There is no doubt this was a well-written book - Desai packs each sentence with deep thought and an elevated vocabulary. The characters are fleshed out and really come alive as you read. However, she covers the text with Indian words, some of which I've never seen; and given her sentence structure, it is impossible to pick up their contextual meaning. I lost a lot of delight in the book because of that.
A theme Desai touched on well here was injustice - is it right to hurt and steal from those whom you consider "too good" or "too bad" in the name of enforcing justice? One of the examples of this, near the end of the book, made me so angry I had to stop reading and come back to it. I was so worked up that my husband made me take a Clonazepam. I dare you to read the book and *not* feel that way.
If a book can evoke an emotional reaction from its reader, then it's worth the read. Stick through the first 50 pages, it gets better. Recommended for a patient reader who doesn't mind getting worked up.
Desai uses language beautifully to give the reader a vivid image of life for these characters in India. You can feel the dampness from rain, smell the mountain air, taste Cook's odd concoctions from her words. The beginning is slow and I, personally, was saddened by the ending, but it was still worth reading. If you have lived or traveled abroad, this may give you an opportunity to see your culture through the eyes of another. 2006 Booker Prize Winner. Recommended.
This book was a big disappointment. I read it on the basis of the Booker Prize and that it was set in the Himalayas. I think was expect lush writing.
The story was heavy and thick instead of beautiful and lush. Reading the book was very slow going. Instead of propelling the reader through the story, I felt like I just had to put in my time and get through it. There is very little joy or forward action in the book.
Some may enjoy it, but it was not my type of novel.
Glimpse into the life of some lonely characters set against the backdrop of the Himalayas and the seedy underbelly of New York City. The aching of the characters bleeds through the well-written text and you are transported.
The after effects of colonization, insecurities, identity crises.
Status, ever-changing depending on the beholder
Ignorance of culture, suppression of one's own culture,
Plenty to chew on in this book . With beautiful sentence construction the characters are well developed, the era well described etc
it is a pleasure to read a book that is well-written, with thought-out, more 'complex' sentences than many of the good books out there today. there are also many interesting themes - the perspective of well-to-do Indians within their country; an Indian immigrant in an America that doesn't live up to his hopes; a teenage girl trying to understand class differences within romance. there is no sugar-coating in this story. however, despite *wanting* to really love this book, i found i finished it only having an intellectual interest in it. i think that perhaps the characters, although interesting, were not developed well enough to feel connected to them. definitely worth reading for the themes of the story, but not, as others mentioned, for a fun, feel-good read.
Heartbreaking and sad, too realistic reminder that racism still exists, even in the most remote areas of the world. This book almost reads like poetry. It is almost a pity this is being made into a movie.
I enjoyed this book! I particularly like to read books that take place in different cultures and countries thrown in with some historical or political facts. The author did a good job of describing the environment and the characters.
I loved this book, which is an interesting treatment of the immigrant experience. You have a judge who left India and returned, people who left and were disappointed with what they found elsewhere and people who want nothing more than to leave. A fascinating exploration of a post-colonial society with well-developed, complex characters. Not a beach read, for sure, but a thoughtful and thought-provoking novel, well worth reading.
Beautifully written. I like reading books that incorporate different cultures, especially those I know little about (in this case India), and juxtapositions with America/Western thought. This fills the bill.
I had never heard of this book or author, but I saw an open book ring on Paperbackswap.com and decided to join. It was an interesting book, but not one I could say I actually enjoyed. The story took place in India which I know very little about. The book named all these places and political parties in India. I can't even keep up with American politics let alone Indian politics.
I did find this book educational. I learned about the way of life in India and a bit about the politics. This is the third book in row that used so many words in another language. When the topic is confusing enough having "foreign-to-me" words mixed in really throws me off.
The story is about an old retired judge who lives in a remote area in India. After his estranged daughter dies, he is left to take in his granddaughter who he has never met. They get along pretty well. There's a cook in the house who has worked for the judge for years. The cook's son was "lucky" enough to make it to America, but the son really struggles in America to keep a job and since he's now illegal, his employers treat him like crap because they know he has no other choice but try to live in America or go back to "horrible" India.
The granddaugther ends up falling in love with her tutor, but he's involved in some weird political thing and can't commit to her.
The son in America ends up coming home to India to be with his dad, because after much political upheaval in India, the son hasn't been able to stay in contact with his dad. The son is worried so goes back to India where father and son are reunited.
To be honest...I have no idea what the point of the book was. Maybe it was just to show ignorant American's like me how awful India can be...as if I didn't know that already. If it wasn't for the book ring I would have never read this book or even cared to read it. I didn't really get much from it. It was the winner of the Man Booker Award, which I had never even heard of. I thought that might mean it would be somewhat good, but I was wrong.
Hearing the Indian accents on the audio book made this story come alive. Very atmospheric. I highly recommend the audio version. It seemed so authentic, I felt I was right there in the room with the people being described. Remarkable insights into a fascinating series of culture overlaps and clashes.
In a remote province of India, an embittered retired judge raises his orphaned teenaged granddaughter; the son of their only remaining servant, their long-time cook, immigrates to New York; and a large cast of characters interact across two continents while the backdrop of political border clashes colors all normal activities.
Desai's second novel is set in the nineteen-eighties in the northeast corner of India, where the borders of several Himalayan statesâ"Bhutan and Sikkim, Nepal and Tibetâ"meet. At the head of the novel's teeming cast is Jemubhai Patel, a Cambridge-educated judge who has retired from serving a country he finds "too messy for justice." He lives in an isolated house with his cook, his orphaned seventeen-year-old granddaughter, and a red setter, whose company Jemubhai prefers to that of human beings. The tranquillity of his existence is contrasted with the life of the cook's son, working in grimy Manhattan restaurants, and with his granddaughter's affair with a Nepali tutor involved in an insurgency that irrevocably alters Jemubhai's life. Briskly paced and sumptuously written, the novel ponders questions of nationhood, modernity, and class, in ways both moving and revelatory
Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2006.This takes place in an isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in Himalyas. It is the story of an embittered judge who wants to retire in peace and his granddaughter. The judge's cook watches over the granddaughter. The cook's son is the center of the cook's attention. The characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consquences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world.