The Way Things Were by Aatish Taseer

The Way Things WereI’ve been putting off reading The Way Things Were by Aatish Taseer for a while because I was pretty sure I was going to love it and i did. It’s about a family of Sanskritists during the tumult of 1970s to present day India. That description hardly does the novel justice. It is, in fact, an epic exploration of the family, memory, trauma and how the past exists in the present. Continue reading

The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal

The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera SyalI have so many thoughts and feelings about The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal that it is hard to know where to begin. First, I’ll say that I really enjoyed this novel, more than I expected to. It is a triumph that tackles so many different issues faced by women in today’s world. As always, Syal writes with humour and grace that never belittles the experiences of her characters. Continue reading

The Case of the Love Commandos – A Vish Puri Mystery by Tarquin Hall

love-commandosI get very excited every time a new Vish Puri mystery comes out. To me, a mystery does not get better than this. Vish Puri is an amusing character who is set to task with the Delhi’s most probing mysteries. Encounters with his family, friends and operatives add a delicious spice to the already full bodied curries that are his mysteries. That being said, it should be kept in mind that these are not hard core mysteries, but rather tales that are humorous, character driven and give a good sense of place.

In The Case of the Love Commandos, author Tarquin Hall takes Puri a little further a field than Delhi. This time the mystery unravels in Agra, in the shadow of the Taj Mahal and Lucknow. In spite of the fact that I have a soft spot in my heart for Delhi, the change of location does not diminish the tale in the least. As in all the Vish Puri mysteries, Hall has precisely transcribed the food and language of place onto the page, making you feel as though you are there. In particular, Tarquin’s use of Indian English is priceless. He gets the diction and tone dead on for a man of Puri’s age and status.

Who would like this book? I read a lot of book related blogs and one thing that surprises me is that I have not seen more reviews for Love Commandos. It is a great story that would appeal to a wide range of people. It’s got humor, food and love. Certainly, for anyone remotely interested in India, Hall gives descriptions of Delhi and life there that are true to life. The sense of place communicated in these mysteries is akin to what Martin Walker does with his Bruno series (review) and Donna Leon does with her Inspector Brunetti series. And as an aside, check out Vish Puri’s website. It will give you a sense of what the series is all about.

I would like to thank RandomHouse Canada for giving me a copy of this book, but that in no way affected my review.