Category: Literary Historical Fiction
Author: Anuradha Roy
Family sagas are my go-to comfort reads. I read this way back in March but I didn’t post about it. It was one of those books I went in without knowing much and was pleasantly surprised.
At its heart, its a family saga spanning three generations shifting between Songarh, a town in north-eastern India and Calcutta. It’s set from the early 1900’s to right about the time India got her independence. What stood out for me with this book is the way the different characters in this story are portrayed. Very real, believable and flawed. The trials and tribulations, the feeling of guilt, the longing for something not within reach, forbidden love, the inadequacies of life, and yet the fulfilling nature of it, desires and much more. She really captures the family dynamics, subtle implications of the caste system at the time, the inherent religious differences, incredibly well. Roy’s prose is simplistic & accessible. It doesn’t make you pause and think how well a sentence has been crafted and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s really refreshing when you are just looking for a quick read.
While most of the novel is consistently a feeling of melancholy, it never gets depressing and Roy does manage to end it with an optimistic note. For a debut, I think it’s well done!
Would recommend if you want to read a family saga set in India with quirky characters, accessible writing and a well thought out plot.