Tag Archives: Thrity Umrigar

WWW Wednesday, 19-September-2018

19 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Breaking News! I got my hold on Bel Canto by Ann Patchett back! The timing could not be better and I’m ecstatic to get back to reading this book.
I’ve made great progress on The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri during runs. I expect this one two be wrapped up next week. It’s turned into one I’m really enjoying and reminds me what I loved about my previous Lahiri read.
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl is moving forward well and I’m enjoying the mystery now. It seems like a complete dead end but what better time for something ridiculous to happen!
The plot of A Column of Fire by Ken Follett is building fast and I’m excited to see what ends up happening with these characters. Follett is living up to my expectations so far and I know he will continue to amaze me.

Recently finished: I wrapped up The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar during my lunch last week. It perfectly took me the 30 minutes I allow myself to finish. I felt it ended a bit quick, but if it had kept going, it would have been twice as long. I understand why Umrigar ended it when she did but I wish I knew what happened to these ladies I’ve grown so close to. I wrote up a review and posted it yesterday. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I still plan to pick up The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert next. It’s a short one and I have the audiobook on hold. Maybe I’ll get lucky and have that to follow The Lowland.
I got suckered into another book club. I don’t think I’ll join this one every quarterly meeting, but their next book is one I’ve had on my list and needed a kick in the pants to get to. I’ll be reading Artemis by Andy Weir. After how much I loved The Martian, I have unrealistically high expectations. Let’s see if I’m let down.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar (4/5)

18 Sep

I read Umrigar’s memoir for my book club and followed that up with the oft-recommended The Space Between Us. When I found another Umrigar book on clearance at B&N, it was an easy decision for me to snatch it up.

Cover image via Goodreads

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

Other books by Umrigar reviewed on this blog:

The Space Between Us

Summary from the author’s website:

As university students in late 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and fought for a better world. But over the past thirty years, the quartet has drifted apart, the day-to-day demands of work and family tempering the revolutionary fervor they once shared.

Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is gravely ill and wants to see the old friends she left behind. For Laleh, reunion is a bittersweet reminder of unfulfilled dreams and unspoken guilt. For Kavita, it is an admission of forbidden passion. For Nishta, it is the promise of freedom from a bitter, fundamentalist husband. And for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms.

I love Umrigar’s depiction of modern India. I’m not sure how true it is, but I love it. There’s a unique blend of old and new, combining modern and traditional culture that I find really well done and really engaging. The four women in this book represent completely different people. They were bound together once by ideology and their commitment to a cause. Life took them in completely different directions and ripped two of them away but the world has a way of bringing people back together as it’s done in this novel. The husbands and children take a back seat to the main women and they have a good lesson about how female friendships, true friendships, stand the test of time.

The characters felt very real to me. I have my 10-year high school reunion coming up and I think about how different my life is from those of my high school friends, even this short while later. I can’t imagine how different they will be when I’m the age of these women. I thought the paths they’d gone down and the lives they led were logical conclusions from their college days and each of them was very unique and fleshed out.

Thrity Umrigar
Image via Goodreads

Kavita was my favorite character. She was most like me in many ways. She was passionate about her career and loved it, she had found someone who was special to her, and she was still close to her family. Laleh was too reactionary for me to relate to well. I’ve never had a life-threatening illness like Armaiti or been close to someone living through one so she wasn’t a character I connected with, either. Nishta’s situation was very unique and engaging to follow, but it was so different from myself that it was hard to see through her eyes.

I thought Adish was easy to relate to as well. He liked to fix things and I think that’s very much how I am at times. I hate when someone is upset or mad or fighting and I want to fix it. I don’t have the same financial pull that Adish had or the optimism he had that everything will work out.

Nishta’s idea of freedom dominated this book for me. At a young age, it was the freedom to follow the man she loved and defying her parents to do that. As she got older, it was freedom from the religion her husband pushed onto her. She didn’t agree with the man he’d become and felt distanced from him. As such, she felt trapped and wanted to be free from his control. While Iqbal once meant freedom, later escaping him did. Realizing that this had changed took her a while but seeing her come around to find that the world was different (thus the title!) was beautifully done.

Writer’s Takeaway: I applaud Umrigar for taking four women who were once inseparable and probably indistinguishable from the outside and turning them into four very different and unique women. Sometimes with large groups as the main focus, characters can run together but Umrigar’s never did.

I enjoyed this book a lot and I’m glad I grabbed it from the clearance shelf! Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book View: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar | The Blog of Litwits
Book Review: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar | Of Books and Reading
The World We Found | Necromancy Never Pays

WWW Wednesday, 12-September-2018

12 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve got to be close to getting Bel Canto by Ann Patchett back! I’m determined that it will line up perfectly with me finishing The World We Found. Determined.
I’m getting really close to finishing The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar and it’s getting really good! I’m running out of warm days to eat outside and read it but I’m still able to enjoy it at lunch. Fingers crossed I wrap this one up soon!
I’ll be running a lot more and focusing on The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s really enjoyable and I’ve gotten past the highly political section and it’s reminding me more of the other Lahiri book I read and adored.
I’ve gotten deeper into The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl and am starting to enjoy it. The style isn’t my favorite, but I’m liking the plot a bit more as it picks up. I’m hoping I can move forward with this one and I don’t need to put it aside for my next book club pick.
I’m still early on with A Column of Fire by Ken Follett and it already feels very different from the first two in this series. Those focused almost exclusively on the town of Kingsbridge but this one is weaving in the royalty of the time in Paris. It’s very different and I’m curious to see how it all comes together.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished this week. I was able to post my review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas yesterday so go check that out if you get a chance. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: My book club’s next pick is The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert. I’m not sure if I’ll do this one as audio or physical yet, TBD based on how finishing my other books is going. I might burn it to a playlist on my phone. It’s either that or putting aside Poe and I’m not sure I want to do that.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 5-September-2018

5 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m still impatiently waiting for Bel Canto by Ann Patchett to come back to me. I’ll have to make a tough call about abandoning my current read for it, but I think it would be worth it. Right?
In the meantime, I’ll try to finish The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar so it won’t be abandoned. It’s a wonderful book but I’ve been enjoying these last warm days by eating outside when I can which means visiting with friends. It’s hard to think of it as a bad thing.
I’ve made some good progress with The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and I’m enjoying it a lot more now. I’m going to be more focused on running in the coming months as I prepare for a fall half marathon so I should start to work through this one quickly soon.
I’m still early in The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl and it hasn’t quite grabbed me yet. I think it will pick up soon given how the last chapter went but I’m not completely invested just yet.
I started a new audiobook for my car that will stay on this list for quite a while. I decided to pick A Column of Fire by Ken Follett to fulfill the 1500s time period of my When Are You Reading? Challenge. It’s a long one, about 30 hours of audio. I think this will take me well over a month to finish. And that’s if I’m lucky!

Recently finished: I absolutely loved The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. The audiobook was amazingly narrated and the book itself was well written and thought-provoking. I can’t wait to discuss it with my book club. I’m giving this a full Five out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: No plans again this week. I’m not close to finishing any of my current books and I don’t have any book club picks pressing at this time so I’m going to enjoy not knowing what’s going on.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 29-August-2018

29 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I found out that Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is being turned into a movie soon and now I’m even more eager to finish it up. I hope I get the ebook back soon!
I’ve been making a point of moving forward with The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar so I’ll be done when I get my hold on Bel Canto back. I’m enjoying it a lot and I look forward to seeing where Umrigar goes with these characters.
I find myself making up excuses to drive so I can listen to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I love this book. These characters remind me of myself as a teenager and talk about a lot of fears and concerns I have about racial relations in the US. I’m glad this book is getting so much attention, it’s very deserved.
I’m enjoying The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri but it’s not what I expected. The last novel I read by her was focused on familial relationships and traditions and this one seems very political so far. I think that will lessen a bit, but the beginning had a very political feel to it. We’ll see how this one goes.
I followed my plans and picked up The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl from my shelf. This one has mixed reviews but I’m being optimistic and I’m excited to cross off the 1800s from my reading challenge list.

Recently finished: I finished Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger on Thursday and I absolutely loved it! My review went up Monday, the same day my book club met to discuss the book. Look out for a few more posts about this one and know it comes with a strong recommendation!

Reading Next: No plans at this time. I’m in the middle of a lot of these books. I think I’ll need an audiobook next in my car. I created a list of books that will get me through the rest of my reading challenge but I haven’t decided which of them to start next.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-August-2018

22 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Nothing with Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I hope I can get this back soon!
I’m making decent progress in The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar considering it’s an ebook and I move through those so slowly. I bet it’s still another month before I finish, though.
I’m in love with Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. I honestly thought I might have it finished but I’ll say next week now. I might even finish it today!
I adore The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book is so powerful but so approachable and it’s really making me think. It will be great for our book club discussion and I’m excited to see how the movie adaptation comes out.
I’ve moved surprisingly slowly through The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I haven’t run as much as I normally do and I’m not cooking as much as I’d like, both of which could explain it. I hope to make some more progress soon because I think it’s about to get interesting.

Recently finished: Nothing new. I saw this coming but it’s always hard not to finish something. I did manage to post my review of Dreams of Joy by Lisa See on Monday.  Please stop by and take a look when you can.

Reading Next: I made some plans for finishing up my challenge this year so I think my next book will be The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl. This will give me my 1800s time period and move me one step closer to finishing!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 15-August-2018

15 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Still on hold with Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I’ll have to see about finding this in another format so I can wrap it up soon.
I’ve made slight progress in The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar. I’m reading it slowly during lunches but while the weather is nice, I’m eating outside with my mom a few times a week which takes away at my reading time. I’m enjoying the story and I hope to get back into it soon.
I was able to start Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger and I’m loving it so far. The writing is lyrical and fun and I’m very interested in the focus family!
I’m so fortunate that I’m the first person at the library to get the audiobook copy of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and it was recently picked as my book club selection for September and I’m beyond excited to start reading it.
I started a new book on my phone and this time around it’s The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I read another of Lahiri’s novels a few years ago and adored it so I’m excited to see what else she’s got!

Recently finished: I finished The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan on Thursday. I’m really excited to have finished another book, especially one I was working on for a while. I enjoyed this in both audio and print forms so that I could keep it up while on vacation. My review went up yesterday. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and I’ll be reviewing the movie tomorrow!
I wrapped up Dreams of Joy by Lisa See on Monday. I’ll tell you a secret. I usually write these the Sunday before just to make sure I have it scheduled and I’m usually 99% correct. This week, I was so far off that I had to re-write this Monday night! It changed so fast. I didn’t think I’d finish this one but I powered through because the end was so good. I’ll have a review up next week. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

My review for The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver went up on Thursday. This was a big winner for me and I gave it Four out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan on Monday. Many of you saw this on my list for weeks and weeks but it’s thankfully wrapped up and I’m so excited to have moved on! I gave the book Two out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’ve just started so many books that I’m really not sure. I think it will be a physical book and I’m leaning toward starting something to help me finish my historical fiction challenge. I’m getting a bit anxious about finishing that. I have the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s to go. I’ve got to start some planning!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 8-August-2018

8 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m still making my way through Dreams of Joy by Lisa See and I’m hoping I’ll have it finished by next week. I need to start running more which means more time to enjoy this book!
I decided to take The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan with me on vacation and read a paper copy before bed at night. I didn’t quite finish it but it’s my main focus now in print. I think this will easily be finished next week.
I started Bel Canto by Ann Patchett as an ebook while I was on vacation but the hold came due and I stopped about halfway through. I’m anxious to pick it up again but I’ll probably wait until the ebook is available rather than find it in another format.
When I lost Bel Canto, I picked up The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar. I’m not far into it at all but I’m hoping to make some steady progress. I’m not sure when, though. My ebook reading will likely drop off now that I’m back from vacation.

Recently finished: I finished two! First was The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver which I finished while I was in Spain. I really loved this one and enjoyed the plot structure more than I anticipated. It was a great one to pick up when I was traveling and I’m looking forward to writing a review to post tomorrow. I’m giving it Four out of Five Stars.
I finally finished The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan! I got home from vacation and decided to plop myself in the armchair until it was finished. It’s one I’m glad I’ve read but that I’ll never touch or be tempted by again. I’ll have a full review for next week but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I gave the book Two out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: My book club is meeting at the end of the month so I’ll next pick up Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. I don’t know anything about this one but grabbed a used copy at a fundraiser. We’ll see how it goes!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 22 – END

4 Dec

Read Along 2

Here is the final installment of my Second Read Along! I’m sad it’s over, but I’ve really enjoyed the ride. The book this time was ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which was very different from our last choice, but a great book for discussion. You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. I hope to have a new one start in January so keep on eye here if you think this is something you’d like to do in the future. Here we go!

Question from AshleeIn chapter 24, Sera comments that women live for so much more than themselves and men can take more risks because they always have suicide as an option. This comment caught me off guard. How did you ladies take this?

I didn’t like this comment and at the same time understood it. Women are hardwired to be caretakers; we want to help stray puppies and play with orphans. These feelings are only magnified for our families, especially children. Women live for their children and while many men do as well, it’s not as natural for some of them. I think Sera’s point is that a man is more likely to see suicide as an option because he doesn’t see as much duty to those around him whereas a woman wouldn’t consider it because she would be scared of what would happen to her family if she weren’t around.

 

Question from Claudia“Will Serabai ever be able to forget those words, to bury them under the protective layers of forgetfulness and denial?” More secrets! I cannot help but wonder what Sera will do now that she has discovered the truth behind Viraf’s cruel undertaking on Maya. What do you think is the “right” thing to do? As a mother, friend, sister, daughter, would you open up about the truth on something as unsettling as this?

I’m still wondering if Sera believed Bhima’s story about Viraf. I’d like to think she completely believed her and knows that her son-in-law is a sorry excuse for a man. I’d like to think she knows Bhima better than anyone else and knows that she’d never lie or steal. However, I’m afraid that she’s been conditioned by those around her to distrust her friendship. her neighbors and friends have been telling her that she can’t trust Bhima because, in the end, she can turn on Sera, stealing and killing if she needs to. I think it’s easier for Sera to believe Viraf. It fits in more with her friend’s ideal and keeps her family together. By simply rejecting the words of her servant, she doesn’t disgrace her son-in-law and saves her daughter from loads of pain. I think this will always haunt Sera but it’s something she’ll have to live with.

 

What a wonderful book! I won’t write a full summary of it because I think it’s been discussed enough here, but I’m so glad I got to read this title with these two wonderful ladies. I’ll be announcing the next read-along after my semester ends next week. I’m not really able to think of anything else until then.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 17-21

20 Nov

Read Along 2

The fifth installment of my second Read Along With Me book club. The book this time is ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which is absolutely amazing so far. We stopped at a total cliffhanger! You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. We’re almost done with this book but I hope to have a new one start in January so keep on eye here if you think this is something you’d like to do in the future. Here we go!

Question from AshleeI had a suspicion that things would go sour for Viraf and Dinaz simply because no one has a happy marriage in this novel. Do you think this is Umrigar’s personal beef with the idea of marriage? How she views Indian marriages? Or just the stuff that good heartbreaking novels are made of?

I just spent twenty minutes searching for any comment in interviews or factoid about Umrigar and a marriage or relationship or a deliberate addition to failed marriages in this book. All I found is that infidelity and broken marriages are a part of a lot of her books but nothing about her personal life. When I heard her speak last year, it wasn’t brought up. I remember her mentioning that her parents had a strained relationship in her memoir, First Darling of the Morning which I read before meeting her. I’m not sure if there’s something in her past that’s left a bad taste of marriages in her mouth, but reading the book it would seem there might be. I’m not sure if it’s a comment in Indian courtship customs or a lifestyle that’s destructive to loving relationships or a comment on previously arranged marriages or none of the above. I think it could easily not be about marriage in the Indian culture at all and more about how Umrigar feels. Though I do think that Ashlee has a point about broken marriages being the spark to a good novel. Bhima and Sera both share in a broken marriage and Dinaz and Maya are pregnant by the same man. It draws great parallels. I only wish one of the marriages featuring prominently in the book could have been positive! A good friend of mine at work was born in India and was part of an arranged marriage. A friend of my parents in college went home to India for the summer and came back with a wife. I went to high school with their children and they’re still happily together. My experience with marriages in the Indian culture has been completely different from how Umrigar describes the relationships in this book.

The closest thing I found to a comment on marriage was from this interview on Umrigar’s website (the 4th question). She comments on how difficult communication is and I think we can see that a break in communication could be blamed for some (but not all) of the marriage problems in her book.

 

Question from ClaudiaThe one part of this section that left a memorable aftertaste was Bhima’s and Gopal’s back story; in fact, I was completely engrossed. Having said that however, I was completely take back by bar scene with Bhima’s response in light of Gopal’s abuse of alcohol! I mean, in a sense I was 100% supporting her rage and outburst, but then I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t think she would have the nerve to explode the way she did. With that in mind, do you think that Gopal’s decision would have differed if things did not play out the way they did? Do you feel that Gopal’s decision is justified? 

I’d been anxious to get to this part because I wanted to see how a relationship that seemed so strong and loving could turn sour and literally tear a family in two. Reading it broke my heart as well. However I don’t think I was as appalled by Bhima’s behavior in the bar as you, Claudia. I was rooting her on and I was proud of her for finding her inner strength because it seemed like she never would. I’d been hoping for it since Gopal started turning bitter after his accident.

I think Gopal and Bhima’s relationship was heading toward destruction before she exploded at him in the bar. I think her reaction only speed up the inevitable. His dependence on alcohol had severed his relationship with his family and what Bhima did was only an impotence for him to formally end it all. He might have left her later or under different circumstances or he might have drunk himself to death, but I think the chances of them growing old together were gone. I don’t think he was justified to leave her because of her behavior in the bar, but I understand why it pushed him.

He’d separated himself from his family and his friends from the bar were his new family and he was ashamed in front of them. He’d already lost his wife and children, losing his friends was too much.

 

Ashlee chose the musing topic for us this week and here’s her selection:

Discuss the secrets that are being kept in this novel. All of the main characters, just like all of us in the world, are carrying secrets around with them. Some secrets are to protect others (Sera hoping to protect her daughter by keeping the violence a secret) and some are to protect themselves (Viraf – you jerk!).

Oh the power of secrets. They’ve made quite the impact on this little book. I want to take this in a slightly different direction than what Ashlee proposed though. It’s easy to find secrets between any number of the characters; Dinaz and Viraf, Maya and Bhima, Sera and Dinaz, etc. But I can’t think of a single secret between Sera and Bhima. Bhima knows about the abuse that Sera suffered and Sera knows about Gopal’s difficulty finding work after his accident as well as the circumstances of Pooja’s death. These two women are very open with each other. They keep secrets from others and for others, but ‘the space between’ them is clear of secrets. I think that’s a kind of cool way to look at such destructive forces.

 

 

There’s only one more installment of this book! I read it already and wow, are we going to have a great discussion on the last bit. Be sure to tune in for that one and keep your eyes peeled for the next Read Along, which will begin after the holidays.

Until next time, write on.

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