Tag Archives: Indian authors

Book review: Beneath an Indian Sky

Renita D’SilvaWomen’s ambition, women’s capability to lie and manipulate, and women’s ability to love, cherish and recover. Beneath an Indian Sky by Renita D’Silva is the cautionary tale of Sita and Mary and how their lives, from childhood to old age, are entwined in India. It is a symmetrical story, but the permutations of its angles and consequences are not clear until the end. Be patient, relax into the story, because the ending is worth it.

1925, India. Sita’s parents despair of her acting like a girl so, to encourage more restrained behavior, they arrange for her to become friends with Mary. Mary’s parents encourage individuality, freedom and learning, but Mary secretly envies the rules and ordered life of Sita’s home. And so the two girls become friends. Until in 1926 something happens which splits them apart.

This is a tale of opposites; two little girls who, despite being different, become friends. What happens when they grow up turns into a darker more difficult story about friendship, honesty, betrayal, loss, anguish and regret. Renita D’Silva takes you to another world, India pre- and post-partition, with all its scents, colours, flavours, wealth and poverty. She is a magical writer of the setting into which she lays an emotional story of the twists and turns of women’s treachery and ability to heal.

The girls are born into an India where women must defer to their husbands and sons, where endless wealth and dirt-grovelling poverty exist side-by-side; where women do not always support each other and mistakes are not forgotten. Behind the story is a ‘be careful what you wish for’ moral that applies to both girls. Intertwined with their story is the modern one of Priya, a documentary film-maker, who lives in London and is unable to have a child.

I really enjoyed this book, read quickly over a weekend. Be warned, secrets have a way of being found out.

Here’s my review of A Mother’s Secret, also by Renita D’Silva.

If you like this, try:-
‘White Chrysanthemum’ by Mary Lynn Bracht
‘The Tea Planter’s Wife’ by Dinah Jeffries
‘A Life Between Us’ by Louise Walters

‘Beneath an Indian Sky’ by Renita D’Silva [UK: Bookouture]

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Great Opening Paragraph 39… ‘The God of Small Things’ #amwriting #FirstPara

Arundhati Roy“May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.”
‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy

Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:-
‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn
‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy
‘American Psycho’ by Brett Easton Ellis

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS by Arundhati Roy #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-n7 via @SandraDanby

Book Review: The Lost Girl

Sangu MandannaI admit to never having heard of this book by Sangu Mandanna until seeing it mentioned in ‘favourite read’ lists on a few blogs. I ordered it purely on that basis and had no idea it was a YA novel. It is a romantic story of love and loss, grief and identity, set in the UK and India, with sinister echoes of Frankenstein.

Eva is an ‘echo’, a non-human ‘woven’ by a mysterious organization called The Loom which makes copies of real people for their family in case the loved one should die. The idea is that the ‘echo’ slips into the dead person’s shoes so minimising the family’s loss. Of course it is not that simple. Mandanna handles a difficult subject well, not avoiding the awkward moral issues which litter the dystopian story premise. The world is disturbingly almost normal, littered with everyday familiar references. Eva, who lives in the Lake District, is the echo for Amarra from Bangalore. I found it quite an emotional read, not just Eva’s situation but her guardians, her familiars, and Amarra’s friends in India. What seems a simple premise at the beginning, done with the best intentions, becomes increasingly dark as the story develops and the true horror of Eva’s situation is explained.

If you like this, try:-
‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ by Katherine Arden
‘The Magicians’ by Lev Grossman
‘The Queen of the Tearling’ by Erika Johansen

‘The Lost Girl’ by Sangu Mandanna [UK: Definitions]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE LOST GIRL by @SanguMandanna #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-so