Well, if The Year of Runaways isn’t a heart-breaking work of staggering genius, then I don’t know what is. To me, it was like a modern, immigrant follow-up to A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, which has long been one of my favorite books. Continue reading
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Seriously, are we back to that old adage? But so, so true. I picked up The Japanese Lover for two reasons: I haven’t read anything by Isabel Allende in years and based on the cover I assumed it was a war time novel set in Japan. I was close. The Japanese Lover is a novel partially set during WWII in San Francisco. Continue reading
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman is one of the books I’ve received as part of my monthly subscription to the Willoughby Book Club. They always send me the best books! But the reason I picked up Pigeon English now is because Kelman will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Books Festival this year. His new book, Man on Fire, looks amazing but isn’t out until August so I don’t know if I’ll get it read before seeing him. Continue reading
I don’t know how it is possible that i’ve made it this far into life without having read Anita Diamant, but I have. It may be precisely because The Red Tent was so popular, that I never read it. So when I saw that she has a new book out, The Boston Girl, I thought, now is my time to read Diament without any preconceived conceptions. Continue reading
I don’t know who introduced me to Thrity Umrigar – it was years ago- but I must thank them. They gave me a copy of her second book, The Space Between Us, and it was magnificent. Since then, I’ve always tried to keep my eyes open for new books by her, so I leaped at the chance to read The Story Hour. Continue reading
I wasn’t sure what to make of Kate Pullinger‘s latest novel, Landing Gear. I really enjoyed her Governor General’s Award winning The Mistress of Nothing (2009), but in many ways it could not be more different than Landing Gear. The Mistress of Nothing was a historical novel set in colonial Egypt, Landing Gear is a novel that grew out of a multimedia digital project called Flight Paths: A Networked Novel and is very much set in the here and now.
Ostensibly the story is about Yacub, a Pakistani man who stows away in the landing gear of a plane bound for London. As the landing gear descends on it’s approach to Heathrow, he falls and lands on Harriet’s car. Miraculously, he is alive and unscathed and she takes Yacub home and adopts him into her family. And to a large extent family is really what the novel is about. What constitutes a family in modern society? How do you remain true to that family and how does it impact your identity as an individual? Continue reading
Wow. This is one hard book to review. Let me start off by saying Padma Viswanathan has written one of the bravest books I’ve seen in a long time with The Ever After of Ashwin Rao. Brave because it takes on one of the darker incidents in Canada’s recent past, the 1985 Air India bombing. Brave because it takes on the very perpetrators of this incident and condemns them as guilty in spite of the court findings. Brave because it (rightly) accuses Canada of seeing this as another nation’s problem. Brave because it tackles the inter-religious fighting in India and it’s connections to immigrants in Canada and around the world. Continue reading
What better book to read whilst in London than Capital by John Lanchester? I know, I know, I could have chosen other iconic novels like White Teeth by Zadie Smith or Brick Lane by Monica Ali, but I went with Capital for two main reasons: the financial meltdown of 2008 and it was on my TBR list. It should also be noted that I was meant to read White Teeth while I was in London as well, but I ran out of time. Continue reading
If you’ve been reading nothing but chunksters like The Goldfinch lately, and you want to go with something a little slimmer, may I suggest The Isolation Door by Anish Majumdar. Though less than 200 pages long, it wallops you and draws you in just like a chunkster, but without the time commitment. In fact, looking back, I’m shocked that it was less than 200 pages long.
At the core of The Isolation Door are issues of mental health. Neal’s mother, who believes she is a Bollywood actress, has been repeatedly institutionalized for schitozphrenia, Neal’s friends in the university drama program are also fighting with demons of their own. Neal himself can’t seem to open up to anyone around him. Most frightening were the scenes taking place at the mental hospital, where i found the treatment of the patients to be draconian.