Saturday, February 18, 2012
Home by Manju Kapur is a tale of three generations, of a traditional cloth merchant family in Delhi. After braving the partition the family had to leave Lahore and start their lives anew in Delhi. The novel chronicles their lives through three generations and how with the changing times the traditions and values of the family were put to test and changed to accommodate in the modern world.
Here is the blurb from the book:
"When their traditional Delhi business-selling saris- is threatened by the new fashion for jeans and stitched salwar kameez, the Banwari Lal family knows it must adapt to the changing world outside. But can it change, when tensions at home are so strong? so, begins a series of struggles- to have children, to find education or love, even to manufacture pickles- that will see the family tested to its limits."
I found the novel frustrating. The narration is slow and their is an aura of gloom, doom and resignation throughout the novel. In fact the whole story line seemed to be of one of the drab Hindi soap opera. The characters are well sketched, but none of them will make a place in your mind. The over-all feeling, while reading it was overwhelmingly negative and it took me quite a long time to read it. I just kept on reading this book with the hope that something will happen in the end. But, even the end took me for surprise by being so dull, it just ended for the sake of it!
I have seen some reviews of it saying it is 'insightful' and anyone interested in knowing Indian culture and traditions should read it. I DO NOT think so. The impression this book gives about Indian society is one side of the story, almost like half truth which is dangerous. India is huge and traditions, food, language etc changes when you travel from one state to another. The problems and issues narrated in the novel may be relatable to many but that is not similar to understanding the essence of Indian culture.
It was a dull, boring and unenthusiastic read. Not recommended.
Linking it to A2ZChallenge for Letter H and South Asian Challenge.