Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on August 12, 2009
If I were to speak of this book in one word it would be "stunning" which is a word so overused in reviews that it almost means nothing but I mean it literally. At the end, I was absolutely stunned and it took awhile to recover from the final twist.
I am also overwhelmed by its complexity, which makes it a challenge for me to review. In the tradition of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, she writes a novel that questions, critiques and gives loving homage to the survivors, the marginalized, the lost in her culture of origin. It is a ghost story--the ghost is a real ghost but also represents the secret that is destroying the Mittal family. This family exists and is also haunted by the remains of British colonialism in the late 1940's, post-partition.
There is a strong feminist vein and the white feminist American reader (that would be me) may be tempted to be very critical of the ways tradition has marginalized some women, the very poor and those who cannot meet traditional heterosexual norms* in India; however, I believe we should be doing that with our own culture first--then looking at what is similar and what is different--for there is something very universal and deeply human about her themes and characters. I will read this book again, knowing the secret that is drives the core of the book, with new insights the characters' motives and decisions.