“Exquisitely written, cleverly structured, powerfully resonant to the very last line. . . . A profoundly intelligent and empathetic novel of privilege and poverty, advancement and entrapment.”


This is a novel told in five interconnected stories. A quick point here, the 2nd and 4th stories are obviously connected while 1,3 and 5 are very briefly connected. The stories take place in India and the prevailing theme through the book is Freedom in its many different forms.

This is a very dark and sad book at times, and the feeling of watch out what you wish for, you may get it runs steadily throughout the book. The stories also reflect the prejudices still held in India regarding ones station in life, like the former caste system. The people are divided by the country’s many different customs and food, each holding very different ways actions are viewed and how food is prepared. Food is an important part of the stories here as young girls are sent by their family to live and work for other families far from home. They must learn the new customs and make enough money so they can send money home to their families.

Their are a few principal characters here, a son who returns home once a year to visit his family while he is compiling recipes for a cook book he is writing and the two woman under the employ of his family. Their story will be the major part of the book. There is a man who one day comes upon a baby bear and this will change his life completely, and then there is the man returning home for a visit with his American born son. What they witness and what happens to them will resonate in the other shorter stories in the book.

At 275 pages it is a short read but this is a book that you need to really pay attention to because it is not until the book is completed does it all come together, and its take on how the lives of so many people living under these circumstances and search for their own freedoms come completely into focus.



Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 22nd February 2018

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Richard Franco