Be patient with me people!! I’ve been so busy lately that almost no reading is getting done. It’s tragic, not least of all because this is supposed to be my Free Range Reading time.
Officially, No Country by Kalyan Ray is my second book for Free Range Reading, and yes, I agree, that is pathetic seeing as Free Range Reading started at the beginning of November. That being said, No Country is a behemoth of a book and not at all what I expected.
No Country is truly epic, spanning two centuries and three continents. If I had read the cover copy, this would not have come as a shock. Ray magically intertwines the histories of Ireland and both pre and post partition India together in this remarkable tale. There is death and dying, love and loss, murder and mayhem. No Country is a sprawling multi-generational saga in every sense of the phrase.
And that’s great if your like that sort of thing, but I don’t. There was a time when I would have loved this novel. I would have been thrilled by the scope of it. I would have relished in all the historical detail. But for some reason, that sort of novel no longer appeals to me in quite the same way. So I can say No Country was good, but for me it did not go the distance.
Who would like this book? Remember back when all South Asian novels were sprawling family sagas? Well, No Country fits into that category, but with one very important twist – it shows how mobile and interconnected the world has been for years, much before the dawn of the digital age. In spite of that, it still reminded me at times of Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh for its sea faring aspects. And I’m sure the portions set during the Irish Potato Famine would remind me of something, but I’ve never read anything set in that period before. But I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy meaty historical fiction with an ample dash of serendipity.
This is one of my favorite books this year, but these books are TOTALLY my thing. Like you said, I loved that it wasn’t just focused in one country, but showed the connections that immigrants made as they moved throughout the world. Sorry it wasn’t what you were looking for, I could have warned you 😉
Actually, it was your review that made me want to read it. The beginning, set in New York, totally sucked me in. And then we went back to the Irish famine and then sea voyages. Those are two of my no-go zones. It was a good book, just not the book for me.
I’m not usually drawn to family sagas or many of the South Asian doorsteps, A Fine Balance being an honourable exception, but this sounds intriguing – India, Ireland and beginning in New York. I’m going to have to investigate!
It is a very worthwhile read and has unbelievable scope. It really shows how interconnected the world has been for the last 200 years, not just in the internet age.
Sorry this didn’t quite do it for you, but I think it sounds great!
I don’t often read the big sprawling epics, but sometimes I am in the mood for one. I will keep this one in mind! Leading up to the holidays is a slow reading time for me, too. There are a lot of other things to think about.
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