Thursday, May 14, 2009
Dunthorne makes a few references to Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole, which I found very fitting because Oliver is reminiscent of a slightly more switched-on Adrian. Perhaps because I'm not and never have been a teenage boy, I didn' t quite get this book, but what comes through clearly is the intense desire, inner conflict and self-doubt that mark the teenage years.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Like a cleaned up Bollywood version of The Devil Wears Prada, The Village Bride of Beverly Hills is about a young woman thrust virtually unwillingly into a glamorous high-flying career in the magazine world. The hook in this novel, however, is that the heroine is a young Indian bride in LA - a genuinely nice person who, through a series of somewhat unbelievable events, is led to the career she's always wanted. Leaving her saris behind, Priya becomes a hot new name in the media world and is forced into a double life which she hides from her very traditional new in-laws and rather diffident husband.
Kavita Daswani does a nice job with this light-hearted story, but the lack of realism and extremely light attempt to portray Priya's emotional growth prevent it from being a work of any substance.
Rating: A passable afternoon read.
Monday, May 4, 2009
The narrative viewpoint shifts between the two main characters, giving the reader a perfect view of their imperfect relationship and a hilarious counterpoint to their misunderstandings of each other. Gerald, with his camp, fussy arrogance is a particularly tear-inducingly funny character. An excerpt from one of his chapters describing some part of their first obligatory neighbourly dinner together:
'And your work Gerree, what your work?'
'I'm a writer, Marta.'
'Ah Gerree, you and me artists.'
'But yes. I am songer.'
'No. I am making songs.'
Later, as Marta brings out his specially (and spitefully) made garlic ice cream:
'And now, Gerree, we try your ice cream. Is very special fooding.'
'Cuisine,' I say curtly, ' We say "cuisine", not "fooding". 'Fooding" doesn't exist in English.' For I was reckless now, determined that my natural good manners shouldn't let me in for whatever designs she had on me. Still those very manners oblige me grudgingly to admit that she not only downed her garlic ice cream like a trooper, but promptly called for more. By that stage our taste buds were surely dead and between us we polished it off. Thereafter I remember nothing except an achingly Socratic sensation of coldness which was explained only when I woke myself with a series of awesome farts to find that I was lying on the ground by my front doorstep with dawn breaking all around.'