- Fizzy Thoughts: Bitter Sweets

Bitter Sweets

Sunday, August 02, 2009

bitter sweets
Bitter Sweets
Roopa Farooki
September 2008
355 pages

Publisher’s Comments:
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.

7 comment(s):

Beth F said...

Hmmm. You have definitely gotten my attention. This sounds like a book I would like.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Sounds interesting - never heard of it - but very intriguing review!

Melissa said...

Sold! It's on my list. Sounds fascinating.

bermudaonion said...

I don't mind neatly tied up endings at all, so this sounds good to me.

Louise said...

You really know how to write some great reviews, and even though I have never really been interested in the whole India-UK literary thing, this sounds like a real good read. Thanks.

ANovelMenagerie said...

I love the cover of this one... and, I'm intrigued by your review.

Veens said...

I have had this in my wish-list for a long time. But now I am sure, I will buy it nxt time I have a chance!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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