Quotable quote from the book: "Love must surely reside in the gap between desire and fulfillment, in the lack, not the contentment. Love is the ache, the anticipation the retreat, everything around it but the emotion itself."
What I did not like:
The use of defecation and things related to it for almost 4 to 5 times in the novel. I don't know what kind of pleasure the author was getting out of it. Is there a disease of this sort?
The language. Considering that it is an award winning novel, I expected to experience some stylistic joy of memorable prose. Her mom seems to be better on this front.
What I liked: The story, which she carries with authorial omniscience. The parts about the insurgency somewhat sounds like home though it is based in some other place.
Well, the story is about a retired lawyer basking in his past glory, his westernised grand- daughter Sai and her love interest with a poverty-striken local, their complications in negotiating their love for each other and opposing political principles and the judge's cook. If they are hapless, unwilling witnesses to the identity struggle in the hills between the immigrants and the settlers on one side, the cook's son Biju on the other side, goes to the US chasing the great American dream and eks out a miserable existence as an undocumented worker, stumbling from one low-paid restaurant to another. Desai captures his particular brand of bewilderment and loneliness with a rare empathy.
The full sense of the story comes only in the end but Desai does not give any easy answers to the problems. The story is quite poignant in some ways and her observations are quite cynical.
It is very much a readable book but I liked Rohinton Mistry(A fine balance) much better than her.