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As It Was Written: A Novel Hardcover – February 16, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
Hampton's debut novel is a spectacular, colorful, and way too busy mess. There is the gigantic Mr. Nair and his five daughters (only two of whom figure prominently), plus their tiny allergy-plagued mother who hasn't opened a window for 20 years. There is Mr. Nair's sister, Gita, her married lover and his ex-wife, two medical students—one being a love interest for one of the daughters—a lecherous professor, a single mother landlord and her two children, an adorable trio of bakers, assorted in-laws and relatives and the town crazy who swoops in at the end to provide a totally unsatisfactory conclusion. There's also a book within a book. The narrative is lovely, vibrant, expansive, and well-paced, and the characters are complex, but there are simply too many of them and too much going on with no anchor to keep things from running amok—and run amok they do. Hampton has a lot of promise and a great handle on most of the author's toolbox; hopefully, next time out, there'll be a sturdier hand in reigning it in. (Feb.)
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Hampton’s debut follows the fortunes of an Indian family living in Virginia. Gita Nair, a troubled young professor, is practically shrinking away to nothing as she pines for Chris Jones, a handsome married man she met and fell in love with in an airport when she was only 18. Their affair spans many years, as Chris’ wife Jeri tries to get over the stillborn birth of the child she hoped would save their marriage. Gita is hard at work on a recounting of the tragic, cursed life of her great-great-great grandmother, and fears that the family curse might be visited on one of her five voluptuous, beautiful nieces. Her fears seem on the brink of being realized when two of the girls fall into love affairs, one joyous, the other unhappy: Veena experiences love at first sight with a young doctor, while Dhanya is seduced by a rakish college professor. This rich, lush family drama is bound to appeal to readers who like their fiction imaginative and whimsical. --Kristine Huntley
Top customer reviews
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None of her scenes are slow or drab; they are each engaging and vivid. She has a simple but powerful way of describing situations so that even though she only touches on a few details, you get a precise picture of what's going on, and it's a bright, heavy picture that leaves a lasting impression.
I've grown tired of mass-produced storylines with with predictable characters and a writing style that can only be described as "functional" - it is refreshing to read an author who writes an imaginative story on her own terms, and in her own uncommon voice.
This book made me wish I could cook!
Any author that transports her readers to a place in their heads where being severely obese might be desirable is obviously a magician.
Thank-you Sujatha. Loved this book.
However, it would be interesting to count how many times the author used the word "fat" .
I loved the warmth of her characters, for who she really cared, but the book needed another good edit.
Each of Dr. Nair's family is dealing with adjustments to a life that is lived in one culture inside their home, and another outside of the protecting walls of their family. His father, his sister, and his daughters each make their own adjustments, mistakes, and compromises between these two worlds Dr. Nair's patience is stretched to its very breaking point as both his hopes and worst fears descend upon his house in succession. If you love to read about complex human interactions, relationships, and love, you will enjoy this book.
Most recent customer reviews
There are pearls of language in Ms. Hampton's work, but just as often, there are passages that are cloyingly...Read more