Sunday, August 02, 2009
Henna Rub is a precocious teenager whose wheeler-dealer father never misses a business opportunity and whose sumptuous Calcutta marriage to wealthy romantic Ricky-Rashid Karim is achieved by an audacious network of lies. Ricky will learn the truth about his seductive bride, but the way is already paved for a future of double lives and deception--family traits that will filter naturally through the generations, forming an instinctive and unspoken tradition. Even as a child, their daughter Shona, herself conceived on a lie and born in a liar's house, finds telling fibs as easy as ABC. But years later, living above a sweatshop in South London's Tooting Bec, it is Shona who is forced to discover unspeakable truths about her loved ones and come to terms with what superficially holds her family together--and also keeps them apart--across geographical, emotional and cultural distance. Roopa Farooki has crafted an intelligent, engrossing and emotionally powerful Indian family saga that will stay with you long after you've read the last page.
This is way more than just Henna, Ricky and Shona’s stories. In fact, Henna drops out early on and doesn’t fully return until later in the book. Primarily, this book is about Shona…the lies that built her family, and the lies that tear her family apart.
As a young bride, Shona moves to London. Over the years, her and her beloved husband build a successful business and Shona returns to school to get a Master’s degree. However, this couple that started out so in love gradually drift apart as they grow into separate interests and separate lives. As the marriage starts to unravel, their twin sons grow up and discover their own interests and loves.
I loved all of the different stories in this book, how the author focused on different members of the family at different times, yet still managed to keep them all tied together. She also does a good job of stringing the reader along…I didn’t want to put this one down because I wanted to know what was about to happen…to everyone! Although some might argue that the end might have been a bit too neatly tied up, it still worked for me. Besides, there’s still a little bit of wondering going on at the end.