I know what you’re thinking … where have i been? Well, that’s another story (hint: Canary Islands), but I’m back with a bundle full of reviews to write. First up – A House Called Askival by Merryn Glover. It’s published by a small Scottish press, so you may not have heard of it, but it is well worth searching for it.
The story in a nutshell: Ruth returns to the North Indian hill station of Mussoorie after a long absence to care for her ailing father. Here she encounters the ghosts she left behind almost 24 years ago. The story covers great coming of age tragedies as well as the tragedies of Partition.
I was initially drawn to this book simply because I’ve spent considerable time in Mussoorie. Glover brought back sights and sounds of this hill station that I would have otherwise forgotten. But A House Called Askival was far more than a walk down memory lane. It is one of the first novel to tell me a different story of the violence following the creation of Pakistan and India. Just as heartbreaking as everything else I’ve read, Askival is different because it takes place not in the metropolis of Delhi or Bombay, not in Amritsar or other places in the torn apart Punjab, but in a sleepy mountain town for holiday makers.
Who would like this book? If you like a teenage tragedy set at a boarding school, and really, who doesn’t, then this book has what you’re craving. If you like world events tied into an individual’s reckoning with the past, check – Askival has you covered. Simply put, I really liked this book and not just because it took me on a walk down memory lane. That was just the icing on the cake.