually we succumb to old age and death. Yet time's ravages does have a positive point: wisdom gained through the years as well as sympathy for those once scorned. Also, for some odd reason it reminded me of a Japanese drama I watched where a girl seemed to suffer from a similar disease that gripped Arjun. A very highly recommended read.
This is for TLC Book Tour
Sandra Hunter’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, July 1st: 1330 V
Wednesday, July 2nd: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Thursday, July 3rd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, July 7th: Lit and Life
Tuesday, July 8th: The Written World
Wednesday, July 9th: Books in the City
Thursday, July 10th: Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, July 11th: BookNAround
Monday, July 14th: Missris
Tuesday, July 15th: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, July 16th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, July 17th: Luxury Reading
Friday, July 18th: Time 2 Read
Monday, July 21st: Bound By Words
Tuesday, July 22nd: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, July 23rd: Good Girl Gone Redneck5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)