August 23rd, 2012

book pile

#1 - The world we found

This isn't the first book I have read this summer, but it is the first book I am posting about here. Therefore, it felt right to label this book as #1.

Title: The world we found
Authour: Thrity Umrigar

Book Description from Amazon: University students in late 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and fought for a better world. But much has changed in the thirty years since those heady days. Following different paths, the quartet has drifted apart, and the day-to-day demands of work and family have tempered the revolutionary fervor they shared. Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is dying and wants to see the old friends she left behind. For Laleh, reunion is a bittersweet reminder of unfulfilled dreams and unspoken guilt. For Kavita, it is an admission of forbidden passion. For Nishta, it is the end of self-delusion and the promise of freedom from a bitter fundamentalist husband. As for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms even if her ex-huband and daughter do not understand her choices. In the course of their journey to reconnect, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta must confront the truths of their lives - acknowledge long-held regrets, face painful secrets and hidden desires, and reconcile their idealistic past and their compromised present. And they will have to decide what matters most - a choice that just may help them reclaim the extraordinary world they once found. Exploring the enduring bonds of friendship and the power of love to change lives, and offering an indelible portrait of modern India - a nation struggling to bridge economic, religious, gender, and generational divides - "The World We Found" is a dazzling masterwork from the remarkable Thrity Umrigar.

I took this book out from the library as it was the book for September's book club review. While I found the beginning slow and not quite engaging, after I moved past the first thirty pages I was hooked. The main characters can be related to and allow you to think past to a time when you were younger. A little disappointed with the ending, could have used an epilogue.

I rated it 3 stars out of 5 on goodreads. While I enjoyed the book, I wish the authour would have ended the book more neatly than she had. I felt that it was leaving out key details and as the reader, I did not have closure with the characters.

# 18 Michel Faber: Crimson petal and the white 5/5

Victorian London. A courtesan (although, perhaps, this is too fine a word for her) who has found a rich patron. A master of the manor in love with the governess but married already, and to a lunatic. The lovers: he dreams of becoming a parson, she is dying from consumption. Clichees? Not at all! This book is completely unlike any Victorian novel I have ever read. There is no determined movement towards a happy conclusion. Towards any conclusion whatsoever. No certainty. No good or bad people. Only chiaroscuro and little secretive silences, and random mindless chance.

This is perhaps not a good book for naive romantics, but otherwise definitely one of the best I have read so far this year. And considering that I've read Hilary Mantel's new book recently, this is a high praise indeed. :)