About the book
A wonderful novel in two parts, moving from the heart of a close-knit Indian household, with its restrictions and prejudices, its noisy warmth and sensual appreciation of food, to the cool centre of an American family, with its freedom and strangely self-denying attitudes to eating. In both it is ultimately the women who suffer, whether, paradoxically, from a surfeit of feasting and family life in India, or from self-denial and starvation in the US. Or both. Uma, the plain, older daughter still lives at home, frustrated in her attempts to escape and make a life for herself. Her Indian family is difficult, demanding but mostly, good-hearted. Despite her disappointments, Uma comes through as the survivor, avoiding an unfulfilling marriage, like her sister’s, or a suicidal one, like that arranged for her pretty cousin. And in America, where young Arun goes as a student, men in the suburbs char hunks of bleeding meat while the women don’t appear to cook or eat at all – seems bewildering and terrifying to the young Indian adolescent far from home…
Reviewed by SBWI Reading Group:
Although provoking discussion about the Eastern and Western lifestyles, this book was not generally liked. The division of the book seemed too abrupt and the narrative left too much unresolved. This subject has been dealt with by other modern Indian writers in a better way.
Star rating: **