Showing posts with label Women's fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women's fiction. Show all posts
March 17, 2013

A Multicultural Romance in the Making - A Review



Love Comes Later -  Mohanlakshmi Rajkumar
Publishers - Amazon
Genre - Contemporary - romance - realistic fiction - women's fiction
Novel - Ebook - 262  Pages
Price: Price $ 0.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store

Blurb:

Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love. 

A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.



A contemporary romance with elements of realistic fiction. The story has a strong Qatari flavour blended with South Asian and offers a tantalising view of student life in London as a bonus.
A refreshing tale of love and friendship that overcomes cultural, religious and racial barriers. It starts out in the plush interiors of an affluent family in oil money endowed Qatar, seeking the remarriage of a widowed, still grieving son Abdulla who wants anything but that. The culture is primarily seen from the eyes of Abdulla and Hind, and later on through Sangita - Hind's Indian American room-mate and friend. It's their reluctance to follow traditions, and Hind's impulsive demonstration of independence and adventure that sets off Abdulla's and Sangita's worlds into a collision course of first, tentative friendship and later on love.

The characters and the situations have been created skilfully and their interaction comes off as real as possible. The author has tried hard to give an accurate picture of Qatari life and attitudes, specially towards South Asians who form the blue collar workforce without sounding preachy or condescending.

Abdulla, a strong character, comes across as inflexible a couple of times but redeems himself as a modern, religious Muslim. I really enjoyed his opening up to the world around, specially to Sangita and his adopted sister Luluwa.
 Hind - a tad selfish and Sangita are well etched, and I found myself amused when the Indian girl who advises her friend to play safe goes on her own adventure, risking everything.
The secondary characters of Luluwa and Hind's sister Noor, often two extremes were ones I found interesting. While I loved Sangita's brother - idealistic but lovable character Ravi, it was Grandfather Jassim and Hind's father - uncle Saod who were a revelation in sharp contrast to the other elders in the family.

Now for the nit picking -
In my opinion, Abdulla and Sangita's romance did not have the time to develop enough for her to burn all the bridges...it kind of ends up as an arranged marriage. But, then, they didn't fall in love at first sight and the author, to my delight, refrained from gushing descriptions of the protagonists beauty. A plus.
The Indians in the book, Sangita's parents came close to being caricatures.

The timeline was a bit confusing in some places.  A couple of dialogues were responses to an original action or comment that had been edited out. A revision if possible would enhance the book.

All in all, it was a pleasurable read and one of few romances I have truly enjoyed reading lately.
The book is well written, flows smoothly and the use of Arabic words in the story and the end notes are a nice addition.

I recommend this book to romance lovers, to those who enjoy realistic fiction set in the Asian and Arab world with ethnic characters, to generally anyone looking for a good book to immerse in.

I give this a 4 rating for simply being a good old fashioned romance story and a multicultural book.

Personal Disclaimer: This book was received for the purpose of review, hence the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the blog review forum.
September 14, 2012

Magic Realism And Three Women - A Review

Fractured LegendFractured Legends -  Kranthi Askani
Publishers - APK Publisher
Genre - Speculative fiction - Contemporary fantasy - magic realism - women's fiction
Novel - Paperback - 200  Pages
Price: Rs 192
Available at Flipkart.com/Indiaplaza.com  (India)

Blurb:
We are like the moths that follow invisible spiral loops to go round and round a flickering flame before jumping into the center leaving in their wake, a glowing red sore in the eye of the flame,” says the narrator, a temple slave. Priyambada makes up her mind to leave the temple where she melt into flesh at night and froze into statue by the morning. She renounces her immortal chalices, the temple facades, for a mortal life, for a life in flesh... But the tangles of life in flesh – marriage and bearing children – thrust her into a world of tribulations that cast her off into the past, sealed past, frozen past...
Nandhini, a professional assassin, is plagued by an assignment to retrieve a mysterious manuscript that is smeared with a rope of blood across its pages. She finds herself in the midst of a complex game of deceit and rivalry between two factions... Pravalli is drafting a very long letter to her mother. She is grieving, glowering, repenting, atoning....
Fractured Legend is the story of these three women who are sailing away from their turbulent pasts, the denouement puzzlingly curling them all together into one tight ribbon of hope...

This narrative follows the lives of three women - Priyambada who as a temple slave is immortal, but forgoes it for a human life and goes through the cycle of marriage & childbirth. Though she can't make a clear break from her past; she is happy in her new life. Nandhini is a trained assassin eliminating people for a price. She is entrapped by a close relative to kill someone related to her job, and for the first time in her life wonders at the futility of it all. Pravalli, on the other hand, is estranged from her mother Priyamvada over the secrets of the past, and is writing a letter of forgiveness and trying to come in terms with her mother's behaviour. The story progresses through the eyes, actions and reactions of the three female protagonists.

I liked the use of magic realism to get the tale across. That the book is based on a female perspective focusing on the trials and tribulations of Indian women (some of these aspects have universal connotation) makes it interesting enough to plow through the slow first 1/3 of the book.

The author had tried to portray the heroines (each of them is one in their own right) in a humane, understanding and empathic manner. He has attempted to infuse a vintage feel to the grey of contemporary realities. The concept is intriguing enough, and comes as breath of fresh air among all the college romances and chick-lits floating on the Indian book scene. It shows a side of India, applicable to many regions of the world, where women are struggling to assert themselves, while being bound to often well meaning but grossly misused traditions and customs.


 If you can leave aside all rational expectations of the world we inhabit, the book has the ability to move you with the sadness, pain and loneliness of the three women. The secondary characters, especially the husband - Priyamvada’s and son - Nandhini’s stand out, though their presence in the book is limited. The women move back and forth through their memories, dream a lot and often traverse between the real and surreal world. The author has left us with an open ended story, maybe a sequel is in line. 

 On the flip side, the author uses a dry narrative style of storytelling throughout the novel. The lack of dialogues makes it a very distracting read. For someone used to books, even long winded classic ones, with flowing conversations, this can be a difficult book to attempt and read through. The sentence structure  is awkward, and the overuse of adjectives and adverbs could have been avoided.

I am not sure I could recommend this book to a reader in its current version despite descriptive and detailed analysis of the lives of contemporary women and use of magic realism. A major review of the language usage and a rewrite would do wonders for this book. 

I would give this book a 3/5 rating basically for the debut effort, for attempting a book without the prejudices of the male point of view and for choosing a difficult women's related story.

Personal Disclaimer: This book was recieved for the purpose of review, hence the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the blog review forum.
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