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The Rice Mother by [Manicka, Rani]
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The Rice Mother Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Length: 468 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Manicka's first novel is a big, sprawling, absorbing multigenerational saga set in Malaysia. At the age of 14, Lakshmi is married off to Ayah, a man more than twice her age. Led to believe Ayah is rich, Lakshmi is surprised to learn he is actually a clerk wholly lacking any sort of ambition. Lakshmi makes the best of her situation, bearing six children, including a set of twins, in five years. But Lakshmi is dogged by a prophecy that predicts heartbreak from her oldest son and the loss of one of her other children. She is a ferociously protective mother, and when the Japanese invade Malaysia during World War II, she hides her three daughters away. At the end of the occupation, part of the prophecy comes true, permanently splintering Lakshmi's family. Manicka tells her story from many of the characters' point of views; they tell each other's stories as often as they tell their own. Graceful, engrossing, and peopled with memorable characters, this novel is sure to attract a wide audience. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

'In the past decade we have read novels that defied convention by taking a grip on the masses (think Memoirs Of A Geisha and Cold Mountain); books whose sales figures had more in common with Jackie Collins than the literary elite. The Rice Mother promises to be another... You'll struggle to find a more powerful, moving read this year.' - Glamour; 'An exceptional debut' - The Bookseller; 'Transcends barriers of culture, time and place. Memorable for capturing the contradictions of life, the magic and the blight, it should sell in mega numbers.' - Publishing News; 'A wonderful treasure-house of a story, a gem of a first novel. There is real, bursting talent here.' - Sue Morgan, The Bookseller

Product Details

  • File Size: 1136 KB
  • Print Length: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 27, 2004)
  • Publication Date: July 27, 2004
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002GOP9G8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,266 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Colleen McMahon VINE VOICE on September 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this in a lot of 3 used books, all dealing with female characters of South Asian descent. The other two are more fluffy chick-lit and the ones I bought the lot for--but when I picked up this novel and browsed through it, it immediately sucked me into its world and kept me there.

The central character is Lakshmi, and we see the wondrous and often frightening world of Malaysia in the first half of the 20th century largely through her eyes and experiences. She marries and raises six children, fighting fiercely for them and facing terrible struggles and tragedies. She is a fascinating character telling her story forthrightly. At times I loved her and at times I wanted to reach into the book and shake her, but she and her world were 100% real to me as I read the book.

But she isn't the only narrator, and this is where the book became really fascinating to me. Her husband, sons and daughters and eventually grandchild and great-grand child (as well as a few secondary characters) tell portions of the story through their eyes, adding perspective to the overall narrative and enlightening the reader on portions of the story that the other characters didn't directly observe. Each of the characters had a very distinctive voice and the shifts in tone and narration added dimensions to the story. Although the first half of the book is stronger with Lakshmi front and center, and loses some focus and steam once her grand daughter and great-grand daughter move to the forefront, events and themes ultimately come to a satisfying conclusion.

While the story can be at times quite harrowing and sad, it made for a great read and kept me completely engrossed in its world as I read. I look forward to other books by this author.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is the most addictive read i've encountered for a while. The reason it is spellbinding is Manicka's accurate potrayal of life in Malaya during the second world war. The details of a Ceylonese family's life in these times are surprisingly accurate. It makes me wonder how my own family lived through these times. Her description of the family members and details of family life is colourful and rings true. She writes of food like she has cooked them all.The disadvantages are that at times her writing style is stifling with repetitions and mixed metaphors. Also, I feel there isn't enough closure on each character. They are all so vividly developed at the beginning, then they all mysteriously get old and die or dissapear. Also what is with Nisha, how can anyone voluntarily remain amnesic for more then a decade- not knowing anything about her mother or her family?
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Format: Audio Cassette
This book took me on an extraordinary journey through the minds and hearts of several characters. The author's writing was so descriptive and imaginitive that I could feel the characters' pain and feel it deeply. As I was reading the novel, and even now after just finishing, I feel deeply connected to the characters, and I loved hearing "their story." As the voice of the story changes to different family members, we get to see things from different perspectives, and hear new apects of the situation. Through every story prevades a love so heartbreaking it can't possibly be returned.

There is much sadness in this book, yet I wouldn't say it was a sad book. It reflects the realities of happiness and tragedy within a family.

I bought this book randomly and was pleasantly suprised. I wanted the book to never end! I'm truly looking forward to Rani Manicka's second novel.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book when I was in Mallorca on my vacation, and I must say this was one of the best purchases in my life. This book is about one family's faith through the generations. How the choices in your life can affect the outcome of not just your destiny but even your loved ones.

While reading this book you become an unseen family member of the characters, you share their happiness, pain, disappointment and so on.

The book is extraordinarily well written with sophisticated vocabulary and leaves no one untouched.

I don't want to reveal too much of the story, you just need to read the Rice mother to be able to understand what a great book this is!

I strongly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
A member of my Book Club suggested this for our next book, so I figured I'd give it a try. Within the first few pages I was engrossed and hated to put my book down! I loved how the author used different "voices" for each chapter, enabling the reader to get different perspectives on events that happened to this family. I found myself having wishes and dreams for the characters as if they were my own children. I enjoyed this book so much I'm planning on reading it again before my book club meets. Also recommend: The Kite Runner
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Format: Hardcover
I was impressed with this book for several reasons. For one, for the amount of characters that we meet, it is surprisingly well organized. There was only a moment or two in which I was a bit lost but the subtle reminders in her writing style quickly brings me back into the main story. She maintained a decent cohesion in the book and the secrets of the story are revealed subtly and through different characters. The other reason I was impressed is that the complexity of the story has a good flow. It's not flawless - there's a bit of disjointedness in the story - but overall the story flows into each section. I thought it was a particularly good idea for the author to write the beginning of the book in one narrative. It establishes a lot of groundwork that, as the book and characters mature, builds on itself. Lastly, the mysticism in the story isn't out of place - she incorporates it skillfully in the story and it only adds to the plot.

Should this author write another novel available in english - I would definitely read it.
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