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City of Sorrows Paperback – December 11, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Susan Nadathur is a widely-traveled writer, teacher, and self-proclaimed "outsider" from Connecticut who lives on-and-off in Spain with an extended family of Gypsies in Seville. By day, she writes fictional stories set in painfully real worlds. By night, you'll find her blogging about the challenges and rewards of being different at www.labelmedifferent.wordpress.com. She resides with her husband, a philosophical scientist from India, in Lajas, Puerto Rico. She doesn’t quite fit into the culture of Puerto Rico, but in not fitting it, she belongs. Susan remains a misfit in the chaotically colorful world that has become her home.
Top customer reviews
The main protagonist is Diego, a young Gypsy living on the edge of poverty in Seville. We meet Diego young and married, with a seventeen-year-old wife who is already six months pregnant. The naivety and youth is a mix for a fun new relationship but their tale is not a happy one. When disaster befalls the young couple, the entire city of Seville burns with rage as racism between Spaniards and Gypsies literally ignites. Diego’s life falls to awful lows filled with crime and revenge, which could end him.
Diego crosses paths with Andres, a rich young Spaniard, and not a character many could indulge or come to like. Andres’ hatred of Gypsies, born out of a cliché and unfair stereotype in his own head, leads him to make a simple yet cruel decision that costs someone their life. Andres is mean, tortured, racist and lazy, and while he tried is best to redeem himself through the guise of caring for his young sister Adela, it can be hard to not wish Andres would step in front of a bus.
A third man, Rajiv, a young Indian fresh in the city of Seville, is a wholly likable character. I live in an Indian community, all those who have emigrated for a new life, and the story of this man mimics one of so many real people in the world. He is kind, intelligent and good in the face of all that troubles him – mostly Andres, who he is forced to work with and help. Rajiv is on a different path in life to the other two men in the book, yet their stories weave together in the heartache that swirls through Seville.
Susan Nadathur has done a wonderful job at creating characters that both endear and infuriate, and it shows the divide between Spaniards and Gypsies in Spain. It shows how three different men from three different walks of life and effect, hurt and save one another, as well as explaining the inside details of Gypsy life. As chapters flip between the point of view of each man, one cannot help but want to turn the pages to see where their favourite character ends up next.
Perhaps the best message I got from the book was that we are all just human. There are no "good guys" or "bad guys". Only flawed, complex individuals who demonstrate both good and bad traits and struggle with their decisions.
My congratulations to Ms. Nadathur for a job well done and an exciting premier novel - I look forward to her next one!