Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy: Book Review

An Atlas of Impossible Longing
by Anuradha Roy
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0862-5
Published: April 12, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: The story is of three generations of an Indian family, brilliantly told, in which a sensitive and intelligent foundling boy orphan who is casteless and without religion and Bakul, the motherless granddaughter of the house, grow up together. The boy, Mukunda, spends his time as a servant in the house or reading the books of Mrs Barnum, an Anglo-Englishwoman whose life was saved long ago by Bakul's grandmother, by now demented by loneliness. Mrs Barnum gives Mukunda the run of her house, but as he and Bakul grow, they become aware that their intense closeness is becoming something else, and Bakul's father is warned to separate them. He banishes Mukunda to a school in Calcutta, where in the years after Partition he prospers, and whence in time he will return to rediscover all that he has lost.The novel begins in 1907 with the founding of a factory in Songarh, a small provincial town where narrow attitudes prevail. Amulya and Kananbala have two sons and as their family grows, and the house and their garden too, a microcosm of a society develops. It is scholarly, eccentric, hide-bound, fraught with drama, destined to self-destruct. The many strands of this intensely-fashioned narrative converge when Mukunda, by now a successful businessman, returns to Songarh years after he has been exiled from the only home he knew, to resolve the family's destiny.

The Good Stuff
  • Beautifully almost lyrically written. 
  • The landscape feels so real you could reach out and touch it.
  • You can feel the authors love for the countryside
  • This is not my sort of book, so please if you think you will like it, go get it, the author has talent.  Check out the more positive reviews from other people listed below
  • Some light humour - enjoyed the swearing bird
The Not so Good Stuff
  • This one was a painful read for me as I just couldn't get into it, but too stubborn to not finish it
  • Very slow
  • The men are self involved selfish misogynistic bastards and quite frankly just didn't give a rats ass about any of them. Mukunda had potential but he ended up hurting people due to his own selfish desires too
  • I don't understand the choices made by many of the characters and it is in a world I do not understand
  • quite depressing and bitter at times
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Submerged just beneath the surface of their talk was the sense that his departure was a scorning of their lives, the redrawing of a pattern that had already been perfected."

"Bitterly she muttered "God's ways are strange, that he should give children to those who don't care for them and leave me childless"

"But Nirmal could not disguise it from himself.  He had brought in the child when it was convenient for him, and now that Bakul was growing up it was no longer convenient."

What I Learned
  • That I really am not a huge fan of flowery prose
  • Seems I am a bit of a feminist after all
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Not for those like me who need a more exciting storyline -- if you like character pieces this may be for you
  • Probably better suited for those who are far more well read than I
2.5 Dewey's (This is based on MY enjoyment NOT on the talents of the author)

More  Positive Reviews can be found here:

I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review -- sorry guys wish I liked it more

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