Saturday, December 16, 2006

Book Reviews...

Read two books this week. The first one is called "The Sari Shop" by Rupa Bajwa.Set in Amritsar, India, The Sari Shop is the story of Ramchand, a poor shop assistant at the Sevak Sari house. The novel begins with Ramchand stuck in an empty stupor and follows him on special assignment to bring saris to the wealthy Kapoor family. With a renewed sense of possibility, Ramchand embarks on a course towards self-improvement, beginning by learning English. As his perspective broadens, his newfound clarity gives way to painful revelations about how cruelly society functions.
Though the story includes theft, rape, and murder, Bajwa renders these traumas with simplicity.
The Sari Shop is most successful, most tender, when it centers on Ramchand's inner anxieties. Unfortunately, Ramchand is the only character that pauses to see “two sides to every coin.” Other characters in the novel are familiar types; both the poor and the rich function as mouthpieces for particular positions in a moralistic class argument. The wealthy women, for instance, are one-dimensionally materialistic and self-interested.
But, perhaps this panoramic satire of social types highlights the very point Bajwa is after, that characters who live without seeing themselves implicated in the plight of others are living one-dimensionally, are more like types than human beings. The most hope comes from wealthy Rina Kapoor, who allows Ramchand to attend her wedding. Ultimately, she too uses Ramchand only to advance her own agenda, to write a novel about a sari shop assistant.
The Sari Shop calls attention not to colorful aspects of Indian culture that might draw Western audiences but to India on its own terms—problems, pain, and all.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it took you into the lives of other people and how they live and what they go through. Sometimes we fail to realize that behind every person's face is a family and a story. It also touched on a very important social issue like domestic violence and also the struggles of one family when there is no income .

Each morning, Bhima, a domestic servant in contemporary Bombay, leaves her own small shanty in the slums to tend to another woman's house. In Sera Dubash's home, Bhima scrubs the floors of a house in which she remains an outsider. She cleans furniture she is not permitted to sit on. She washes glasses from which she is not allowed to drink. Yet despite being separated from each other by blood and class, she and Sera find themselves bound by gender and shared life experiences.
Sera is an upper-middle-class Parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hide the shame and disappointment of her abusive marriage. A widow, she devotes herself to her family, spending much of her time caring for her pregnant daughter, Dinaz, a kindhearted, educated professional, and her charming and successful son-in-law, Viraf.
Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, has worked in the Dubash household for more than twenty years. Cursed by fate, she sacrifices all for her beautiful, headstrong granddaughter, Maya, a university student whose education -- paid for by Sera -- will enable them to escape the slums. But when an unwed Maya becomes pregnant by a man whose identity she refuses to reveal, Bhima's dreams of a better life for her granddaughter, as well as for herself, may be shattered forever.
Poignant and compelling, evocative and unforgettable, The Space Between Us is an intimate portrait of a distant yet familiar world. Set in modern-day India and witnessed through two compelling and achingly real women, the novel shows how the lives of the rich and the poor are intrinsically connected yet vastly removed from each other, and vividly captures how the bonds of womanhood are pitted against the divisions of class and culture.

I enjoyed reading this book because it captured the lives of two households one of upper class and one of a servant. The dreams and aspirations the servant had for her grand daughter and it also showed how an education can lift one from poverty to middle class. It also touched on AIDS and also how the servant lost her job because she was strong enough to speak up .


Asha 1:47 PM  

The first one I have and read it.Liked it too.Thae second book, I have yet to read. Sounds interesting.I always try and buy books written by Indian authors.

I just bought a book by Indu Sundaresan called "The spendor of Silence" will start reading on vacation.

Thank for these Lalitha:)

Aditi 1:51 PM  

They both sound like really good books, I have been recommended the Sari Shop before, I guess i will try and get my hands on it one of these days.

Sugarlips 4:52 PM  

I'm a book worm myself & will try to get my hands on "The Sari Shop" sounds good to me...even the book cover is so pretty :)

Have u read "Madra n Rainy days" ? Its a nice book too.

Stay Beautiful...!!

Neihal 8:31 PM  

am definitely reading those two....just need to find them though...I like your review-style :)

Krithika 9:28 PM  

nice reviews..liked the second one a lot

KK 1:38 AM  

Nice reviews Starry!

Sorry I have not been that regular these days to your blog. Actually my blogroll didn't show ur blog as updated :) Here after will pop in whenever I can :) Take care.

Shionge 8:06 AM  

Hey Thank you Ms. Starry, I'll see if I could find them in the bookstore.

Shionge 8:06 AM  

Hey Thank you Ms. Starry, I'll see if I could find them in the bookstore.

Shionge 8:06 AM  

Hey Thank you Ms. Starry, I'll see if I could find them in the bookstore.

Keshi 5:32 PM  

Sounds very interesting...especially the first book.


samuru999 7:36 PM  

Hi Starry
Both of these books sound very good!
I am sure I would enjoy reading them also!

You did great reviews Starry!
Thank you!
How are you feeling?
Hope you are getting stronger each day!
Take care!


starry nights 8:55 PM  

Asha..I have not read the book"splendor of Silence" I will have to.Just reading another book"The song of the cuckoo bird" will write a review soon.I like books written by Indian Authors too.somehow it transports me back to India.

starry nights 8:55 PM should.I really enjoyed both books.

starry nights 8:56 PM  

Sugar lips..have not read""Madra n Rainy days" another book to add to my list.thanks.

starry nights 8:56 PM  

Neihal..thanks.both books were really good.

starry nights 8:57 PM  

Krithika..both books are good.just different stories.I am sure you will enjoy both.

starry nights 8:57 PM  

Thanks KK..I am sure you will enjoy these books.

starry nights 8:58 PM  

Shionge..I got them from am sure you will like them.

starry nights 8:59 PM  

Keshi..The first one was really good.the second one was just different from the first.

starry nights 9:00 PM  

Margie..I think you will enjoy reading the books.I am getting stronger.cant go anywhere yet so have the time to read all these books.I dont watch a lot of TV.only afew good shows that I like.

ari4u 12:19 AM  

thanks for the preview. I will try to get these books.

jac 1:53 AM  

I will have to find time.

Wishes of the season and prayers.

brute 7:40 AM  

nice reviews lalitha..:)

starry nights 10:46 AM  

Ari4u.thanks.Happy holidays.

starry nights 10:47 AM  

Jac..I know the feeling of not having enough time.I can read so much now because I have nothing much to do.Happpy holidays to you.take care.

starry nights 10:47 AM  

Brute..thank you

Sugarlips 12:22 PM  

Starry sorry for the typo :(
The book name is "Madras on Rainy Days" By Samina Ali.

Stay Beautiful...!!

polona 2:14 PM  

interesting reviews.
currently i'm too busy to read much but i hope to get back to reading when things settle a bit.
thank you.

Suji 4:07 PM  

Good reviews Starry. Makes me want to read them....haven't read any of them. Life has been hectic of late. Haven't read a book in more than 3 months. :( Had started reading 'The Glass Palace' by Amitav Ghosh but cud not finish it.

Keshi 4:20 PM  

I hope ur getting better these days Starry?


Keshi 4:20 PM  

I hope ur getting better these days Starry?


Don Iannone 4:49 PM  

Starry...great reviews. Sound like wonderful ones. Thanks.

Anonymous,  6:43 PM  

thanks for the comment starry,
and since i dont read reviews :), i did not comment on this post earlier.

Hope u enjoyed reading them and that you are having a good time now.

Anonymous,  6:56 PM  

I feel like a stupid when i see others reading books, somehow i can hardly read more than 10 pages and then my patience gives up, no matter how interesting the books maybe somehow i cant do it....

Anali 7:31 PM  

These are great reviews Starry! "The Space Between Us" sounds like a really interesting book.

deepsat 7:50 PM  

they sound to be interesting books. will read them when i can get them


justme 9:07 PM  

I have not been able to read any of your posts recently as every time I log into your page, the page does not load.! :-(

Even now, I could only read the tite of this post and not the content!

Ghost Particle 12:52 AM  

book reviews! nice. Must get them...but often I dont get Indian writers books here.

Tc and have a nice day lalitha!

Contented 1:04 AM  

Sound Nice books. Pity that I don't get all kinds here. Need to order from over seas. Shall try finding these two.

Btw, have u read "Code Name God"??

AlterinG Abhishek 4:59 AM  

HI there!!
the second one looks to have touched a very inetersting line..

Eileen Meyer 6:37 AM  

Thank you for the book reviews... and thank you for visiting my site. I wish you a smooth and speedy recovery. I see here how much you are loved :-)

starry nights 10:29 AM  

Sugarlips..I have to get that book and read it.thanks.

starry nights 10:29 AM  

Polona..thank you

starry nights 10:31 AM  

Suji..thank you. have not read the book"The Glass Palace" by Amitav Ghosh will have to put it on my list. I love Indian authors.

starry nights 10:32 AM  

Thanks Keshi..I am, its a slow recovery but am getting stronger everyday. hope to be dancing atleast by the summer of next year or sooner.

starry nights 10:32 AM  

Don..thank you

starry nights 10:33 AM  

Sojourner..thanks. i am feeling better.How are you doing?

starry nights 10:35 AM  

Southpaw..nothing stupid about that. Different interests for different people. I think when you have a lot of time on your hands and nothing else to do you reach out for a book, because it helps you through.especially if it is interesting you cannot put it down.Take care my friend.

starry nights 10:35 AM  

Anali..I really liked that should read it. I got them from

starry nights 10:36 AM should.I think you will enjoy them.

starry nights 10:37 AM  

Justme..thats sad that you cannot read my posts. I dont know why :(

starry nights 10:38 AM  

Ghost particle. I get them from I love books and Indian authors somehow transport me back to India and I feel I am there.

starry nights 10:39 AM  

Contented..Have not read the book "Code name God" will have to put it on my list.Thanks. These books I usually get them online from

starry nights 10:43 AM  

Abhishek..How have you been. Have not seen you around. I think The space between us was a very good book.aND IT DID touch on Aids , thats how the grandma ended up taking care of her grand daughter because both the parents died of Aids.

starry nights 10:44 AM  

Eileen..welcome to my blog and please do come by again. Thank you.

saby 1:16 PM  

i intend to rite a book too (soon)
it will be titled

Me and Starry Nights

starry nights 1:43 PM  

Saby..I hope it will be Me and Starry nights under the moonlight.

Id it is 2:46 PM  

Great reviews. I would certainly like to read them though i wonder if I'd find them in a bookstore in NY. aybe I'd be better off ordering them on Amazon. Which of the two would you recommend I read first?

mystic rose 3:35 PM  

sounds like a good book. will look out for it next time. thanks for the review.

i ve been visiting your blog for a while, and was reading updates about ur health. gald ot knwo you are feeling better. reading books was always one of my favorite pastimes.

passerby55 4:25 PM  

thankyou for those reviews. you have encouraged me to get a copy and read them. Will start it by 2007...not far away . right?

lalitha i am already getting my "list of do's" for 2007.


Both these sound very interesting, simple but exhaustive in a simple way!

Dawn....सेहर 8:46 PM  

WOW good review...will try to read sometimes...
thanks! I am always in search of good books and a review like this always helps a reader ;)
Cheers dear

starry nights 9:44 PM  

Id it is where I bought these books.I think the sari shop is the one to read first.But I really enjoyed both books.

starry nights 9:46 PM  

Mystic Rose..thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.I do hope you stop by again. I am feeling so much better and on the road to a full recovery.Thank you for asking.I really dont know how I would have passed my time without books.

starry nights 9:47 PM  

Passerby. 2007 is not too far away. getting your to do list already for 2007.I still have so much left from 2006 that I have to do.

starry nights 9:48 PM  

Scribblez..appears exhausting because of the many characters.But once you start reading its really interesting. Scribblez nice to see you back.How are you. missed you:(

starry nights 9:49 PM  

Dawn..thanks. I was also recommended a few books from fellow bloggers that I need to add to my list.

Anonymous,  12:11 AM  

Nice reviews lalitha,

I too like reading indian writers, when i read indian books i feel there is so much we are unaware of.

how are you now? take care :))

Jeevan 12:15 AM  

Hope u spent good time on these books to forget your pain and entertain you. its sounds like family subject!

Anonymous,  5:17 AM  

Excellent. I am preparing for a BIG (enough) vacation :)

Anonymous,  5:17 AM  

Excellent. I am preparing for a BIG (enough) vacation :)


Anonymous,  5:22 AM  

Excellent. I am preparing for a BIG (enough) vacation :)

Anonymous,  5:24 AM  

Excellent. I am preparing for a BIG (enough) vacation :)

christabelle 8:01 AM  

merry christmas, Starry.
God's blessings dearie.

Eclipsed Thoughts 8:15 AM  

Sounds interesting.... hmm... maybe get my hand on these books soon...

hillgrandmom 8:46 AM  

The books sound interesting.
Season's greetings Starry.

starry nights 11:34 AM  

Saroj..thank you. You are right there is so much to learn and know when you read books written by indian authors.I am getting better every day.thank you for asking. Happy holidays to you and your family.

starry nights 11:36 AM  

Jeevan..Yes reading is a good distraction. and it is fun, books take you to faraway lands into the lives of people you would not normally go into.I love reading.

starry nights 11:37 AM  

Christabelle.How are you my dear.I hope you are doing well.I stopped at your blog a couple of times to see if you are back. Seasons greetings to you and your family.

starry nights 11:38 AM  

Eclipsed thoughts..yes you should read these books when you have time. seasons greetings to you.take care.

starry nights 11:38 AM  

Hill Grandmom..seasons greetings to you and your family.thank you.

White Forest 3:37 PM  

mhh..will try reading one of them atleast :)

Poetry by Kai 7:15 PM  

been reading alot

starry nights 10:41 AM  

White forest..thanks.

starry nights 10:42 AM  

Kai..have been reading a lot,because there is only so much I can do atleast for now.Happy Holidays Kai.

Ashley 12:49 PM  

Happy Holidays!

MellowDrama 11:04 AM  

Hey the latter sounds very interesting. Btw how do you hear abt these books, I rarely come across reviews but then I quit subscribing to Outlook. Hindu has a lit supplement but usually reviews books that are more well - for the erudite:)

AlterinG Abhishek 10:21 PM  

You sur have an AMAAZINGworld here no..

well I have been great,..
have not found time to blog, let alonne read books..
But ya..
i have been adding on my effervesant/Pic blog..
have an amazing christmas!!

Parag 1:57 AM  

This is my first time at your blog.. Nice reviews .. Will certainly try to pick these up
I am reading "the world is flat" at the moment

starry nights 10:35 PM  

Ashley..Happy holidays to you too.thanks.

starry nights 10:38 PM  

Mellowdrama..A friend of mine reccomended these books. I usually dont get the books unless I have read a review. I am reading another book"The song of the cuckoo bird"It was really good. And have another one called."The memory keepers daughter"will write a review when I am done.Thanks and have a happy new year.

starry nights 10:40 PM  

Parag..welcome to my blog and do hope you come again.I have not read the book"the world is flat" will try and read it.Is it a good book?

starry nights 10:41 PM  

Abhishek..Thanks.well right now i have a lot of time recuperating so have time to blog and read books. Have to check out your pic blog.Have a happy new year.

Sunita 9:04 PM  

I have come here bloghopping. You have a very interesting blog here. Cant quite imagine the nerves the lady has to make such a move in the 70s.

Hope you dont mind me blogrolling you.

Sunita 9:09 PM  

I think I wrongly posted the comment previously. Pls delete it. I was going thru your blog as well and the confusion. I havent got to the bottom of your blog but the stargazer thing caught my eye.

Seasons Greetings!! and wish you a speedy recovery

tpraja 9:21 AM  

Have you seen the new India search engine they added all the cool features of popular products like MySpace, YouTube, Ebay, Craigslist, etc. all for free to use and specifically for India. Anyone else try this yet? First to Blend Search, Social Network, Video Sharing and Auctions Into One Seamless Product for Indian Internet Users.

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